Free guides for independent cycle tours and day-trips.
This tour heads north from Ardara and follows the beautiful Santa Ana Drive, named after a ship from the Spanish Armada which was wrecked there in 1588. The route goes through some fantastic scenery on a narrow road that winds up, down and around the landscape before returning to Ardara and crossing the hills and riding down into Donegal.
Climb 61m Descend 63m
Head north from Ardara Main Street. Go up the hill and past the church, and when the N56 turns right, take the left turn on the R261 signed Nairn and Portnoo to go straight ahead. After 6.0km, take the first left turn since leaving the town on the L7713, signed Rossbeg.
This road goes up and down several short rises. After 3.8km, this road turns sharply left by a stone wall. Ignore the road straight ahead and keep left. You soon see Kiltooris Lough on your right.
The Nesbitt Arms has 50 rooms and is in the centre of Ardara. 074 954 1103
Abbey Lodge B&B is on the main road at the top of the hill on the other side of Ardara. 074 954 1286
Climb 110m Descend 87m
Stay on this road as it loops around to the right. After passing the lake you go through Rosbeg, which has a fine beach. The road then turns north. You pass a shrine and follow it all the way to Portnoo, which you reach after leaving the coast for a short spell. When you see a wide beach ahead of you, you are on the edge of the village.
Climb 117m Descend 110m
Portnoo adjoins Naran and the road goes through them both. Turn left when you reach the t-junction with the R261 on the other side of Naran. After 4.5km you reach a t-junction with the N56, where you turn right, following the sign for Ardara.
A few metres later, take the first right turn. Keep straight on this road for 7.3km through some very remote countryside and it will bring you to a t-junction on the R261 which you passed earlier on the trip. Turn left and cycle into Ardara. When you reach the t-junction with the N56, go straight down the hill and into the town.
The Lakee House is on your left just after you join the R261. 074 954 5444
Climb 192m Descend 141m
At The Diamond – the small square in the centre of Ardara by The Nesbitt Arms, turn left along a narrow lane. Ignore the road that goes uphill. The road soon bends left and leaves town. Stay on the road as it goes gradually uphill and goes along a plateu with great views. You pass numerous turnoffs. 9.9km after leaving the town, the road bends left, then right.
After a 1.1km straight you ride next to a wood. You pass a track on your left and then see a sign for a crossroads. Take the left turn, which goes slightly downhill. After 2.4km down this hill, turn left when you reach the t-junction. Keep straight on this for 2.1km and you reach Meenagran Junction. Turn right on the wide R262.
Climb 120m Descend 174m
Take the first left turn, down a narrow road, and then the first right. You climb a little and then go down to a t-junction. Turn left and ignore the immediate left turn. Follow the main road around the bend to the right and keep going.
You soon reach a t-junction at Letterbarra Church, where you turn right, signed Letterbarra. You shortly reach another t-junction. Turn right, following the sign for Blue Stack Drive. Then you take the first left and soon you have a short climb.
Ignore all turnoffs after you reach the top and descend into Donegal Town. When you reach a roundabout at the edge of the town, take the second exit and this road will soon take you to The Diamond in the centre.
The Central Hotel is on The Diamond in Donegal Town. 074 972 1027
The Abbey Hotel is on The Diamond in Donegal Town. 074 972 1014