If you google “Donegal Highlands,” you’ll probably discover a website about a golf course west of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. This post isn’t about that. It’s about the short scenic route between Carrigart and Letterkenny in County Donegal that takes you through some lovely mountainous terrain.
Driving route R245 southwest from Carrigart, you will reach a fork in the road. Take the left road to Glen which puts you on route L1192. Stay on L1192 past Glen and the road rises in altitude and parallels the great body of water known as Glen Lough. The village of Carrigart and Sheephaven Bay are visible from these heights, as well as the two major mountains of the Derryveagh chain in central Donegal, Muckish Mountain and Mount Errigal. There are many taller mountains in Ireland but these are Donegal’s own.
Muckish Mountain (meaning “the pig’s back“) is a distinctive flat topped mountain that can be seen from all over in the area north of Letterkenny. At times, clouds can be seen rolling down the sides of the mountain. It is 2,185 feet (666 metres) in height.
In the distance, Mount Errigal (meaning “oratory”) is visible with its distinctive sides of quartzite. It is the tallest mountain in Donegal at 2,464 feet (751 metres).
Both Muckish and Errigal are popular for hiking and climbing.
Several fields of bog are located here in the mountains where turf is cut, dried, and bagged.
Next, one comes to the lovely Lough Reelan, a jewel of a lake cupped in the highlands. A little farther, there is Lough Salt.
Lough Salt is about a mile long with a depth of about 270 feet, making it the deepest lake in Ireland. It is located at the foot of Lough Salt Mountain which rises 700 feet above it. The lough itself is at 840 feet above sea level. Some believe that the lough is in the crater of an extinct volcano. It is the highest lake in Donegal, and it supplies water to the City of Letterkenny. The name comes from the Irish, “Lough agus Alt” meaning “lake and cliff.”
Past Lough Salt, you have a choice of turning right on L5542 which goes to N56 (the main road to Letterkenny) at Termon, or continuing on L1192 (not recommended) to N56 at Kilmacrenan.
For information about hiking and climbing in the Donegal highlands, visit: