Sli an Earagail
Start/End Points: Money More, Dunlewey (OSI Map 1, Grid ref: B907 204) Loop walk (This route goes through multiple towns so starting points may vary depending on individual preference.)
Access: Dunlewey and other towns on this route are accessible by local bus services, parking is also available in most towns for those with their own transport.
Hike Distance: 77km
Time to complete hike: 3 days
Difficulty level of Hike: Moderate. As with most lowland hikes in Donegal, a mixture of ascents and descents can be expected (1000m total height gain and loss for complete hike). This route takes you along local roads, forestry tracks, coastal ground and some bog sections. It is marked with yellow way markers on a black background which is easily followed in good conditions.
Accommodation: Accommodation is easily organised on this hike. Multiple options exist ranging from camp sites, hostels, B&B and others. Wild camping may be possible in sections, but prior landowner permission is usually needed as you may come across some no camping signs. For the purpose of this guide, we have opted to begin the route in Dunlewey as it sits in the shadow of An Earagail. There is a fantastic hostel here that has all the necessary facilities for you to relax and plan your adventures. For more info please see the accommodation section of this site.
Notable features and additional info: The majority of this hike offers great views of Donegal's highest peak. Given that you are in the area, it is recommended that you take a few hours to climb to the summit and avail of the spectacular views on offer of the Derryveagh mountain range (An Earagail).
From Dunlewey you have the option to walk in a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction, heading clockwise you will walk towards Gaoth Dobhair (Gweedore) and Bunbeg, this section to Bunbeg/Derrybeg is c30km and takes in the spectacular coastal section.
Continuing on from Derrybeg/Bunbeg, you walk in a northerly direction past Bloody Foreland (Cnoc Fola - the "Hill of Blood"), it derives it's name from a number of sources and legends, as the sun sets on a summers evening the hill is turned red, with the ferns in the autumn months turning a rustic red colour. Legend has it that this is where Balor of the Evil Eye was slain and his blood stained the hillside.
Depending on where you stay the second night, the final day is a hike back towards Dunlewey in the foothills of the famous seven sisters (a row of mountains on your left from Muckish to Errigal (mountain challenges). From Falcarragh this is about a 15km hike.
Appropriate hiking footwear and clothing is advised, weather is very changeable in Ireland so wet gear should also be at hand. Be sure to pack sufficient food and water for each leg of your hike and have the necessary navigational aids including appropriate maps (OSI Map 1) and compass. Spare clothing and emergency contact numbers are also advisable. Midges are a problem in Donegal during the summer months so it will likely be necessary to have the appropriate spray/cream at hand. More Info