Shaun & Mary Doherty
Golf Links Road
F93 XP49
Co Donegal

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+353 87 290 5101

Walks 2 - The Highway To The Castle

Walk 2 (printer-friendly version)

Start: at the visitors' information sign opposite Londis and bear right towards Carndonagh on the R238.

Length: 15 km. (9.5 miles). This is the longest walk in the series and will take close to four hours. Ideal for the highly experienced walker, on mostly flat terrain without any hill climbs. Generally tarred road but moves on to rough gravel path on private lands, winding up on sandy coastal walk which is undergoing development.

Attractions: The walk has a great variety of vistas - busy farmsteads, lots of beautifully maintained thatched cottages, historic landmarks, good views over Five Fingers Strand with impressive sand dunes, said to be among the highest in Europe. An excellent opportunity to witness the turbulence of the Atlantic and its waters teeming into and exiting from Trabrega Bay at high and low tide. The return journey offers a unique walk through ever-changing sand dune landscape and hillocks of pebbles on a specially constructed pathway which is very gentle on tired limbs. Loop walk.

About 2km from the village after passing through Tornabratley, follow signs left for Famine Village and as you cross the raised beach into the Isle of Doagh, note that these water meadows were once covered by the sea, which cut off the Isle from the rest of the peninsula. Have a look at the roadside profusion of reeds once used for thatching. Watch out for attractive thatched cottages and barns on the way. Having reached the half-way point, why not make a visit to the Famine Village if only to enjoy a warm cup of tea which is part of the tour. A handful of kilometres later, with fine views across Five Fingers Strand, Carrickabraghy Castle appears to leap from the water on the right, famed as a battle place as far back as the tenth century. Jutting out to sea on the other side of the Bay, to the right, is the promontory fort of Dunargus, used to defend the entrance to Trabrega against Viking invaders. In winter, the waterworks below the castle are quite spectacular with huge jets of white spray spouting into the air.

At the castle, the terrain changes and there is a gravelly pathway leading on to the coastal walk, bordering the golf course, through the dunes and back to the village. The mountain of pebbles washed ashore is unique and is now protected so it may be worth while to stop and take a closer look at the variety of colours and shapes. In the past, farmers used them for drains and making farm roads.