Rosguill Peninsula to Lisfannon
This Wild Atlantic Way route from the Rosguill Peninsula to Lisfannon Beach follows the Wild Atlantic Way along three Peninsulas; Rosguill, Fanad and Inishowen. The route travels along the impressive Lough Swilly that once protected the British Naval fleet before WWI.
There are a few Wild Atlantic Way Discovery Points along this route including Island Roy, Balyhiernan Bay, Fanad Head lighthouse, Ballymastocker View and Lisfannon Beach, amongst others.
Ballymastocker has one of the best beach views along the Wild Atlantic Way and is located on this Rosguill Peninsula to Lisfannon route.
If you wish you can shorten the trip by taking the ferry across from Rathmullen to Buncrana, but you will miss out on Letterkenny if you do.
Do some bird watching along Lough Swilly’s banks or on Inch Island.
Or watch the waves crash into the shore at the impressive Fanad Head lighthouse and look for rainbows.
Wild Atlantic Way Route Map Donegal
Approx. 119 kms distance, 2 hrs 17 minutes driving time
Download the route map to your phone with ALL the points of interest included here: Rosguill Peninsula to Lisfannon.
Rosguill Peninsula Donegal
Rosguill or (Ros Goill) is a Discovery Point with spectacular views over the ocean.
Island Roy (Oilean Ruaidh, red Island) (originally known as Oileán an Bhráighe, meaning Island of the Prisoners) is a small island linked to the mainland via a causeway that was built in 1927.
In older times kids would cross the gap on stilts to get to school. Not a particularly notable Discovery point compared to others along the WAW, in my humble opinion.
From Island Roy View Point you can look back to Island Roy and also to the Harry Blaney Bridge that links the Fanad and Rossguill Peninsulas. The Harry Blaney Bridge is the longest bridge in Donegal.
The Discovery point of Ballyhiernan Bay (bá Bhaile Uí Thiarnáin) on the Fanad Peninsula, is a long sandy beach. The beach stretches for about 2,5km and is backed by dunes. There is car parking available. The beach is popular with surfers.
The iconic Fanad Head (Cionn Fhánada) lighthouse is one of the 70 odd lighthouses around the Irish coastline that are run by the Commissioners of Irish Lights as required by SOLAS.
The present lighthouse dates back to 1886, but the first one was lit in 1817.
At the entrance to Lough Swilly Fanad lighthouse fulfilled an important strategic location, as the Allied fleet was based in the Lough during WWI.
The wreck of HMA Laurentic lies off this coast after being hit by a German u-boat in 1917 when it was carrying gold bullion to pay the USA and Canada for their help in WWI. Most of the gold has been recovered.
I stayed for one night in this very nice campsite with excellent amenities.
The campsite has a little shop and great showers and toilets. The pitches were also very comfortable with good electric hookups.
It is close to Ballymastocker Beach which is outstandingly beautiful.
Ballymastocker Beach, also known as Portsalon Beach is another wonderful Donegal Beach with spectacular views of the mountains opposite.
There are lifeguards in the summer months and it is a Blue Flag beach.
The view of the beach from Ballymastocker View is one of the best views I came across during my trips along the WAW. It is really quite beautiful, as is the drive that takes you South of the beach.
One of the most spectacular views along the WAW. Don’t take my word for it – go and see it yourself. It is a lovely drive as well climbing this hill away from the beach.
At this pier, you can get a ferry across Lough Swilly to Buncrana on the Inishowen Peninsula during the summer months. The drive is about an hour by road so it can save you some time if the timing is right.
I spoke with a very friendly lady in the snack van next to the pier here who told me about the Swilly Ferry.
Once part of the Letterkenny Workhouse, this building now houses the County Museum. With free admission, there are many artefacts relating to the history of Donegal.
Manorcunningham View is a great place to stop for a snack or a rest. There is a food van there with all sorts of goodies and some picnic tables to sit at.
You do have to climb up on the wall a bit though, to actually see the view.
If you are lucky you may spot swans and geese around here as they winter in Lough Swilly. You may also see herons, ducks, oystercatchers, lapwings and curlews here.
Inch Island (An Inse or An Inis) is an Island halfway down Lough Swilly. The island connects to the mainland via a causeway (Inch Banks).
The island is great for birdwatching with many geese and swans visiting Lough Swilly.
There are signposts for Inch Wildfowl Reserve as you cross the causeway. There are car parks and viewpoints available as well as an 8km looped walk.
This small pier is hidden away on the North side of the island. There is a small sandy cove which is popular for swimming. Beware there are only a couple of parking spaces and the road is very narrow and steep at the end.
The road is NOT suitable for camper vans. Next to the pier, there is a Fort that was built in 1812, but it is on private land.
Lisfannon Beach on the Inishowen Peninsula is another popular swimming spot. Looking across to Rathmullan, with Inch Island to the South.
Well protected the beach does have lifeguards in the summer months.
The North West Golf Club is nearby.
The information board tells of John Newton, a slave trader, whose ship Greyhound nearly sank in a storm in 1784. He prayed for mercy and when he limped into Lough Swilly he changed his direction and became a Church of England priest. He wrote some now famous hymns such as : ‘Glorious things of thee are spoken’, ‘Amazing Grace’ and ‘How sweet the name of Jesus sounds’.
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Last Updated on October 13, 2023 by Gav