first_imgNational Geographic is one of the biggest (if not the biggest) magazines on the planet for travel buffs.Now a feature on the Wild Atlantic Way, which includes a major hats-off to Donegal, is set to have tourists keen to see what all the fuss is about.Of course, we could tell them any day of the week. But here Kathleen Mangan does her own bit for Donegal tourism.This is the article.Kathleen M. ManganAt the western fringe of Europe is a marginal zone where the force of the Atlantic crashes against the jagged rock defenses of Ireland’s western seaboard. The Wild Atlantic Way, a new driving route that covers approximately 1,500 miles, highlights the battle of land and sea with stunning vistas and iconic adventures. This epic, sign-posted route skirts Ireland’s coastline from north to south and takes travelers through traditional rural outposts where Gaelic is still spoken, tweeds are woven on wooden looms, the fish on the menu is from the boat tied up at the pier, fiddlers play sessions in the pubs at night, and—as the locals say—the craic is mighty (meaning the social banter is fun).We’ve broken the Wild Atlantic Way into seven segments and offer insider suggestions on authentic cultural experiences, killer views, and little-known highlights.Inishowen Peninsula to Donegal TownDonegal is rugged, remote, and sparsely populated, a place dominated by seabirds and sheep. Soaring sea cliffs and northern headlands seem to taunt the fishing fleet—11 lighthouses along the coast help vessels navigate to safety.Hike One Man’s Pass: Go beyond the viewing platform at the granite cliffs of Slieve League, among the highest sea cliffs in Europe, by hiking the trail along the ridge topping the cliffs. It’s not for those afraid of heights—the sheer drops are dizzying, especially in the stretch known as One Man’s Pass. Stay at Slieve League Lodge in Carrick, where the pub’s hot whiskies with lemon and cloves will heal all aches.Join a program in Glencolmcille: Guided hill-walking is one of the programs offered at Oideas Gael, a cultural center in Glencolmcille. The most popular route is over a mountain to the deserted village of Port and back around the sea cliffs at Glen Head. You can also take a week of classes covering Gaelic language, Irish harp or whistle, archaeology, and more. At Glencolmcille Folk Village, thatched cottages reveal country life during different centuries. Donegal fiddling is often heard in sessions at Roarty’s Bar. A couple strolls by the sea on Inishbofin, a small island off the coast of Connemara.Watch traditional Irish hand-weaving: Studio Donegal in Kilcar maintains hand-weaving traditions by spinning their own yarns and weaving signature tweeds and woolens on old wooden looms. Ask for a peak at the workshop, then shop for high-quality wool clothing, plus colorful pillows and throws.Try sea-stack climbing: With guides from Unique Ascent, descend sea cliffs to a storm beach, cruise by boat to a sea stack, then climb to the stack’s stony summit.See impressive late Neolithic dolmens: The Dolmen Centre near Portnoo features two stone portal tombs dating back more than 4,000 years. The larger of the two Kilclooney dolmens is one of the best preserved in Ireland and features one of the biggest capstones, which stretches 20 feet wide and soars above upright portal-stone supports. The smaller dolmen is partly collapsed. Photo op: Driving from Glencolmcille to Ardara, pull off at the top of Glengesh Pass for a view of the road looping downward into what appears to be a Hobbit-like world below.Get a guide: Derek Vial of Tour Donegal is the expert on history, sights, and everything Donegal.Donegal Town to BallinaThis stretch consisting mostly of Sligo, with bits of Counties Donegal, Leitrim, and Mayo, is a coastal zone of rugged sand dunes and wild beaches. It’s world-renowned for surfing. Streedagh Strand made news in the summer of 2015 when nine cannons from one of three Spanish Armada galleons wrecked here in 1588 were recovered offshore and taken to the National Museum of Ireland for conservation.Soak in seaweed: At Kilcullen’s Seaweed Baths, an Edwardian bathhouse in Enniscrone, experience a therapeutic soak in a tub filled with hot seawater and freshly harvested seaweed, which releases nutrients and oils to soothe skin and bones.Catch a wave: Rossnowlagh hosted the European Surfing Championships back in 1985, and the reliable curls here make it an excellent destination for beginner and experienced surfers. The Fin McCool Surf School will help you hone your technique. You can watch big-wave surfing from the headlands at Mullaghmore in winter; the nearby Prowlers surf break can sometimes throw up waves reaching 55 feet high, attracting the world’s most extreme surfers.DONEGAL PUT ON GLOBAL MAP BY NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC was last modified: September 26th, 2015 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more