Day trip of County Donegal: Wild Atlantic Way and caves by the beach

Roadtrip through Ireland, Europe

Ireland road trip: Maghera Caverns on the beach in Ardara and cliffs overlooking the Atlantic.

We used the last full day in County Donegal for a day trip to just enjoy the wonderful nature and landscape. As we were planning to spend the last evening in the pub again (they have live music every day starting at 10:00 pm) and my parents would be arriving, we opted for a not-so-exhausting day program: Cliffs and the Maghera Caverns on the beach in Ardara, on a day trip of County Donegal.

Google Maps has proven reliable, once again – to be frank I wouldn’t have taken one or two of the turns it was proposing. Some „streets“ looked more like a really narrow one-way street with a dead end. On the contrary, all streets we passed, were two-way and in these specific moments I was really relieved that we were given the VW Tiguan. Just in case we needed to make it out of the mud next to the road, this car would have definitely come in handier than any limousine.

VW Tiguan in Ireland, Europe
The VW Tiguan is a good choice to get around Ireland – we rented via Sixt

Bunglass Point: Cliffs overlooking the Atlantic

With the weather being just as usual – windy, chilly, at about ten degrees – we discovered some of the steep cliffs at Bunglass Point. Don’t be mistaken by the closed gate at the end of the parking lot when you drive up from Slieve League – you are well allowed to open and pass it, it’s just preventing the sheeps from running away.

Sure, we didn’t know that and added an extra 1.5 km to our hike today. It was not until we arrived at the other parking lot that we found the hiking trail that would take us atop the hill to fully enjoy the panoramic landscape. It was awesome as the clouds in the far distance created a mystic mood.

Returning to the car, we thought to bypass a bit of the street and just leave the designated path, dismounting on the other side of the hill. After all, our hiking shoes had proven to be suitable for unsuitable terrain just yesterday.

Somehow, though, we must have missed the steep downhill part that borders the street and so our little hiking expedition ended in a climbing exercise to get back to street level.

This being a bit exhausting we needed to fuel up during our day trip in county Donegal at a close-by pub, the Slieve League Lodge. With delicious seafood chowder and fresh fish & chips, accompanied by the obligatory pints of Guiness and cider, we were ready to discover the caves on the beach.

// Inn & pub: Slieve League Lodge

Trust Google Maps, despite narrow roads and sheep

As mentioned Google Maps’ navigation skills really impressed me, because I wouldn’t have taken some of the proposed routes.

Arriving by the beach, on a deserted parking lot, we felt taken back to the North Sea with dunes and the grass growing on it. Also, the rough wind doesn’t make it easy to get to the beach and through the dunes. We had sand everywhere and for my camera I should’ve taken my rain gear to protect it. I’m sure in two months time I’ll still find some sand in it somewhere.

On the beach we are not quite sure if we are able to see and explore the entirety of caves there is. The tide is high and without wellies it’s impossible to further look around. Still, I’m surprised to see how manifold the landscape can be. Steep cliffs, rough Atlantic ocean on the one side, a broad beach and soft dunes on the other. Lastly, there’s the Assaranca waterfall we wouldn’t miss, that is just closeby the parking lot on our way returning to Letterkenny for the day.

Caves by the beach, Ireland, Europe

You can see some impressions below.

// caverns by the beach: Maghera Caves

// waterfall past the village of Leaconnell: Assaranca

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