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The Bluestack Way Part 4

The final stretch takes us along the fish-rich Owenea river to Ardara.

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Difficulty: Easy
Length: 7.5 miles
Duration: 1-3 hours

Overview :  The final stretch of the Way is relatively flat, largely following the path of the Owenea river from Glenties to Ardara, two of the... more »

Tips:  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... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Leaving Ballybeg

Just as Gar had to leave Ballybeg in 'Philadelphia Here I Come', we must leave the beautiful town of Glenties to complete the Way. With any luck you'll be back for the MacGill festival, the Harvest Fair or just to base yourself for a future visit.

The starting point of Day Four is opposite the Limelight nightclub up Main Street and is of course... More

2. Gorse

Following the walk approx. 3km from Glenties, the roadway is flanked by gorse or whin bushes with their bright yellow flowers. In May and June, when the blooms are most prolific, you will find colonies of a little known Irish butterfly - the Green Hairstreak. A careful look along these Gorse Hedges by the roadside will often produce good numbers... More

3. View of the mountains

To those of you who are looking hungrily at the imposing mountains across the way, the good news is that there is a highly regarded waymarked walk called Sli Cholmcille that takes in the mountains to the left - Mulnanaff, Crocknapeast and Common Mountain (the horse shoe) going down to the base of Glengesh before taking on the beasts that are... More

4. Metal bridge

From this laneway, the route turns left into a field and goes directly to the riverbank. Follow the waymarkers carefully along the river, crossing many bridges and walkways as you head towards Ardara. Some of the bridges were built to facillitate anglers using the river, but most were built for workers at the nearby Bord na Mona peat extraction... More

5. What the river can tell us

According to Michael Gallagher, the river in all its moods, was a very accurate forecaster of weather conditions; the sounds of a flood being heard from upstream when the river was low, meant a flood in the near future that was known as “Tuile Bhreige’ or false flood. The colour of the water was also a guideline – black and murky water with froth ... More

6. Owenea fishing

The Owenea River runs for some 13 miles, draining Lough Ea in the west of the Croaghs, into Loughrosmore Bay at Ardara. The Owenea is primarily a spate river taking around one to two days to run off after a good flood. The season on the Owenea runs from 1 April to 30 September.

The Owenea is one of the best salmon rivers in the county. The river ... More

7. The Irish Storyteller - an seanchai

Local writer Seumas MacManus collected and told of the gentle people in his book, 'Donegal Fairy Stories'. Writing on Old Lammas Day from Donegal town in 1900, his preface starts:- 'tales as old as the curlew's call are today listened to around the hearths of Donegal with the same keen and credulous eagerness with which they were hearkened to... More

8. Fairy lore

Fairy lore is prevalent in Donegal, albeit not to the same extent it was over 100 years ago, which some sceptics tie in with the development of modern technology to entertain us and the diminishing of native poteen making and of tales spun around to keep people away from certain places with a well placed fairytale.

There are stories right... More

9. Back to the bog

The Bluestack Way makes its final river crossing at 'Iron Bridge' in the townland of Glenconwal. Take a final look at the panoramic views over Loughros Mor Bay and the rising mountians of Meenacurrin and Slievetooey in the distance.

Just by the bay is a place known far and wide as Kentucky - Bart Whelan tells us why in the audio piece.

10. Owenea Bridge standing stone

Upon getting onto the R261, you may wish to turn right and view the nearby Owenea Standing Stone, a massive block some 3.5 metres high in a scraggy field behind a ruin. Folklore says that Fionn McCumhaill threw this shoulder stone from “Clo na Cleire Mountain” and it landed here. When you get to the brown sign on the right saying Owenea river,... More

11. T-junction

You'll be taking a left at the T-junction to bring you into the last stop of Ardara.
On leaving the river, the route makes its way to the main Ardara to Narin/Portnoo road, the R261. At this road, you turn left to make the final kilometre of the Bluestack Way into the village of Ardara - well done and here's hoping you've made it to the... More

12. Ring fort

The end of the Bluestack Way is at Ardara on the Atlantic coast on Loughros Bay. Ardara - Ard an Ratha (pronounced 'Ardra') means Hill of the Fort, named after the large ringfort situated above and overlooking the village. Located behind the national school at the top of the town, the ringfort is approx. 28km in diametre and enclosed by an earthen... More

13. Heritage town

The capital of festivals not just in Donegal, but possibly Ireland? We're not going to list out all of the festivals here - you'll know of the Cup of Tae festival and maybe the Walking festival, but rarely is there a week that goes by in the Spring and Summer that there isn't some sort of celebration in the town. Not a bad way to pass time!

The... More