Trip created by Louise Kavanagh
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The rugged and beautiful wilderness of Northern Ireland and County Donegal is a corner of Europe that the rush of the modern world has overlooked.
Our route takes us along the Causeway Coastal Route and the iconic Giant’s Causeway, collectively rated world’s best region to visit in 2018 by Lonely Planet, along the northern edge of Ireland to the dramatic mountains and glens of the Donegal, finishing at Slieve League, some of the highest sea cliffs in Europe.
After exploring the wild Causeway Coast and Giant’s Causeway, we head into National Geographic’s Coolest Place on Earth, County Donegal. With its rolling mountains, soaring cliffs, white sand beaches, infinite bogs and timeless villages, Donegal is as romantically remote today as ever before. We’ll explore coastal headlands rich in wildlife, hike through remote hills awash with myths and legends, and retire to comfortable, characterful lodgings each evening.
Meeting in Belfast, we travel north to the spectacular Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Legend has it that a Scottish giant hurled abuses across at the Irish giant, Finn MacCool. To have a proper fight, Finn built a causeway over to Scotland – what we call the Giant’s Causeway. Today, you’ll hike along majestic clifftops of the Causeway Coastal Route to finish at this fascinating geological phenomena. Watch as the Causeway Coast becomes wilder as we approach the fascinating geological phenomena of the Giant’s Causeway. Designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Giant’s Causeway region has attracted visitors for centuries. (L, D)
Distance 3 miles/5km, approx 2hrs.
Many tales of myth and mystery surround Rathlin Island, with the legend of Robert the Bruce perhaps the most famous. In 1306, the Scottish King was driven from Scotland by Edward I of England and took refuge on Rathlin Island where he watched a spider persevering again and again to bridge a gap with its web. Eventually it succeeded. Taking heart from the spider’s efforts, he returned to Scotland and eventually regained his crown. Sailing to this rugged little island today, our hiking loop takes in the bird sanctuary, home to an adorable resident puffin colony in season, the stunning island coast and sea stacks, and the lovely west lighthouse. (B,L,D
Distance 5 miles/8 km, approx 4hrs.
The ancient territory (The Land of the O’ Doherty’s), of Co. Donegal is the most northerly part of Ireland. Its northern shore is on the restless Atlantic Ocean with Lough Swilly forming its western boundary and Lough Foyle to the east. This is the undiscovered Ireland, a world apart, a timeless place. Our day starts with a ferry across Lough Swilly fjord for beautiful panoramas to the start point of our hike, a World War II-era look out tower. A gradual climb takes us to the shoulder of Crocknasmug Hill for magical coastal views. (B,L,D)
Distance 5 miles/8km, approx 3hrs.
Today, we head into rugged County Donegal to hike Malin Head peninsula, Ireland’s northernmost point. A region nicknamed the “Forgotten County,” Donegal is a wild and windswept landscape peppered with ancient archaeological remains – a landscape perfect for hiking. Used as a filming location for the 2017 Star Wars film, Malin Head is as beautiful as it is desolate. Our day’s hike follows this stoney headland past historic towers and dramatic coastal cliffs. (B,L,D)
Distance 4 miles/7km, approx 3hrs.
Glenveagh National Park is a hauntingly beautiful wilderness of rugged mountains, pristine lakes, tumbling waterfalls and enchanted native oak woodland. Wander along the quiet shores of the lake to the mystical Glenveagh Castle, idyllically set amongst the mountains. Here we get the opportunity to explore the carefully-maintained gardens admist the wild Glenveagh hills before continuing our walk beyond the castle walls, passing abandoned settlements on a winding path through the Derryveagh Mountains. (B,L)
Distance: 5 miles/8km, approx. 4hrs
Our final hike along the Slieve League Cliffs is possibly our most impressive. Among the highest sea cliffs in Europe, hike in the footsteps of pilgrims of yesteryears by following the ancient and little-known Pilgrim’s Path to the clifftops. Impressive from a historic perspective, you’ll also drink in terrific views of the Atlantic Ocean, the mountains of Sligo and the shimmering Donegal Bay. In a quaint Donegal village, rub shoulders with the locals at a traditional pub and meet local craftsmen such as tweed-makers still practising their craft on a traditional handloom. After saying goodbye to the windy Slieve League cliffs, enjoy a celebratory farewell dinner. (B,L,D)
Distance 4 miles/6km, approx 4hrs.
