The Inishowen Peninsula in Co. Donegal is a wonderful location for a single, couple or family vacation. Voted one of Ireland’s Top 10 Scenic Routes in an independent survey, traveling around the country’s most northern points, surrounded by savage scenery, welcoming people and hundreds of activities, will take your breath away.
The InishOwen 100 drive is a 97 mile drive that loops around the whole peninsula, offering dozens of top attractions, things to see, points of interest and places to eat. It can be done in a single day, but that’s not the idea. Take your time and immerse yourself in the history and culture.
Of course, you can come in at any point and follow the signs round, but officially, the tour starts in Bridgend. Running clockwise, the route cuts along the coast of Lough Swilly, passing Inch Island, Fahan, and Buncrana town, before reaching Tullyarvan Mill. Then it’s on to Dunree beach and Fort, before turning inland for the Mamore Gap, which runs between the sweeping Urris Hills and mighty Raghtin More Mountain. Past Leenan Bay, Dunaff Head, Tullagh Bay, through the villages of Clonmany and Ballyliffin.
From Ballyliffin the route passes the Isle of Doagh and onto the town of Carndonagh. Next up is Malin Town, past the spectacular Five Finger Strand and cliff top viewpoint at Knockamany Bens and lastly to Banba’s Crown peninsula at Ireland’s most northerly point, Malin Head.
From this far up the only way is south, so set off passing Culdaff village and Culdaff Bay, the remote Tramone Bay, Kinnagoe Bay beach, Lough Foyle and Shroove. The last stretch is on to Greencastle, Moville town, Quigley’s Point, the village of Muff, before finished back at Bridgend where you started.
Hotels, bed & breakfasts and guest houses can be found all around the peninsula route in the towns and villages, as well as sometimes alone with only glorious countryside nearby. It may be best to arrange stays in four or five separate establishments going progressively around the route. This breaks trip down into handy 20-25 mile chunks and means you get a few nights at each place, which cuts down on the time you spend packing, unpacking and checking in.
This northern-most point of Ireland may not have the most forgiving weather, even in summer, but that shouldn’t detract from the incredible surroundings. As said, you could run the entire route in a long day, but then you would miss all the amazing sights and things to do.
There are beaches at Fahan, Dunree, Tullagh Bay, Culdaff Bay, the extraordinary Kinnagoe Bay and the magical Five Finger Strand, if you fancy some sea and sand. Both Ballyliffin and Fahan boast 18-hole golf courses. For fantastic walks, try Raghtin More Mountain or part of the Carndonagh to Buncrana dismantled railway, accessible from either end.
If the weather doesn’t play ball, check out Dunree Fort’s Military Museum, Tullyarvan Mill’s history of textiles experience, the Isle of Doagh’s famine museum, Banba’s Crown, which was the home of one of the mythical Queens of Ireland, or any of the dozens of other attractions including fishing, cycling, whale and shark spotting.
Of course, simply exploring the local towns and villages, shopping, eating, talking and drinking can be just as enjoyable. That’s the magic of the people and places that make up the Inishowen Peninsula.