The north-west area of Donegal has a wealth of scenery and if you find yourself in this beautiful part of the country, be sure to head for Horn Head just outside of Dunfanaghy, be it for a few days, a day trip or even a quick spin around while doing the Wild Atlantic Way.
Make your way to Dunfanaghy and at the top of the town (the Falcarragh end), Horn Head drive will be signposted. Follow this road around and you will soon see one of the most picturesque GAA pitches in the country right next to a charming old stone bridge. After this bridge, continue along and soon there will be a cattle grid right in front of you – don’t take that route, keep veering around, following the curve of the road. I should mention that it might be a good idea to get the better driver behind the steering wheel here so you can test out the gearbox/driving skills, as this is quite a steep climb and likewise for coming back down again!
It’s very simple really; once you pass the cattle grid, just follow the road around in a clockwise manner. Do try to stop and take in the view as you climb, it really is spectacular – looking back across towards the west, you will have panoramic views over Tramore beach and then turning south, looking onto Muckish Mountain and the rest of the Derryveagh mountains.
Once you finish climbing and level off you will find yourself driving along a little road with the purple heather, sapphire blue Atlantic and light blue sky (well it was like that the day I visited!) coming together to dazzle you with beauty. Looking out to your left you will see the vertical cliffs of Horn Head rising ruler-straight out of the ocean to about 180metres. There is a look out point with parking area here also.
As you continue on the loop, the road will descend just as steeply as it rose so you might like to check that the brakes and hand brake are in good working order before you continue as there is very little else to stop you from going into Sheephaven Bay!
As the road curves back around to face onto Dunfanaghy, it will be become far more of a gentle return back and you will have plenty of opportunities to stop and take photos/ooh and aaah over the abundance of white sandy beaches and cute holiday cottages all around you.
Coming back into Dunfanaghy, there are lots of options to eat! While my visit was far too quick, I did make time to have afternoon tea and delicious cake at the lovely Muck ‘n’ Muffins right in the village. There seems to be a thriving food scene in Dunfanaghy from good coffee & cakes to a wood fired oven pizza van to great local seafood & stout bars. Lots of eating options and lots of beaches so I reckon I’ll be back!!
You could always look across to Horn Head from Tory (which is a magnificent view) if you were seeking island adventures, read my experience here:
Or a lovely manageable drive from Horn Head is Glenveagh National Park, where you’ll have stunning views of Muckish mountains as you drive around it: