9. From Belfast: 4 Day Donegal and the Wild Atlantic Way Tour
Day 1 You leave Belfast and travel to Hillsborough Castle and its stunning gardens. Here, you get to discover ornamental grounds, tranquil woodlands, and charming glens. Then the journey takes you to the city of Armagh in County Armagh, Ireland’s Orchard County. This city loves St Patrick so much it boasts two cathedrals dedicated to him. They also love their Bramley apple, so make sure to try local ciders and the legendary Irish Black Butter. Next, heading for the border past Lower Lough Erne, the landscape will get more rugged as you cross into the beat bogs and Hills of County Donegal in the Republic of Ireland. You will stay overnight in the town of Donegal, a popular foodie destination lined with cosy pubs filled with traditional music. Day 2 First are the Slieve League Cliffs, among the highest in Europe, that tumble down 600 metres to the unrestrained ocean and are steeped in legends. The landscape continues to get wilder as you travel through the sparsely populated Irish-speaking communities to Glencolomcille. Taking a break from the coastal delights, the route takes you through a striking mountain pass at Glengesh to the picturesque village of Ardara for lunch. You continue to explore the Wild Atlantic Way, before travelling through the impressive Glenveagh National Park. In the early evening, you arrive in Letterkenny, a vibrant town full of history and great traditional bars, where you spend two nights. Day 3 Leaving Letterkenny, you head straight for Fort Dunree. This strategic clifftop fort is now also home to a military museum. From here you travel along Mamore Gap, one of the most scenic drives in Ireland. Next up, you make your way to the lovely little town of Carndonagh for lunch. This market town boasts loads of pubs and restaurants, not to mention it’s the site of the ancient Donagh Cross or St Patrick’s Cross. After, it's time to make your way up to Malin Head. With its wild and rugged coastline, this northern-most point of Ireland feels out of this world, so no wonder it was used as a filming location for Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi. Your adventure continues to Grianan of Aileach. This peculiar hilltop fort dates back to 1700 BC and has some breathtaking views. Day 4 Today you travel back into Northern Ireland to admire the beauty of Downhill, a prominent stop on the Causeway Coastal Route. Take a stroll along Downhill beach before you pop up to see Mussenden Temple perched right on the cliff’s edge. This 18th-century temple was originally built to house the eccentric Earl Bishop’s library and is now one of the most photographed places in Ireland and a Game of Thrones location. Our next stop is at the seaside village of Castlerock for a well-deserved lunch break. No trip to Ireland is complete without a bit of whiskey, so you head off next for Old Bushmills Distillery, the world’s oldest licensed whiskey distillery. With this delicious whiskey warming your insides, it’s time to head back to Belfast.