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Hidden away in the corner of North West Ireland beside “The Wild Atlantic Way” is the complex of Portbeg Holiday Homes – an ideal venue for your next club’s walking holiday.
All the houses are well equipped for self catering walking holidays with an airing cupboard for drying your walking clothes and boots. We are situated about one and a half hours drive from Knock airport which has regular flights from Birmingham, Bristol, East Midlands, Liverpool, Stanstead, Luton, Gatwick and Manchester. Belfast City and International airports are about two and a half hours drive and have frequent flights to the UK, and major cities in Europe , also Dublin airport is about a three hour drive away.
The complex is ideally situated close to the hills of the North West which is an excellent area for hill walking as it encompasses challenging peaks, wild and remote uplands, rocky mountain terrain, and marvellous sea cliffs. Below is a varied selection of some of the walks that can be found in the area.
Click on each walk for more information…
The sphinx head of Benbulben is a dramatic sight when first encountered, it was immortalised by Ireland’s foremost poet William Butler Yeats with the lines “Under Benbulben’s Head”.
The mountain presents a formidable challenge viewed from the nearby lowlands, with its stern vertical furrowed cliffs.
Surprisingly it is quite a moderate walk once the crest is reached.
The climb takes you through peat bogs then following the River Grange to it’s source we surmount the plateau and fairly easy climb to the summit offering fantastic views over the Bay of Donegal.
The return walk is via the Glencarbury Barytes mines and then along the renowned escarpment walk overlooking the Swiss Valley.
Our final destination is Glencar Waterfall also immortalised by Yeats with the words:
“Where the wandering water gushes from the hills above Glencar from his poem “The Stolen Child”.
The summit of Truskmore is reached via the monolith of Eagles Rock which appears to have been severed from the parent cliff by a Cyclopean sword.
In reality it is a good example of glacier slumping in the Ice Age.
The start of the walk is at the base of Eagle’s Rock, it is a stiff pull up the scree between the towering walls and the main cliff to the summit of the Rock.
The route then descends to the foot of an old shepherd’s path which then ascends to the escarpment above and then on the summit of Truskmore, which at 644 meters is the highest peak in the region.
On the crest of the peak is a radio mast erected by a Norwegian company in 1962. The return route is via Tievebaun (White Side) a slight diversion to the west of the peak is the remains of a B17 World War Two bomber that crashed here in December 1943.
The bomber was on a flight from Goose Bay in Newfoundland to Prestwick in Scotland four of the crew perished out of a compliment of ten. Descent from the summit is by was of an old mule track that was once used from bringing turf from the mountain to the valley below.
The peak of Aroo commonly known to the locals as the “Blue Mountain” because of it’s blue sheen on the cliff sides of the mountain.
The summit is approached from the Glenaniff Valley along a bog track which takes the route to the first shoulder from the shoulder a steady climb across peat hags will bring you to the trig point which marks the summit (523 Meters) once reached the peak offers fabulous views of Lough Melvin and further afield the Hill of Donegal.
The return journey is via a series of lakes and a standing stone also passing quarries where mill wheels and stone hearths were extracted. Descending into the valley of Crocknagapple and then into the townland’s of Mullies concludes this walk.
A fairly easy walk encompassing lakes, woodlands and rolling hills, also visiting a Megalithic Tomb and Mass Rock.
The walk begins at the “Traveller’s Rest” Pub, further along the route a Megalithic Tomb dating back to over 4000 years is passed.
Also along the trek the derelict ancestral home of the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, which was the birth place of his Mother Hazel Corscadden.
Halfway along the route Breesy Mountain is reached, though only 258 meters high some fantastic views are offered from the summit.
The Blue Stack Mountains in the North, cliffs of Magho and Lough Erne in the East, Benbulben and Knocknarea in the South and the vast expanse of Donegal Bay in the West.
Further on there is a Mass Rock where locals worshipped in Penal times, also Hen Harriers (rare bird of prey) frequents this area.
