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Meenataggart, Ulster, Ireland

The Bluestack Way App

Be guided and enchanted over the magnificent hills of South Donegal.

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Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 32 miles / 51 km
Duration: Multiple days
Overview: The Bluestack Way is a 51km national waymarked way through often remote areas of County Donegal with spectacular views as it traverses the Bluestack Mountains. It connects Donegal town with the town of Ardara on the west coast, taking in the town of Glenties on its route following directional yellow arrows and yellow 'walking man' signs familiar to walkers worldwide.

Along the way, the trail passes by Lough Eske, climbs to the secluded Eglish valley and winds its way along the Eanymore river and across the foothills of the Bluestacks to reach an area called Disert, where an ancient holy well and graveyard are worth a visit. West of Disert, the route crosses the Bluestacks range over rough and remote high moorland terrain between Binbane and Cloghmeen Hill before descending along the Owenroe river to reach an old bog road.

This is followed across isolated bogland at Meenawannia to reach Glenties. From Glenties an easy half day walk joins the Owenea river and follows the run of the river, taking the route to its destination in the town of Ardara.

Trail Start: The Diamond, Donegal Town
Trail Finish: The Diamond, Ardara
Length: 65km (incl 14km alternative route)
Total Climb: 1230m
Time to complete: 3-4 days
Type: National Waymarked Way
Format: Linear
Waymarking: Yellow arrows and walking man
Grid Ref: G 929 784
Grid ref: G 736 908
Maps: OSI Discovery Series Sheets 10 and 11

If you're reading this via the Trip Advisor page, you may wish to click on this link: - which allows you to view this as a multimedia app with video, audio, text and pictures - enjoy it as it should be with all of these additions. To listen to the audio on your computer, you will need Adobe Flash Player:

The Bluestack Way App starts on The Diamond in Donegal Town – look out for the sign by the Bank of Ireland for an overview of the Way. Our App is primarily designed to tell you about the lore of the area. We will help guide you along the route with our maps, but please be armed with OS Maps 10 and 11, available from nearby Timony’s Spar Shop & Newsagent by Donegal Castle as well as a compass, a mobile phone, good quality footwear and raingear. We recommend you do a few days preparation and make sure you enjoy a night’s fun in Donegal Town itself the night before your walk begins in earnest. We recommend The Harbour Restaurant (Early Bird menu before 7pm) for good food and The Reel Inn for good trad music. For accommodation, The Water's Edge B&B overlooking Donegal Bay, but still in Donegal Town is highly regarded by walking enthusiasts.

We highly recommend you download the EveryTrail PRO upgraded app to properly enjoy the Bluestack Way.The EveryTrail PRO app allows for offline access - a one off payment of €3.59 that ensures you have access to the maps and audio when you need it out on the Way. EveryTrail PRO can be downloaded onto iPhone or Android devices. That money goes to EveryTrail PRO's makers, not us - our guides are free.

This Bundle contains six guides available on the Bluestack Way App, all available for free - simply click on the 'Download to Phone' link in the top right of this page to get access to the Bundle. The guides in the Bundle are as follows:-

1. The Bluestack Way Part One - Donegal Town to Lough Eske
2. The Bluestack Way Part Two - Lough Eske to Letterfad
3. The Bluestack Way Part Three - Letterfad to Glenties
4. The Bluestack Way Part Three alternative route bypasses the mountain section
5. The Bluestack Way Part Four - Glenties to Ardara
6. We also include our 70 POI complementary guide to County Donegal.

N.B. Each free guide will need to be individually downloaded from there, preferably in a WiFi zone. Once the Bundle is downloaded onto your device, click on the Contents section of the Bundle to see the six guides. To download each guide, simply scroll down and click on the 'Download Options' of each one.

There's quite a lot of audio, so please use good earphones and ensure there is sufficient space on your device for the material and please ensure your mobile phone's battery is fully charged. Not all audio may necessarily tally with the text at times, but with any luck, will at least provide some interesting information on another facet of the area's culture. The YouTube video pieces work best when used in a WiFi zone.