This morning, we leave Donegal’s Wild Atlantic Way coast to transfer to County Sligo. Called “Yeats Country” after Ireland’s national poet W.B. Yeats for whom the region was his muse, Sligo’s landscapes are found in many of Yeats’ poems. To pay homage to this great creative genius, visit Yeats’ grave tucked under the shadow of Sligo’s iconic table mountain, Ben Bulben. Afterwards, we’ll make our way to Sligo town for a wee wander around its adorable streets and riverside before saying goodbye at Sligo Train Station. (B)
*This itinerary is subject to changes and improvements.
This trip features accommodations chosen for their excellent location, service and comfort. All accommodations provide breakfast. Whether you’re looking for the liveliness of a traditional Irish music session or the sound of the crashing waves, all the accommodations we use on the Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal Hiking Trip play an exciting part in your journey through the northern part of the Emerald Isle!
We do not charge single person supplements to people booking on their own. However, you will be expected to share a room with another person of the same sex. If you specifically require a single room you will have to pay the single supplement charge of €250 but this is subject to availability.
Breakfast is provided each morning, as well as lunch and snacks throughout the trip. Dinner is provided every night except on Day 5 when you have a free evening and can dine where you choose.
All meals are included in the price of this trip with the exception of dinner on day 5. Local pubs and restaurants offer a wide choice of local dishes.
On this trip, we generally eat dinner as a group however if you would like to make alternative arrangements you are free to do so. Your guide will have an evening off during this trip where they do not eat with the group. They will recommend options for dinner that evening and will help you make any necessary reservations.
You will be met by your Wilderness Ireland Guide at the Layon Place Train Station in downtown Belfast at 12 pm on Day 1 of your trip. You will be dropped off at Sligo Train Station by 12.00pm on the last day of your trip, where there are regular train and bus connections with Dublin. For full details on how to get to Great Victoria Street Train Station, please see our travel section here.
|Trip Dates for 2020||Availability||Status||Price||Book|
|14th Mar - 20th Mar 2020||8 place(s) left||UNCONFIRMED||€1,710||Book Now|
|9th May - 15th May 2020||1 place(s) left||CONFIRMED||€1,795||Book Now|
|18th Jul - 24th Jul 2020||6 place(s) left||CONFIRMED||€1,795||Book Now|
|8th Aug - 14th Aug 2020||8 place(s) left||UNCONFIRMED||€1,795||Book Now|
|29th Aug - 4th Sep 2020||8 place(s) left||UNCONFIRMED||€1,795||Book Now|
|12th Sep - 18th Sep 2020||8 place(s) left||UNCONFIRMED||€1,795||Book Now|
Sometimes it's nice to get family and friends together and travel privately for some quality time. This means you benefit from all the features of the group departure, including hand-picked accommodation and expert local guides and we'll take care of it all. Then you can make your choice of departures dates and we'll get back to you to finalise the details.
From scuba diving to motorbikes to hiking, Louise is no stranger to adventure! Born and raised in County Sligo, Louise has a love for Ireland’s West Coast – particularly the northwest. Joining the Wilderness Ireland team in 2017 as an Adventure Consultant, Louise is one of the team’s expert trip designers -ready to help you explore Ireland’s wild places! When not at work, Louise can usually be found underwater exploring Ireland’s unique coastlines or else zipping through the countryside on her motorbike!
- Louise KavanaghAsk Louise a Question
Green Grades 1-3
Our hiking trips range from very straightforward low-level hikes to trips that include more challenging itineraries which will take you to a new mountain top each day.
Our green graded trips include shorter hikes, with few ascents, and are generally over smoother (but usually not paved) terrain. We include more cultural stops along the way and walk at a leisurely pace.
Often our green graded trips include hikes in flatter coastal areas or in valleys, and will last around 2-4 hours each day. To help you decide if you are fit enough for this trip, ask yourself:
Can you comfortably hike for 6 miles (10km), including some ascents, over generally good terrain?
Rated 4.94 out of 5 based on 34 review(s) of Hiking the Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal
Every client receives a feedback survey when they return from their guided, self guided or tailor made vacation with us. Once completed the review is published on our website just as soon as our database updates. The little touches and details are important to us and where issues are raised we make positive changes to our trips to improve your experience.
That’s why we read each of our client’s reviews and although we don’t respond to all of them, if it’s glowing feedback then we get the satisfaction of helping to make your vacations truly memorable.
Reviewed on 15/10/2019
Age: 60 - 70
Trip Date: 31/08/2019
Trips Taken: 2
Accommodation & Food
The Bottom Line
Erin was most helpful with information on where to stay and things to do prior to the beginning of my walk with Wilderness Ireland and then also with advice on the quickest and easiest way to get to Scotland in 12 hours so that I was at the starting point of my next walk with Wilderness Scotland. I can't thank her enough!
It seems such a long time ago now that I'm back in Australia! My Wilderness Ireland experience was thoroughly enjoyable. Glorious scenery! My dietary requirements (I'm coeliac) were accommodated perfectly. Our guide Calliam did his best despite us having some rather inclement weather during our week of walking. I enjoyed his get on with it attitude as I'm a bit adventurous but this may not appeal to others. In fact I found it totally different when I joined my second walk with Wilderness Scotland as our guide on that walk was much more cautious and careful about the paths he took us on. I would recommend this particular walk and hope to join Wilderness Ireland again to see some more beautiful Irish scenery.
My walk took place at the end of August beginning of September and I'm racking my brain to think of anything that stood out! The Bayview Hotel rooms were spacious, clean and very comfortable it would have been lovely to have a view of the ocean rather than the car park but at least everyone in our tour group had a view of the car park. Breakfast and Dinner were very nice and we had a view of the ocean from the Dining Room. Staff were friendly too. Glen House was lovely and our group were the only guests staying the 2 nights we were there. The owner could not do enough for us. Breakfast and lunches were really good and the places that Calliam took us too in the evenings for our dinner were lovely! The Nesbitt Arms Hotel was pleasant but there was a large busload of guests sharing the hotel with us for one of the nights which made it feel a bit too touristy for my liking. Our final dinner together was at Nancys which was a cute little restaurant around the corner from the Nesbitt Arms and was a bit more authentic than the Nesbitt Arms Hotel. We talked Calliam into letting us have a drink at the Rusty Mackerel pub after we finished our walk at the Slieve League Cliffs and I thoroughly enjoyed this and having a chat to a few locals (even though I could hardly understand their accents)
Calliam was young and enthusiastic and to me typically Irish. He knew lots about different things - the history, the geography, the plants and animals. We did a bit of foraging which I found fascinating. I also enjoyed the Irish music that he played in the van. His recommendations for evening meals were good and he also recommended a really good local Irish gin which I now wish I'd bought a bottle of the An Dulan gin. He was helpful with recommendations and suggestions of other Wilderness Ireland tours that he thought I would like.
I'd highly recommend this particular trip "Causeway Coastal Route and Donegal". Everyone at Wilderness Ireland from the office staff to our guide were friendly, helpful and couldn't do enough for me it made the whole process so easy from start to finish. I'll be back to see more of Ireland!
Reviewed on 14/09/2019
Age: 60 - 70
Country: United States
Trip Date: 31/08/2019
Trips Taken: 1
Accommodation & Food
The Bottom Line
The portfolia with its text and pictures gave a concrete sense of the tour. More on the locales of the guest houses would bolster the early prepping, even just the names of the inns and their towns. The phone conversations were all helpful and pleasant.
Spectacular scenery throughout and informative commentary by our expert guide Calliam. The restaurants all provided excellent food and drink and good atmosphere.
Calliam was efficient, a careful driver, alert to circumstances, a nimble guideo on the trails, and an intriguiging teller of tales.
Wonderful trip with thoroughly professional guidance.
Reviewed on 09/09/2019
Age: 50 - 60
Trip Date: 31/08/2019
Trips Taken: 8
Accommodation & Food
The Bottom Line
Erin’s emails and follow up to phone conversations were helpful and timely
Best lunches ever on a Wilderness trip! It was disappointing to not be at Portnoo. The location appealed greatly, but I do appreciate the large room at Nesbitt Arms
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