The walk then meanders through the Knader Woodlands where Red Squirrels can sometimes be sighted, passes the Hydro Electric dam at Cloghore to terminate at the historical town of Ballyshannon.
The sea cliffs of Slieve League brood over the South Donegal Coast and are a dramatic sight especially on an early summer’s morning when the sun hits the cliffs.
Multi coloured hues of the schists, slates, quartzites combined with various minerals ores and the natural vegetation produces a kaleidoscope of colours with the sun’s rays.
The walk starts at Bunglass car park and proceeds over the Eagles Nest, below are two sea stacks called the “Giants Chair and Desk”. One Man’s Pass (so named because of the narrow path to the summit) takes the route to Trig Point which marks the crest of the peak.
The return journey is via the remains of St Hugh Macbricks church, the Saint was hermit in the sixth century and he became famous for curing folk with head ailments.
Proceeding along the well constructed Pilgrims Path believed to have been completed early in the nineteenth century the trek passes wells developed for the refreshment of pilgrims on their trek to the summit.
This coastal walk is a 11Km from Ballyshannon (the oldest town in Ireland) to Rossnowlagh (The Heavenly Cove) it was constructed by the local C0-Op and it provides the walker with some breathtaking views along the cliffs. The route passed over moor and farmland and is equipped with stiles and direction markers to assist the walkers.
Leaving Ballyshannon the walk traverses along the Erne Estuary where a sandbar can be viewed which was the undoing of Ballyshannon as a port, the remains of one ship that floundered on this obstacle can be viewed at low tide.
A major site on the walk is Wardtown Castle home of the Folliot landlords, when rates came to Ireland the roof of the Castle was removed so as not to be taxed.
The fenced off area that is encountered further on is the “Sand’s Cemetery in 1998 the remains of a skeleton were discovered which were later to be established as those of a female of the 6th century hence the name “Lady of the Sands”. Further on is Creevy Pier whom the walk is named after also Creevy Pier Hotel is very handy for a lunch break. After the break the route takes you via Kilbarron Castle very little remains but the oldest part dates to the 6th century.
After the castle the trail encounters Rossnowlagh beach where 5 Kms of golden sands await the walker also the walk terminates at the beach.
The Glenaniff River enters Lough Melvin near Rossinver and near its end it descends to the lake in a series of delighted waterfalls flowing over limestone slabs in a tiny wooded valley.
A river side path has been laid out here and it makes a pleasant hour and a half or so to walk it.
The falls are reputedly to be named after a one time land owner in the Rossinver area.
Unlike the more popular Glencar Waterfall also in North Leitrim, Fowleys Falls is not a single drop waterfall. Instead it cascades in a series of drops over the exposed bedrock to form a spectacular torrent of water rushing through the steep valley towards Lough Melvin.
In penal times locals gathered at the Mass Rock further down the river and over the years many poachers enjoyed fish caught close by.
This walk commences at the river Duff and follows the cliffs to Mermaids Cove then on to the picturesque port of Mullaghmore.
Following the river from the road towards the ocean a series of delightful waterfalls are encountered attended by the resident dippers ducking into the water for fresh water shrimps.
Just before the river empties into the sea it cascades over a dramatic waterfall, if the conditions are right Atlantic Salmon can often be seen attempting to negotiate this obstacle on their way up river to spawn. Leaving the river the walk follows the cliffs towards Mermaids Cove. In the spring looking over the cliffs numerous seabirds can be observed nesting such as Cormorants, Kittiwakes, Fulmars and Gulls.
Passing Mermaids Cove Mullaghmore Strand is reached 3Km of golden sand to wander on.
In the distance is Classiebawn Castle built in the 1860’s by the twice elected Prime minister of England Lord Palmeston and later owned by Lord Louis Mountabatten.
Mullaghmore is a delightful little fishing port also constructed by Lord Palmeston,
Most of the fishing is for lobsters and there are boats that go deep sea angling. From June onwards the boats target Blue Shark and Blue Fin Tuna which grow to a considerable size. Also there are ferry boats out to Insmurray Island which had an established community up till 1948 when the whole of the islanders departed due to the harsh conditions they were encountering.