Special thanks goes to Mark Flagler of Flagler Films for the use of his stunning Bluestacks photography throughout - see the link for more of his work.

Considerable material has been used from 'The Bluestack Way', 'The Rich Heritage of Walking in the Bluestacks' and the Patrick Campbell books. Full acknowledgement and gratitude is hereby made to the respective copyright holders, The Bluestack Environmental Group, Patsy McNulty and the Literary Estate of Patrick Campbell Deceased.

This App was produced by the navigatour® GPS services division of Racontour Productions Limited for Donegal Walkers Welcome with the aid of funding from The Heritage Council under its Heritage Education, Community & Outreach Scheme, 2012 Project Ref Number E02991.

Dedicated to Johnny Ward, 1927-2012. Johnny was no walker, but he knew and worked in every townland from Donegal Town to Ardara over 60 years. Go n-éirí an bóthar leat.

We provide a fair amount of information on archaeological sites along the way, but the definitive website for locating every single site in the area is at which is included in our links on the right hand column.

THANKS TO: The Heritage Council, Donegal Walkers Welcome, Patsy McNulty, Inga Bock, Máiread de Faoite, Paddy Meehan, John McGroary, Bradas McDyer, Mark Flagler, Rosemary Ward and the Committee and Staff of the Bluestack Centre, Alex and Moya Reid, John Burke, Neil Fox, Seoirse O'Dochartaigh, Richard Cave, Northern Regional Fisheries Board, 'Folksy' Gerry Meehan, Anne, Michael and Fergal Gallagher, Adrian Hendroff, Helen Meehan, Dan Gallagher, Frank and Esther Harvey, Francis Houston, Bart Whelan, Breesy Willow, Seumas Gildea, Michael 'Postie Weatherman' Gallagher, Patrick Campbell, Zack Gallagher and Charlie Doherty.

'The Bluestack Way - a walking guide through the Bluestack Mountains of South Donegal' compiled by the Bluestack Environmental Group, Smurfit Print with special credit to Michael J. Flowerdew of U.C.D for the geology data.
'The Rich Heritage of Walking in the Bluestacks' by Patsy McNulty
Mark Flagler of Flagler Films for photography along The Bluestack Way
'Rambles around Donegal' by Patrick Campbell, Mercier Press
'From Silent Glens to Noisy Streets' by Patrick Campbell, Mercier Press
'An Leabhar Feasa Iml. 2 Dinnseanchas na gCruacha' by Seoirse O'Dochartaigh
An Leabhar Feasa Iml. 5 Ceol na gCruacha Theas' by Seoirse O'Dochartaigh
'Tales from the Blue Stacks' by Robert Bernen, Poolbeg Press
'The Hills: More Takes from the Blue Stacks' by Robert Bernen, Hamish Hamilton
"Traditional Weather Signs' by Michael Gallagher, Browne Printers
'Drimarone Schools Reunion' ed. Peter Campbell, DLDC
'Donegal, Sligo & Leitrim, Mountain & Coastal Hillwalks' by Adrian Hendroff, Collins Press
'Donegal, Past and Present' by Joe McGarrigle, Donegal Democrat publishing
'The Sands of Time - a history of Donegal Town and its environs' by Malachy Sweeney, Tirhugh Press
'Walking through Time...linking the natural and cultural landscape' by Drimarone Development Ltd/Western Development Tourism Programme
'The Homes of Donegal' edited by Sean McMahon, Mercier Press
The poetry of Patrick MacGill, John Boyd, Francis Harvey, William Allingham, Patrick McGrory, Eithne Carbery, Seumas McManus, T.D. McGee, M.J. McCann and Patrick Ramsey.
'The Cliff Scenery of South-Western Donegal' by Kinnfeala, Four Masters Press
'The Secret Places of Donegal' by John M.Feehan, Mercier Press
'Donegal Fairy Stories' collected and told by Seumas MacManus, Dover Publications, Inc.
'Irish Whitewater - a guide to Irish Whitewater rivers & surf' by Seamus MacGearailt and published by Brendan Proctor

Have a great time - we wish you safe walking, good weather and an abundance of happy memories. Spread the word if you liked what you saw and heard and don't be afraid to give us feedback if you did enjoy it - there's a star button at the top that rates the App.

