Making wishes at the Fairy Bridges at sunset with Ben Bulbin behind me and St John’s Point far in the distance. 500 km of Donegal’s rugged coastline lay in front of me and my bicycle. Bundoran, my childhood home was just the beginning. Forty years living in these parts and I’d never really slowed down enough to enjoy it. Now, I was here with my partner Dan. I would show this English man what Ireland was about. Yes, I would show him.
There were books, poetry and copious amounts of tea. I quickly settled into the slow rhythm of the land. It’s the people who make a place special. It’s a land of storytellers and music lovers.
I found myself pedalling to the pulse of the waves, listening to the songbirds, cattle lowing and sheep bleating. I heard the Bards whisper their words in the wind. The aroma of sweet coconut drifted from golden whins. Lines from Groove Armada’s ‘If you’re fond of sand dunes and salty air…’ filled my head and I lost count of the long sandy beaches. After a few days, it was clear that I was not showing Dan my beautiful country, it was he who was showing me. We discovered hidden coves unseen from a car and a multitude of tiny harbours and piers. Clouds rolled over Errigal’s pink tinged cone to the table top mountain of Muckish, creating constantly changing shadows and shapes. Each peninsula with a unique offering. Lighthouses, soaring cliffs and shark’s tooth sea stacks reminding us of the wildness and power of the sea. The path we rode was not new, but given a new name – The Wild Atlantic Way.
Bikepacking Route – Wild Atlantic Way Bundoran to Buncrana
You may notice a section where we appear to have cycled across the Ocean in a straight line from An Port to Annagry, alas, neither of us has the ability to fly or indeed pedal across the sea. An Port is where I climbed a Sea Stack and being so exhausted, took a lift to Annagry. This section is magnificent, and shouldn’t be missed, with rocky hills, green glens and beautiful bogs.
A mix of sandy beaches, gravel, grass, bog, stiles, pebbles, a boardwalk and a boat ride.
There is another section where we glide across the water, from Rathmullan to Inch island. We got a lift in a RIB from my friend’s brother, the ferry had been taken out of service due to lack of funds.
There are several posts describing our trip that you can read here.
Bikepacking Route – Wild Atlantic Way – The Inishowen Peninsula
Buncrana to Malin Head, the most northerly point in Ireland and ending in Muff. (Honestly, that is the name of the village). This section of the route was entirely on paved roads.
If you’d like to read a little bit about the trip and look at a few photos, then please take a look at Bikepacking in Ireland.