Tievebaun Mountain then swings south towards Glenade Lade passing two megalithic tombs on the way.
As the trail nears the lake it offers dramatic views of “Eagles Rock” (described in an earlier wald). Passing “Eagles Rock” the route begins to ascend aboe Glenade Lade also known at the lade of jealousy which derives from the legend of Parthanlon and his wife.
At the northern end of the lake is a small “Crannon” a manmade island in Celtic time. Also associated with the lade is another legend that of the Dobharchu (Water hound) it is pronounced “Dowarcooo” . The story tells that on September 24th 1722 a young woman by the name of grace connnnnolly was killed by the monster as she was washing her clothes at the lake, when her husband discovered her body he avenged her death by slaying the monster.
But the Dobharchus’s partner awoke from the lake and chased then and his brother to below Benbulben, but the two men managed to sleep.
Knocknarea dominates the skyline of West Sligo and is well known for its huge flat topped cairn which is believed to be the resting place of the legendry Queen Maeve of Connacht.
On a clear day from the summit you can witness spectacular views in all directions, including the Ox Mountains, Lough Gill, Slieve League in Donegal and the summit of Croagh Patrick in the West.
The Gaelic form of Knocknarea is Cnoc na Ri meaning “Hill of Kings” in reference to the myth that on the mountain the ancient Kings of the province were crowned. The huge Cairn is called “Miosgan Meabha Gaelic for “Maeve’s Cairn”. The cairn itself is 190 meters in circumference and over 10 meters high.
Experts have calculated that the stones in the cairn weigh in the region of forty thousand tons; the same experts conclude that such immense labour that went into the construction of this mammoth tombstone would only have been undertaken to the memory of some event or person of immense importance.
The walk starts at the base of the mountain in the cap part the path winds up the hill the going does get a bit steeper as the summit gets closer also in weather it can be quite slippery. The legend tells us that it is lucky to take a stone to the summit and place it on the cairn likewise it is unlucky to remove a stone from the cairn.
A distinctive peak among the Dartry range.
Behbulben was formed during the ice age by massive glaciers segmenting the landscape.
The steeper sides of Benbulben are formed from large amounts of Dartry limestone, with the smoother sides composed of shale.
One of Ireland’s most distinctive mountains, Benbulben also referred to as Ireland’s own Table Mountain.
Benbulben literary pedigree is arguably unrivalled in Ireland due to its links to William Butler Yeats, the famous poet, who is buried at Drumcliffe churchyard some 6km from trail head of this walk.
Gortarowey is all weather in nature consisting of a hard surfaced finish and is suitable for all ages and abilities. The trail begins in a secluded forest area before opening out to provide genuinely stunning close up views of Benbulbin head.
On the walk you will see panoramic views of Donegal Bay are also available with the mountains of Donegal including Slieve League highly prominent in addition to Mullaghmore and Classiebawn Castle.
The unusual landscape houses an equally eclectic mix of flora and fauna, including Arctic alpine plants, wild hares, foxes and choughs.
The above walks can be classed as moderate to easy they can be self guided or the centre can provide a guide, there are numerous other walks of different levels of fitness.
Transport can be provided to the start and finish of each walk, we also can provide laminated notes, maps, and guide books, packed lunches, use of a cell phone.
With a house price starting from €35 PP for two nights ( Price for groups of 10) we are great value for money.
With so much experience behind us we will be able to cater for whatever type of programme your group requires.
Why not bring your friends, colleagues or students to Donegal & and embrace the rugged Wild Atlantic Way.
At Portbeg we can accommodate over 100 people we can also provide separate leader/teacher accommodation or a private room in each house.
We also have 24 hour supervision on site. We can offer a wide range of activities for your group.
Our house are self-catering with fully fitted kitchens.
Please contact for price details on the following: