Hiking in Glenveagh National Park

Glenveagh National Park, County Donegal, Ireland, Europe

Ireland road trip – hiking in County Donegal: 17,84 km in 5:25 h through Glenveagh National Park


Glenveagh National Park is situated in County Donegal, about a half an hour drive from Letterkenny. It’s a great spot to go hiking.

Arriving in the visitor center which was less than deserted, a friendly assistant took the time to explain the different hiking routes, none of which being really demanding. Her recommendation was to take the red route, starting at Glenveagh Castle and passing a waterfall. Unfortunately both of the longer routes were one-way hiking paths, so we would need to return the same way.

We could have covered the four kilometers distance between the parking lot (where the visitor center is situated) to the castle with a shuttle bus, but we didn’t opt for that. Still, it’s a great thing for elderly people or if you’re short of time, as the 19th century castle itself is a nice place for having afternoon tea, take a tour or just wander through the palm gardens surrounding the castle. (We went in to have some coffee later on… 😉 )

But first things first, off to exploring the waterfall. After four additional kilometers which you can then only go by foot, we finally got to see the waterfall.

On the way, we fought our way forward overcoming countless swarms of mosquitos. Really persistent beasts, they were even sticking to my jacket when I waved my arms and actively tried to hake them off.

Waterfall and cross-country hiking in Glenveagh National Park

We eventually got to see the waterfall, although from a safe distance, as it was on the opposite side of the small river that feeds the lake in the stretched valley. It took us no time to decide we wanted to sit right next to where the water comes down and rest, and this would be the ideal opportunity to test our new hiking boots… It turned out to be all „Morast Aue“ and Daniel’s shoes were soaking wet afterwards. Well, that was our little adventure after all.

In the end it was really worth it to be standing at the foot of the fall, overlooking the valley from a different point of view, having a steep „Felswand“ in our backs. Although we only allowed ourselves a quick halt (Daniel was slightly panicking when he saw two figures at the opposite side staring and waving at us – my guess is they just wanted to make sure we’re ok) we really enjoyed the nature and the fresh air. Despite the fact that we weren’t finishing the whole path but decided to return to the castle instead this made a great and relaxing day that would eventually be topped by the evening entertainment at the pub tonight.

After a quick lunch and the mandatory cup of black tea we are good to aim for the top of the hill, the most demanding part of our hike today: Climbing up the Western mountain top to overlook Glenveagh Valley is really worth it!

// National Park: Glenveagh

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