There is no better place to relax and Head get free than in Donegal in Northern Ireland. This is also due to the incredible rain hikes that you can do here.
- Picturesque north-west of Ireland
- Europe's highest sea cliff
- Glenveagh National Park
- Like Greta Garbo and Sean Connery
- With the eBike on the road
- Hike your head empty
- Unusual loneliness
- Rainwalking in Donegal
- Special offers for hikers
- The Bluestack Way
- Hiking on the Banagher Hill
- Where there is a will, a path also flows
- Do not underestimate the forces of nature
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Picturesque north-west of Ireland
Dongeal on the northwestern edge of the Irish Republic is one of the most remote and unspoilt regions of the country. Until 10 years ago, tourists largely avoided the region because of its proximity to Northern Ireland and the one that dominates there Konflikt. Therefore yours tick noticeably differently here.
For example, you can take a tourist bus tour like that of Mangan Training Book tours and still have a great tourist experience, because the small bus only takes 15 people, but also hops along roads that are barely passable in order to present the guests with an extra view.
Or you meet people like Marie who spontaneously want to take you on a Northern Lights watching tour. You can feel that the people here have great things Fun to show the beauties of the region.
Europe's highest sea cliff
Even the tourist magnet Slieve League, which stands as Europe's highest cliff, imposing 500 meters above the Atlantic, is still so tranquil to enjoy. Also here you can measure yourself in a four-hour hike with the forces of nature, but it has to pass partly on all fours, because the path is so narrow that you run the risk of being blown down.
Nearby, in the town of Kilcar, Sarah Jessica Parker has her summer residence. Also in Crolley, not far from the airport, there is a small celebrity sight with Leo's Tavern. Because the tavern belongs to the father of Enya and Clannad. Unfortunately, they no longer appear there, but you can admire numerous photos here.
Glenveagh National Park
Celebrities can also be spotted hiking at another tourist attraction: Glenveleagh National Park and its Victorian Castle. That has an exciting albeit Boy History:
1857 - 1859 bought the land speculator John George Adair (1823 - 1885) several neighboring plots of land and formed from them Glenveagh. He sold 1861 tenants from the area to 244 for promising better livestock profits. 1867 he started building Glenveagh Castle. The castle was completed 1873.
After his death in 1885, his Texan took over Ms. Cornelia the lands. She expanded the castle and laid out the gardens and spent the summers here until 1916. After her death in 1921 she was orphaned system and was seized by troops from both sides during the Irish Civil War. bought in 1929 Professor Arthur Kingsley Porter the estate. After his death 1933, the castle was empty again until it was purchased by Henry McIlhenny 1937.
Like Greta Garbo and Sean Connery
Both Kingsley Porter and McIlhenny liked to welcome artists and celebrities in Glenveagh. There are pictures of AE Russel in the library. Yehudi Menuhin has stayed here several times, as have Greta Garbo, Grace Kelly or Sean Connery. McIlhenny had 1940 by Jim Russell remodel the garden and increase the variety of plants. Since the 70 years there is even a heated swimming pool. He sold 1975 the lands to the Office of Public Works for the National Park to be established. 1983 he then left the garden and the castle with most of the establishment of the National Park Administration. The National Park has been made accessible to the public 1984 and the castle 1986.
Probably due to its contrast between the romantic garden and the wild landscape of the village, Glenveleagh is today a tourist attraction, through which visiting groups in the half-hour act are welcomed. The castle can be reached either by bus or by e-bike, which the Communety Center Grassroutes.ie offers here at the parking lot. 100-150 hour kilometers create the eBikes with a charge and supposedly the eBikes can be even in the hotels at normal sockets.
With the eBike on the road
Since the eBike rental companies are networked along the Wild Atlantic Way, it would theoretically even be possible to use eBikes to travel to the West Irish coast. Practically, however, this poses some organizational challenges for the vendors, as Mary McGrenra of Grassroutes tells me - eBiking is still in its infancy in Ireland, and as a rule you will also have to drive on the road, because many of the hiking trails are also in Glenveagh National Park not for biking.
Therefore, on this July day we limit ourselves to a very small tour - the 5 kilometers up to the castle and then to the end of the lake, where you can admire a picturesque waterfall. The bus tourists are left in this way soon behind, but the way soon becomes impassable. I leave the bike (it will be picked up later) and walk up the hill on the stony but wide path.
Hike your head empty
A tour that is also suitable for beginners and yet fast a sense of absolute lonliness conveyed. Suddenly there is only the mountain and I in an incredibly impressive, but deserted landscape and my only thought is the question of whether I will really get there.
