Walking Hiking

Donegal Bluestack Way – 9 Days

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Donegal Bluestack Way – 9 Day Self-Guided Walking Holiday

Our 9-day (with rest days in the village of Glenties and Glencolmcille) Donegal Bluestack Way independent walking tour is a 96 km route through the remotest areas of County Donegal in the North-West of Ireland. Along the route, you will experience the wild and raw nature of the countryside as you hike across the Bluestack Mountains which are a group of rolling, gentle hills. Starting in the town of Donegal, you will experience scenic Lough Eske, ancient Glencolmcille, stunning coastal cliffs with all its myriad of bird and plant life, following a riverside route to eventually reach the village of Kilcar.

Tour Pricing & Dates

9 Day Tour €702 per person sharing
Single Supplement +€400
Tour Dates 1st April to 15th October
Tour Grade Easy to Moderate
Accommodation Guesthouse 
BOOKING BOOK THIS TOUR

Video

Map

Itinerary

Day 1 / Donegal Town

Take public transport from Dublin to Donegal Town where you will spend the next two nights. Public transport takes approximately 3 hours 30 minutes from Dublin. 

Day 2 / Owenboy to Donegal Town

Your tour of the Donegal and Bluestack Way starts with a taxi transfer to the townland of Owenboy. The trail takes you back across the foothills of Banagher to cross the River Eglish and along by the beautiful shores of Lough Eske, arriving back into Donegal Town.

Distance: 19.2 Km / 11.9 miles, Ascent: 477 m / 1565 ft, Approximate walking time: 5 / 6 hours

Day 3 / Owenboy to the village of Glenties

The scenic trail takes you along an old bog road, through farmland and across the foothills of the Bluestacks Mountains to finish your day in the village of Glenties.

Distance: 21.6 Km / 13.4 miles, Ascent: 624 m / 2047 ft, Approximate walking time: 6 / 7 hours

Day 4 / Rest Day in the Glenties

The village of Glenties is situated at the North-West edge of the Blue Stack Mountains. The town has regularly been described as an oasis by many of the people who come to visit.

Day 5 / Glenties to Ardara

From the village of Glenties, you follow along quiet back roads to arrive at the banks of the Owentocker River. Following the bank of the river, this meandering walk brings you into the village of Ardara. Ardara is a designated Heritage Town and also a well-known centre for the manufacture of Donegal Homespun Tweeds. 

Distance: 12.3 Km / 7.6 miles, Ascent: 132 m / 40 ft, Approximate walking time: 3 / 4 hours

Day 6 / Ardara to Glencolmcille

Today’s walk takes you further west along by the base of Slievetooey Mountain to follow the Glen River to the townland of Port. Port is one of the remotest and least visited corners of Ireland. From here the trail takes you south to the side of Faugher Mountain where you will have some wonderful mountain and sea cliff views. Your day finishes in the village of Glencolmcille, a Gaeltacht area (Irish speaking).

Distance: 26 km / 16 miles, Ascent: 1100 m / 3608 ft, Approximate walking time: 8 / 9 hours

(You have the option to shorten this walk to 20 Km if you wish)

Day 7 / Rest Day

On your rest day, there are plenty of places on interest in the area of Glencolmcille.

There are 80 archaeological sites to explore in Glencolmcille dating back as far as 5,000 BC. Also, the wild and remote stretches of coastline in this area, with its cliffs and headlands offer unrivalled opportunities for dolphin and bird watching.

Day 8 / Glencolmcille to Kilcar

From Glencolmcille, the trail brings you between the hills of Contycro and Screggacula, passing Lough Unshagh and Lough Unna and into the small village of Carrick.

Carrick is situated in the Gaeltacht area of South West Donegal, an area renowned for river fishing, sea angling and is rich in folklore and archaeology. It has a long tradition of hand-woven tweed and knitwear and many festivals are held here throughout the year.

From Carrick, the trail takes you south-east to the village of Kilcar, a quiet village that is also part of the Gaeltacht. While you are in Kilcar, you will have a chance to visit one of Donegal’s finest hand-weaving and clothing manufacturing company, a unique skill that has been handed down in the area from generation to generation.

Distance: 17.5 km / 10.8 miles, Ascent: 680 m / 2230 ft, Approximate walking time: 5 / 6 hours

Day 9 / Depart

After a hearty Irish breakfast, you will depart for home by public transport.

Included

  • 8 nights Bed & Breakfast accommodation
  • All accommodation is pre-booked in approved family-run guesthouses with all rooms en-suite
  • Breakfast is supplied each day
  • Maps and waterproof route notes. Trails have been walked and checked by Christopher from Footfalls
  • Luggage Transfers daily while you walk with a small day pack
  • All information on trains or buses needed to get to your first accommodation in Donegal Town and back at the end of the tour from Kilcar
  • Full back up service, should you require it, while on our tour.

Not Included

  • Transfers from point of arrival to start of tour in Donegal Town and from end of tour in Kilcar
  • Packed lunches
  • Evening meals

Testimonials

  • Thank you both Teresa & Christopher for a fun, adventurous, spectacular week,
    You have a fantastic business, long may it last and I am already looking forward to our next adventure
    Anne D x

    Western Way Connemara
  • Christopher and Teresa…Thank you soooo much for a superb week and your hospitality.
    Jyoti Thapa

    Western Way Connemara
  • Hi Christopher,

    On behalf of Mary & Myself, I want to thank you for our wonderful trip. We loved every minute of it, even the wet bits.

    The B&B’s that you work with are second to none and in every place we stayed we were made to feel welcome and at home at all times. In each place, they even refrigerated our wine and provided us with wine glasses in order to enjoy our pre-dinner drinks. I would like to give a particular shout out to Donnach in The Castle B&B in Ballintoy. He told us that we were his first “Footfall” visitors so our feedback on his B&B is that it is excellent.

    Your notes and attention to detail on your trail instructions are excellent but just to note for yourself, the red trail down the side of the cliffs to the Giants Causeway is locked and not currently in use. Not sure whether the explanation is Covid related or a safety issue.

    Many thanks

    Marion

    Antrim Causeway Coastal & Rathlin Island Route – 6 Day – Self-Guided Walking Tour
  • Hi Christopher,

    Thank you again for a wonderful day yesterday.  We thoroughly enjoyed it and very much appreciated the lovely relaxed pace and all the stories and information and the fun. Thanks to Teresa also for taking us to Avondale and to the grandchildren for their patience. Truly a memorable experience.
    Terence and Eleanor
    A Day Walk on Trooperstown & the Vale of Clara
  • Dear Christopher,
    And thank YOU, our fearless leader!   You did a great job tending your flock!
    I had a most wonderful time, albeit a little more challenging than I had expected.
    But, I am grateful that the wind only knocked me down on some Valencia heather and not over a cliff! ;
    The scenery was stunning and the lodgings (particularly Casey’s and The Grand) and meals were superb!!
    And the icing on the cake was the pleasure of your company and great sense of humor!
    A perfect package all together!!
    I have more compliments to pay, but I will save them for the next time we connect.  Perhaps you, Teresa and I can
    chat via Facetime after the New Year.  I’d also like to talk a little bit more about the Wicklow Mountains Tour.
    Hope you have a wonderful and well earned holiday in New Zealand!!
    Take care and all the best,
    Carmel
    Wild Atlantic Way South West

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