Slieve League Cliffs, County Donegal

Standing at the top of the magnificent Slieve League Cliffs, it feels like you’re at the very edge of the world

Impressive Slieve League cliffs, Co Donegal
Impressive Slieve League cliffs, Co Donegal

Cliff culture

Swooping down from the mountain of Slieve League, these towering precipes are among the highest sea cliffs in Europe. From the crowning point on the cliffs, it’s a staggering 609 metre (1,998 feet) drop into the swirling Atlantic Ocean below.

Before you come to the cliffs themselves, you’ll come across the Slieve League Cliffs Centre. With a friendly  local atmosphere, this family-run and award-winning spot is packed full of local history and culture. The craft shop stocks locally made knitwear and artworks and, come summertime, you can even catch a traditional Irish music session.

If you book a guided walk or hike of the cliffs, you’ll be spirited away with insights into the local wildlife and spectacular geography, with a few local anecdotes thrown in for good measure. Take our advice and grab a bite to eat at the Tí Linn Café before you go – it'll set you up for the bracing walk ahead!

Journey to the edge and back

From the Cliffs Centre, you can drive right up to the main viewing area of the cliffs or, if you’re among the faint-hearted, use the car-park on the way and walk the rest. The Slieve League Cliffs are nearly three times the height of their County Clare sisters, the Cliffs of Moher, so take care when treading those coastal paths.

From the designated viewing points, an astounding panorama opens up before you. The cliffs stretch towards the horizon and on a clear day you can see right across to Sligo and Leitrim and all the way to the mountains of the Mayo coast. To reach the highest point of Slieve League, you must take a narrow pathway to One Man’s Pass. Experienced walkers only should venture beyond the viewing point up onto One Man's Pass, which loops around onto the Pilgrim's Path. For a gentler route, take the pathway from Bunglas to Malinbeg.

History across the cliffs

Remarkably ,on the high slopes of Slieve League there are remains of an early Christian monastic site, with chapel and beehive huts. There are also ancient stone remains that suggest that the mountain was a site of pilgrimage before the arrival of Christianity. At Carrigan Head, on the way to the main viewing area, you can see a Signal Tower built in the early years of the 19th century to watch for a possible French invasion. Close to the viewing area you can see stones, which marked out the word ‘Éire’ as a navigation aid for aircraft during WWII. 

Leaving you speechless

Words fail to capture the majesty and sheer scale of the cliffs. With twirling seabirds flying overhead and nothing but crisp blue ocean before you, it feels like you’re at the very edge of the world. With a new-found sense of awe, you’re ready to get back onto your Wild Atlantic Way adventure.

Geographical coordinates: Latitude 54.627438; longitude -8.6847138 (note, if you use your car’s GPS to go directly to this point, you may not always remain on the Wild Atlantic Way route.)

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