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Donegal to derry via hire car

Brisbane, Australia
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Donegal to derry via hire car

will leave Donegal in the morning on the way to Derry, would like to go the scenic route but have time to spend the afternoon in Derry. Can anyone suggest a nice scenic route.

North Coast, N...
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for Northern Ireland
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1. Re: Donegal to derry via hire car

Good question - and I am struggling a bit with it as a lot of the very scenic routes would take you too far round the coast.

Will you have explored Donegal before you leave in the morning?

If not, I would suggest including Slieve League cliffs and then heading via Ballybofey and Letterkenny to Burt for a photostop at An Grianan Ailigh. Now much of this drive is on main roads and not particularly scenic but the cliffs and ringfort are. A slightly more scenic version of this would be to go from Slieve League via Ardara and the Glenties but I would worry about the time element as I think it would take longer than you really want to spend.

Hopefully someone else (I think Domhnall is our Donegal DE) will be able to help more!

Brisbane, Australia
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2. Re: Donegal to derry via hire car

Donegal via Ardara, Glenties and then Letterkenny before arriving at Derry looks good. AA says about 128km and approx 2.5 hours. I know it will take longer but it seems do-able and still arrive in Derry mid afternoon.

Dublin
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3. Re: Donegal to derry via hire car

Given that you want to be in Derry for the afternoon, you are a little time constrained. That would probably exclude the Slieve League option which might take you too far westwards from Donegal Town, rather than broadly eastwards in the general direction of Derry.

I'd suggest heading on a loop around the north of the county on the following route:

Northwards from Donegal Town on the N56/R262/N56 via Ardara, Glenties and Dunglow to Gweedore.

Branch off eastwards on the R251 via Dunlewy and Glenveagh National Park, then southwards, still on the R251 via Churchill and Newmills to Letterkenny

Eastwards on the N13/N14 from Letterkenny to Derry.

This route amounts to about 120 miles driving and would take about 3 hours without stops. However, there are lots of places to stop - maybe too many to list comprehensively. One or two suggestions for pit-stops en-route would include Ionad na Locha in Dunlewy, the visitor centre at Glenveagh National Park and the Glebe Gallery in Churchill.

In terms of scenery, my favourite part of the route is probably the R251 from Gweedore to Glenveagh - a bleak if stunning part of the county. As suggested, you might have time for a coffee in Glenveagh, but not enough time to fully explore the National Park.

Edited: 25 November 2012, 08:58
Brisbane, Australia
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4. Re: Donegal to derry via hire car

thank you so much, this is what I was looking for. According to AA it is approx 172 km and just under 3 hours. I think if we hit the road early we can have our stops and still be in derry by mid afternoon. If not I could squeeze in a look around derry the day we head off to Belfast. For us we still get enjoyment out of the drive and the scenery without having always needing to get out of the car for long spells.

Thank you once again

North Coast, N...
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for Northern Ireland
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5. Re: Donegal to derry via hire car

That is a lovely drive. Like Domhnall, I love the Glenveagh/Dunlewey/Poisoned Glen area. My only concern with it is that you will have to be stricter than I could to be. But then I am dreadful for going off the beaten track, seeing a sign or something and off I go! You will have to be fairly strict in keeping photostops to a reasonable timeframe but yes, it is a lovely drive:) You really need to be aiming to reach Derry around 1.30/2ish to give you time to walk the city walls, see the Peace Bridge and maybe squeeze in the Tower or Free Derry Museum.

If all else fails, you can walk the city walls and read the plaques yourself as long as it is daylight....

Dublin
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6. Re: Donegal to derry via hire car

One addendum, as I'm not clear on your overall plans for touring Ireland. If hiring a car in the Republic of Ireland (as opposed to Northern Ireland), you should plan to drop off the car in the ROI, as dropping off in NI would attract a significant repatriation premium. Maybe you are already well aware of this, but just in case...

7. Re: Donegal to derry via hire car

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