John Ward
navigatour- seek and enjoy®
Guided walks & drives apps
November 2012

Tips: Full services available in Donegal Town, Glenties and Ardara - for public transport to start/finish points, please check with Bus Eireann on +353749121309, Bus Feda +353749548114, McGeehan Coaches +353749546150 as well as individual providers.

While out walking in the Irish countryside remember you are walking in areas where people live and work. We also share the countryside with much wildlife. The following are a number of important recommendations to abide by when out walking: -

Respect the people who live and work in the Bluestacks countryside. Respect private property, farmland and all rural environments. Do not interfere with livestock, machinery and crops.
Respect and, where possible protect all wildlife, plants and trees.
When walking, use the approved routes and keep as closely as possible to them.
Take special care when walking on country roads.
Leave all gates as you find them and do not interfere with or damage any gates, fences, walls or hedges.
Do not enter farmland if you have dogs with you, even on a leash, unless with the permission of the landowner. Please note, the Bluestack Way is NOT intended for dogs.
Guard against all risks of fire, especially near forests.
Always keep children closely supervised while on a walk. Please note, the Bluestack Way is NOT intended for children.
Do not walk the Way in large groups and always maintain a low profile.
Take all litter home - leaving only footprints behind.
Keep the number of cars used to a minimum and park carefully to avoid blocking farm gateways or narrow roads.
Minimise impact on fragile vegetation and soft ground.
Take heed of warning signs - they are there for your protection.
Report any problems encountered along the route with markers, signage, stiles or any other comments to the NWWAC/ISC office or call Inga Bock, Rural Recreation Officer for Donegal on +353(0)879318077

PLEASE NOTE: This App is primarily intended as a means of enjoying the lore and history of the area. While it follows the route of the Way via GPS, it should be used as a supplement to, not a replacement for, proper map and compass reading. Full advance preparation should be made of the route with Ordinance Survey maps that should be taken with you together with proper equipment, apparel and sustenance. We can recommend the following professional guides: Patsy McNulty +353(0)877941234 (for Parts One and Two), Brendan Proctor (for Parts Three and Three Alternative) +353(0)863373031 and Bradas McDyer (for Part Four) +353(0)863530537. This Bundle and each of its associated guides is subject to acceptance of the navigatour™ Licence Agreement whose link can be found on the right hand column of this page. Please inform navigatour™ of any changes or improvements that can be made to this App in the future:
Guides in this Bundle
Donegal Guide
Donegal Guide
County Donegal, Ulster, Ireland
Easy: Multiple days
Your essential guide to Ireland's most beautiful county with 70 of its best locations.
The Bluestack Way Part 1
The Bluestack Way Part 1
Limestone Brook Bridge, Ulster, Ireland
Easy: 4.1 miles, Half day
From Donegal Town, meander along the river to the famous Lough Eske.
The Bluestack Way Part 2
The Bluestack Way Part 2
Limestone Brook Bridge, Ulster, Ireland
Moderate: 10.0 miles, Full day
Enter the heart of the Bluestacks from Lough Eske to Letterfad via the Eglish valley.
The Bluestack Way Part 3
The Bluestack Way Part 3
Tullynaglack, Ulster, Ireland
Moderate: 9.9 miles, Full day
Up over the Bluestacks from Letterfad down into the gem that is Glenties.
The Bluestack Way Part 3 - alternative route
The Bluestack Way Part 3 - alternative route
Tullynaglack, Ulster, Ireland
Easy: 8.3 miles, Full day
In the event of poor weather, take this safer route to avoid the mountain.
The Bluestack Way Part 4
The Bluestack Way Part 4
Ardara, Ulster, Ireland
Easy: 7.5 miles, 1-3 hours
The final stretch takes us along the fish-rich Owenea river to Ardara.

Pictures in this guide taken by: navigatourist

Pictures: 2009-2012, © Mark Flagler, Flagler Films

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