Take An Exhilarating Coastal Cliff Walk On Slieve League Donegal
The Great Outdoors Doesn't Get Much Better Than This 'Paradise' On The Edge Of Europe
The Slieve League cliffs are in the remote, pristine wilderness of Southwest Donegal's Gaeltacht region, a short drive from Killybegs.
These coastal cliffs rise dramatically by over 600 meters above a sometimes churning Atlantic ocean, stretching westwards for about six kilometers.
Slieve League is part of the International Appalachian Trail.
Arriving at the cliff-top viewing point will almost certainly be one of the most thrilling highlights of your Donegal vacation...
Your route begins and ends at the main car park at the foot of the cliff walk. From there it is less than two kilometers to the cliff-top viewing point at Bunglass, and the same going back.
Enter through the large farm gate, making sure you close it behind you. Closing the gate is important to keep the resident sheep from wandering off.
The narrow road winds along the cliff top, climbing steadily, taking in a hairpin bend or two. There are some steep sections to this walk. But the effort is more than worth it.
Along the route you'll catch numerous panoramic views of the vast Atlantic Ocean, shimmering all the way to the far-off horizon. The cliffs provide a dramatic rocky contrast, rewarding you with a new scene at every turn.
Finally you arrive at your cliff-top viewing point.
A sheer rocky cliff-face rises dramatically out of the relentless, churning Atlantic ocean far below, interspersed with softer gradients.
The Slieve League cliffs stretch off into the distance from right in front of you, in all their rugged splendor.
Mossy greens, shades of rust, and stony greys contrast vividly the foaming white and dark blue ocean at its craggy feet.
The serrated cliff-top skims the skyline like a gigantic upturned bread-knife, as sunlight accentuates crags and caves on its textured surface.
Two sea stacks emerge defiantly from the swirling ocean, adding more drama (see main photo). Because of their unusual shapes, they are referred to locally as 'The Giant's Desk and Chair'.
Near where you stand, a lush blanket of heather, interspersed with thistle and fern spreads luxuriously in every direction, interrupted only by the steep path leading uphill. In autumn the heather's pretty blossoms turn this landscape purple.
Welcome to Bunglass!
Keep an eye out for red-billed chough and soaring peregrine falcons. Seagulls circling the sea stacks far below look like tiny dots, until they soar upwards on the exhilarating breeze.
On a clear day, you can see the distant counties Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim, plus the iconic Irish mountains Croagh Patrick and Ben Bulben, across the bay.
You might catch an evening sunset, flooding sky and sea with vivid fiery hues, as it disappears beyond the horizon.
If you feel this walk is too strenuous you can actually drive all the way to the viewing point, where you'll find a small parking area.
Alternatively there are scheduled, locally operated minibus tours available. With this option, you get the added benefit of hearing gems of local knowledge along the route.
Boat trips are available from nearby Teelin pier, also from Killybegs and Bundoran. Sometimes these trips include sightings of dolphins and basking shark.
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