Cycle Donegal – Malinmore – Ardara Directions
0 to 10km
From The Diamond in the centre of Donegal, head north and follow the sign for Killybegs. This road crosses the river and quickly leaves town. When you reach a roundabout, turn left on the N56 and follow it [5km marker] all the way to Mountcharles.
There is a decent shoulder and it is the only practical option. You climb a long hill past a service station and then take the next left.
Ignore the immediate right and take the next one – a narrow road up a short rise. This soon brings you to a crossroads with the main road. Turn left down the narrow road.
This quiet road gets you off the main road for a while. Go through a crossroads and then turn right at a t-junction, by a stone hut.
10 – 20km
Stay on this wider road for 2.2km and you return to the N56 at a t-junction, where you turn left. Cross the bridge, and immediately go left at the very narrow turn. It is easy to miss on the descent.
The road surface improves, and after 2.5km you take the second right turn [15km marker] and soon return to the N56 at a crossroads. Turn left again. It is 6.5km, passing through Dunkineely, on the main road to Bruckless.
20 – 30km
Continue on the main road to Bruckless. Turn left when you reach the church and round tower in the village.
Go down this hill and turn right at the bottom, then keep left at the t-junction you soon reach. Stay on this road as it goes around a hill, [25km marker] ignoring a left turn which goes down a steep hill.
Then you ride along the water opposite Killybegs, with lovely views. When you fnally reach a t-junction after going down a steep hill and over a very narrow bridge, turn left on the R263 and cycle into Killybegs.
30 – 40km
Stay on the main road as it goes through Killybegs. On the other side [35km marker], 4km after leaving the village, the road bends sharply right, then left as you climb a hill. Take the next left turn, 1.4km after this, which appears to lead down to the sea at a fork.
Keep straight on this spectacular, narrow road as it goes up and down along the coast.
40 – 50km
After 6.5km you reach Kilcar, where you go down a very narrow lane to a crossroads. Go straight through it, and you go up a hill [45km marker]. When you reach the t-junction with the R263, turn left.
Follow the R263 up a hill and down the other side to Carrick.
After crossing the stone bridge go up the main street and take the first left, signed Slieve League.
50 – 60km
Note the first right turn, as you will take this on your return, but for now you go straight ahead all the way. It is 6.2km to the cliffs, the last 4 of which are uphill. After 2.7km, you turn right in the village of Lergadaghtan (there are several houses at the turnoff), follow the sign for Bunglas – Slieve League. Climb up to [55km marker] the viewing point.
Return the way you came, turning left at the t-junction in Lergadaghtan.
60 – 70km
Then take the left turn you noted near Carndonagh, which you reach soon after crossing a small stone bridge. This will take you to the R263, where you turn left. If you miss it, just turn left at Carrick.
You go gradually uphill for 3.1km and then take the first left [65km marker] signed Malainn Mhoir. This road takes you all the way there, past Lough Auva.
70 – 80km
Turn right, signed Gleann Cholm Cille, when you reach the crossroads at Malin More.
You are back on the R263, and travel along a beautiful section of coast road [75km marker] to the valley of Glencolumbkille. Turn left at the t-junction you reach soon after leaving the shore. It is signed Ardara.
Keep left after you cross a narrow bridge and then turn right at the t-junction you reach soon after. 1.5km later you cross a stone bridge. Take the right turn, signed Ardara, immediately after it.
80 – 90km
You have a climb and a descent down to Meenaneary after. Turn left when you reach the t-junction [85km marker] at the bottom. Then take the first left a few metres later.
You now face a climb with a 150m rise. Keep straight all the way to the top and enjoy the twisty descent on the other side. Turn right on the narrow road at the t-junction at the bottom.
90 – 100km
Then take the next right 2.7km later. You will stay on narrow roads [95km marker] until you reach the other side of the Glengesh Pass. Take the next left turn, 5.4km later, to start the climb to the pass. It’s a short, steep climb to the top, but being one of the most famous passes in the country, it’s worth it. Go over the top.
100 – 107km
On the picturesque descent you pass through a gap between two hills and then descend down the valley. You then have a flat run [105km marker] for several kilometres, part of it beside the coast, until you reach a t-juncton with the N56. Turn left and cycle the 1.6km into Ardara.