The loneliness forces you to deal with what is really essential and with your own fears. All worries and Problems suddenly seem so marginal and far away. Even if the hike, like in my case, only takes a little over an hour. So if you want to clear your head, hiking in the solitude of Glenveagh National Park is recommended.
In fact, Glenveagh is a good place to go for several days on such lonely routes and camping. This absolute loneliness is not without certainty, especially if you walk alone.
Because while you meet in many other regions again and again on hikers, you probably can not meet anyone for days. And that can be scary. After all, Mary picks me up again on top of the mountain: After all, a driveway leads here and on the weekend brings a bus people here so they can walk back to the castle.
Rainwalking in Donegal
Speaking of hiking: Nowhere can you go on such great rain-hikes. When we start it is still pleasant - cloudy, but warm and in between it makes it seem as if the sun is about to push through the cloud cover. We walk a bit on the Bluestack Way: It leads in three stages of about 20 km through the Bluestack Mountains and is - relatively rare for Ireland - well signposted: There is a sign about every 100 meters.
Stage 1 begins in Donegal: The 4000 residents' place at the bay and river nowadays mostly lives by tourists. Main road is the Donegal Castel. Right next door, in the former stables of the castle, is the Olde Castl Pub, in which one compares comparatively cheap a very creative cuisine. Highly Recommended!
Special offers for hikers
Every year at the beginning of June the Donegal Walking Week takes place, during which three days of different walks around the village are offered. Abbey Hotel offers special offers.
The Eas Dun Lodge BundB in Lough Eske was also recommended to me. Owner Anne McGlinchey is said to be of great help to hikers, because she drives them or their luggage somewhere. You can also check out Sean Mullen from Walk Talk Ireland also book guided hikes.
The Bluestack Way
The Bluestack Way and now leads for the first 20 kilometers past Lough Eske and through the hills to Drumone. Here is a youth hostel for the night and a pub. Nothing else The next 20 kilometers are through picturesque landscapes and great viewpoints to Glenties, where BundB's and a hostel accommodate hikers.
The third stage finally leads to the small town of Ardara. The tourist offers here include a walking festival, a “multicultural festival” and the annual Cup of Tae Festival of traditional music in May.
About 25 KM away from Ardara is the Glencolmcille Folk Village, which gives a little insight into the rural life of the early 18., 19. and 20. Century. It was founded 1950 by James McDyer, but today is rather touristy, but not yet overflowed. At least it waits with homemade food and a small, very nice sandy beach.
Hiking on the Banagher Hill
However, my guide Anne Leonhardt decides that she wants to show me more of the landscape's original wilderness, and after a few miles leaves the Bluestack Way to climb Banagher Hill. According to Anne, the Bluestack Way is the only one that can easily handle even without a guide - and as I follow her up the trail, I agree:
Because our path is becoming a tramping path, which is hardly recognizable as such. Around us lakes, green, bare hills, a landscape that is almost eerie, which gives you the feeling of an alpine high mountain at an altitude of 300 meters. Knowing where to go to find the right path would not be possible for me now, because everything looks the same. After all, there is a fence that you can follow as untrained.
Where there is a will, a path also flows
And at first we have a fantastic view of the surrounding landscape, we are suddenly surrounded by thick clouds within a few minutes and I begin to understand what the famous Irish rain means: Shortly afterwards we are wet to the bones, waterproof equipment brings since nothing and the path, which is not present anyway, has been transformed into crashing streams and mud puddles.
There is no escape from moisture, trees or shelters - no indication; the water even stands in the supposedly waterproof shoes. Even going back now would bring nothing more. There is only one thing left: just keep going!
Do not underestimate the forces of nature
Anne, originally from Dublin, has been on the Bluestack Mountains since 20 years. She is also a member of the local hiking club, Blustack Ramblers, who even regularly makes 6 tours to the mountains in the evening and takes 5 euros per person for tourists.
Anne herself offers her services as a hiking guide for 90 Euro. And she is equipped for such weather: Always, even in winter, she has, for example, a pair of waterproof pants, headgear against wind and cold, spare socks and even gloves - and indeed you can now good up here in July. In addition, the legs are specially protected by gaiters from damp grass. Who would have thought below, how cutting cold the wind here whistles?
When we get to the top of the summit, the rain finally stops. We look for a sheltered place to change our things and have a sip of hot tea - and enjoy the impressive view of the increasingly clear sky.
In the Descent we are largely spared from further rain showers. I'm doubly happy about the two walking sticks that Anne gave me. And I have learned: Even in supposedly harmless Ireland, the power of nature should not be underestimated. But actually it doesn't really matter if it rains or not. And when in doubt, the simple thing to do is: keep going.
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