Glengesh Pass: A Mad And Magical Road Through The Mountains In Donegal

Roads like the one at Glengesh Pass in Donegal make Ireland an absolute joy to explore.

It doesn’t matter if you’re batin’ along on a bike, sitting snugly inside a warm car or sauntering along on foot, there’s just something immensely special about making your way down around the bends at Glengesh.

Arguably one of the more unique places to visit in Donegal, Glengesh is one of several stops along a very scenic looped drive in the area (info below).

If you’ve yet to experience this corner of Donegal for yourself, you’re in for a treat.

1. Location

Glengesh Pass is a stretch of very bendy road that connects Glencolmcille to Ardara. It’s a 10-minute drive from Ardara Village and a 25-minute drive from Glencolmcille.
2. Where to start

In theory, you can start the drive/cycle from either way, but it’s more impressive if you drive down into the valley (we’ve mapped this out for you below).
3. Parking

There’s a tiny bit of parking at the top if the pass, if you’re coming from the Glencolmcille side (here on Google Maps). There’s also a little coffee cart here, at times, where you can grab a quick pick-me-up.
4. Safety

As you can see from the photos above and below, the road at Glengesh Pass is narrow and extremely bendy, so please SLOW DOWN if you’re driving and keep an eye out for walkers and cyclists.
About Glengesh Pass

Glengesh (which means ‘Glen of the Swans’) is a high mountain pass that cuts through the Glengesh and Mulmosog mountains and links the towns of Ardara and Glencolumbkille.

Often referred to as the ‘Donegal Pass’, the road at Glengesh snakes through the valley and provides a very unique experience, regardless of whether you’re driving or on foot.

Although this is a popular spot for tourists, I’ve yet to arrive here when there were more than 5 or 6 other people admiring the view. So (hopefully) you’ll arrive and have the whole place to yourself.

Over the course of your spin, you’ll encounter quiet open countryside, plenty of green fields, narrowish roads and sheep… lots and lots of sheep.
Things to do at Glengesh Pass

Although many people pay a fleeting visit to the Donegal Pass, there’s a plenty to see and do around it.

Below, you’ll find some suggestions (just keep in mind that many of the photos above and below are from drones!).
1. Soak up the views from above, first
Glengesh viewing point

The Glengesh viewing point (here on Google Maps) is one of the most notable discovery points along this section of the Wild Atlantic Way.

You’ll find it on the Glencolmcille side of the Donegal Pass and there’s room for 7 or so cars, once people have parked properly.

Pull in here and soak up the views of the valley laid out in front of you. There’s another tiny spot to pull in (here on Google Maps) just before you arrive at the first bend.
2. Then (slowly) meander along the bendy road
gelngesh pass donegal

After you leave the main viewing point, it’s time to slowly make your descent into the valley. Now, the road here is narrow, but not majorly so.

You will, however, need to be very cautious when taking the bends as they’re extremely tight, so take your time and drive safely.

Keep following the road through the valley and you’ll have the option to continue onto the scenic loop.

here’s a nice looped drive that you can head off on from Glengesh that takes you to many of the more popular attractions in the area.

When you leave Glengesh, follow the road around to Assaranca Waterfall. From here, you have Maghera Beach, Glencolumbkille Folk Village, Malin Beg and more (see map above) close by.