The Slieve League Cliffs (Gaelic: Sliabh Liag), situated on the southwest coast of County Donegal, are among the highest and most spectacular marine cliffs in Europe. While a far less popular destination for tourists than the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, the cliffs of Slieve League – towering 1,998 feet (609 meters) above the swirling waters of the Atlantic – are nearly three times higher! [and in my opinion, every bit as lovely!]
I visited the cliffs (unfortunately sans T., who was working) with my parents, brother and sister-in-law on a whirlwind trip through the Republic of Ireland in August 2012. After spending a restful night at a lovely hostel in the nearby parish of Gleann Cholm Cille, we drove the short distance to the small village of Teelin, following a narrow and winding six kilometer road to the vista point at Bunglass. We parked here, in a small car park surprisingly devoid of other automobiles, and explored the cliff’s edge on foot. The views were absolutely breathtaking, extending across Donegal Bay to the mountains of Sligo and Mayo. I was absolutely giddy with excitement to find the cliff tops carpeted in heather, its soft pink and purple hues a stunning contrast to the emerald green slopes. It was everything I had ever dreamed of seeing and experiencing on the Irish coast: fluffy sheep and their lambs grazed along ancient stone fences, sea birds screeched loudly from their nests on the cliffside, and foaming surf crashed thunderously against the sheer granite precipice. I’ve been itching to go back ever since!
The small structure on the horizon in the following photographs is an abandoned lookout tower, built and utilized during the Napoleonic Wars to identify French ships. Although we didn’t venture out to it during our visit, it can be reached by sure-footed and clear-headed hikers via a narrow path along the cliff’s edge.
The remaining photographs, taken from the viewing platform at Bunglass Point, show the tallest portion of the Sliabh Liag. I wanted so badly to hike along the traverse of the ridge on the famed “One Man’s Path”, but didn’t have the time during this visit. A perfect reason to return!
Thank you for viewing! – B. June
Next week’s journey: Mission San Juan Capistrano – California, USA