Shaun & Mary Doherty
Golf Links Road
F93 XP49
Co Donegal

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Walks 3 - The Druids Road

Walk 3 (printer-friendly version)

Start: On R238 at visitors' information sign in village opposite Londis supermarket.

Length: 10km. (6.3 miles) Good level of fitness required. OS Map 3 Discovery Series recommended. No suitable rest points on this demanding 3 hour walk which is ideal for experienced walkers. Road surface very suitable for walking.

Attractions: A landscape of contrasts - makes a circle of Crockaughrim with dramatic views of hills of Inishowen, open heathery boglands, scintillating sea views, superb uncluttered scenery, newly planted fir plantations, a diversity of hedgerows and a historic landscape. Loop walk with little traffic.

Heading towards Clonmany, the route travels past the Ballyliffin and Trasna Hotels with views of Bulbin ahead, topped with a huge cross, erected for the Eucharistic Congess of 1932. 1km. from the village, take sharp turn left at crossroads soon after passing TOP station. Note a trio of unique two-storey barns on right. Here begins the most difficult part of the walk, through Cloontagh on to Coolcross, involving an uphill climb over 1.5km leading through an open, heathery, marshy landscape which is unfenced. Lough Doo windfarm comes into view beyond the evergreen fir plantation on right.

At 3.5 km. from the start, (Hill View Fuels sign) take sharp turn left at T-junction and follow route for about 2k. over a narrow, uneven, winding road which offers panoramic views out to Slieve Snacht, the highest mountain in the peninsula. The next T-junction marks the half-way point so turn left and foot weary plodders will be delighted to hear that the rest of the journey is all downhill. Suddenly, a totally different landscape of estuary, water meadows and beaches offers a kind of reward to warm the heart for the second stage : Glashedy Island, Trabrega Bay, Five Fingers Strand and the archaeologically rich Isle of Doagh with its famed Famine Village. This section is well sheltered from the west winds, with high heather-clad ditches rich in furze, fuschia, briar, and hazel. Excellent surface for walkers. A couple of hundred metres later, turn left again for a better view of Glashedy Island.

Bear right at the next T-junction in Rasheeny townland, avoiding the untarred road ahead. Look to the distant right for views of Malin and Culdaff. A couple of hundred yards to the right is a hill called Cnocnagalcossagh, named after a bright-footed female Druid who terrified men in these parts long ago.

About O.5 km later, at walled residence, Trábrega, turn sharp left, passing gates with Ard na Mara written on them, followed by Railway Cottage at the bend. At this point, listen for the sound of the ghostly Swilly Train that rattled on its way to Buncrana as you cross over the route of the dismantled track.

As a YIELD sign looms, take care as you emerge on the R238 highway again, and turn left at the sign for Ballyliffin world famous links golf course with its unique dune system. Follow the main road through Tornabratley for 1.5 km. to get back to the starting point.