Donegal Town is fortunate to have a 'walk in the country' so near the middle of town in the form of the bank walk. It's the perfect... more » early evening stroll prior to a meal - a mile to the end and a mile back. If you'd like to make it a loop rather than a straight back track, you can carry on right after the second flora and fauna sign and come onto the Killybegs roads.
This Guide is one of the twelve guides available on the 'Donegal Town Guides', all available for free in one click of that bundled guide - simply click on the link to the Donegal Town Guides to get all twelve. You'll need to download each guide individually.
The ex Mayor of Donegal Town, Tom Conaghan, was behind an initiative to upgrade the walk and it is now that little bit safer and has nice touches like bird boxes and signs on the tress to tell you what they are. Please note that the various signs for the trees all seem to be very high up, but they are there when last checked. You may wish to have some fun with your young ones by seeing how many signs and bird boxes they can spot along the way. New secure fencing as of November 2011 ensures that the more precarious precipices are no longer an issue for concerned parents.
On the other side of the river bank, you'll see (and hear) the landmark that is the Abbey hotel, the original old pier and quays, scene of the August food festival, the must-do waterbus, the historic old abbey as well as seeing the various isles of the bay - St. Ernan's, Belle's isle and the Green island with Murvagh golf club and the plateau of Ben Bulben in the distance.
This is a very special stroll that generations of Donegal folk, both young and old, have savoured and conjured up their very own Narnia in. We feel slightly guilty in passing on this town 'secret', but like any good secret, it needs a wider audience. Donegal Town writer, James Henderson, would have been one such child who marveled at this walk at the head of the bay. He had these words to say about it: -
'Cold is the heart of him whose gaze,
Can meet the scene of early days,
And view unmoved the places where,
With spirits buoyant as the air,
His hopeful days of youth were passed,
Ere life's dull care their shadows cast,
Across his path to cool his zeal,
And force his thoughts to things more real'.
'The Head of the Bay' - James Henderson less «