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Walking & Cycling Routes

The Mulroy Drive Walking and Cycling routes are based on a series of ‘back roads’ that lead on to the main Mulroy Drive. The local historical and scenic points are on the routes listed below.

There is no shortage of beautiful routes to while away an hour or two meandering along the shores of the Mulroy, taking in the history and folklore of the surrounding area.

Moross Castle Walk

Moross Castle can be accessed by following the L10921 road at Ballina, which is halfway between Rossnakill and Tamney. As the road is quite narrow, parking at Ballina is recommended and follow the road on foot or cycle, a distance of just over a mile.

The McSweeneys/Mac Suibhne clan are one of Ireland’s oldest and best known clans. They came to Ireland from Scotland after the Battle of Bannockburn in the fourteenth century. While in Scotland, the Mac Suibhne clan were inaugurated in Iona by the successor of Saint Colmcille. This custom continued in Ireland where they were inaugurated at Doon Rock near Kilmacrennan. This site is near the birthplace of Saint Colmcille.

Moross Castle was built in 1532 by Turlogh Mac Suibhne. His father, Ruaidhri, had previously built a Castle in Rathmullan in 1516, although nothing remains of that Castle now. Ruaidhri’s wife, Maire, built a Carmelite Priory in Rathmullan, the ruins of this building can still be seen today.

Looking across the bay from the Castle are splendid views of Umricam, Doocarrick, (where it is believed Turlogh Mac Suibhne fought a battle against one of the clan, Domhnall Mac Suibhne, the latter being victorious), Milltown and Lower Ballyheerin; and the two islands known locally as The Big Isle and The Wee Isle.

Unfortunately, very little remains of Moross Castle, but what can be seen is a reminder of the power held by the Mac Suibhne clan, and importance of this site on Mulroy Bay.

‘Winding Mulroy Bay’ written by Master Hugh Friel makes reference to Moross Castle:

‘My little boat I put to float from Ballyheerin Quay,
Upon my way that sunny day these beauties all to see,
On my right hand, quite near the strand, stood a Castle, ruined and grey, The home of great McSweeney, on the winding Mulroy Bay.

This Castle old, as we are told, was built long years ago,
And fostered there, with love and care, was Hugh O’Donnell Roe, In forty nine, that cruel time, when Cromwell came our way,
Was battered down, that fort renowned, on winding Mulroy Bay.’

Milford

Milford is the main service town on the Mulroy Drive, and one of the main centres of population in the area. There are a number of sites of interest which can be identified on the numbered map included here.

1. Ranny Hill
2. The Gray Barn
3. Hamilton’s Hill
4. Ballyboe Lough
5. Mulroy Bay
6. The Old Milford Bakery & Flour Mills
7. Columcille’s Chair
8. The Holy Well, Holy Well Hill – the site of an ancient Ring Fort
9. Milford Mart
10. Lough Napuckan – the lough where the old IRA disposed of ammunition after a raid on the old RIC barracks in Milford
11. The Lough Road Junction
12. Bunlin Bridge
13. Golan Church
14. Mass Rock
15. Rock known as The Peddies Now, where a travelling salesman on a bike took his rest back in the 1920s
16. The Old Diamond Dance Hall
17. The Marian Shrine

Leatbeg

I . Coming off The Harry Blaney Bridge, park at the lay-by on the left – Island Roy View.

2. Continue to walk uphill until the Leatbeg Crossroads and turn right.

3. On your left is Leatbeg Church of Ireland. This building, which opened in 1844 as a school, was consecrated as a Church in 1880. Before that, Church of Ireland parishioners attended service in Rossnakill Parish Church, making the journey on the Moross Ferry.

4. Further on this road to the right is the site of the former Leatbeg National School which closed in 1996 with five pupils on the rolls. This school was in operation from 1910, where Mrs. Margaret Peoples taught from 1923-1960. At the time of closure, Mrs. Isobel Gallagher was principal of the school. This site is now the home of the Bishop of Derry, Rt. Rev. K.Good and boasts one of the most breathtaking views Between the Waters – The Narrows, which was a shipping route for boats coming in from the Ocean, Seideagh and Muineagh to the left; and Lord Leitrim’s estate, Manor Vaughan, Mevagh and Downings to the right.

5. Continue on to a small cluster of houses – Leat Street. At the bottom of the street on the left hand side is the site of the former National School which was built in 1860.
Continue downhill, enjoying the views of Mulroy Bay, with Cashelmore on your left, and take the next right, until you reach the site of Marine Harvest Irl.,formerly known as Fanad Fisheries, which began operating in 1979.

6. Nearby is Leatbeg Pier where a service operated between Mulroy and Glasgow from 1883-1914, a joumey of around 18 hours, with ships the S.S.Rosguill, the S.S.Melmore and the Ganiamore, which was the last ship owned by Lord Leitrim.
Cattle, sheep and pigs were exported from here to the Scottish market, but passengers were also carried on this route, many of them emmigrating to America, joining the transatlantic liner in Derry or Moville.
The Rawross ferry, linking Rosguill and Fanad peninsulas, operated from a smaller pier nearby, run by Robert McElhinney. Mail was delivered this way, coming from the Carrigart P.O. This ferry closed in the mid 60’s. Also located here is the shop owned by George Peoples which was in business from 1904-1938.

7. Continue uphill, with The Harry Blaney Bridge visible on your left; at the top of the hill turn right and back to Island Roy View lay-by. This is a very pleasant walk of two miles.

Kindrum

AS WE TRAVEL ALONG MULROY BAY WE COME TO THE QUIET LITTLE HAMLET OF KINDRUM.

Here in Kindrum we find the main employer in the area, Marine Harvest Irl, previously known as Fanad Fisheries. The company is in operation in Mulroy Bay and Lough Swilly since 1979.Today Marine Harvest in Kindrum is Ireland’s main hatchery and is the largest producer of farmed Atlantic Salmon.

Further along the road is “Johnstons of Kindrum” which operated as a busy Corn and Flax mill around 1900 and employed many locals. The outflow of water from Kindrum Lake was used to power the Mills. Today the buildings can still be seen although the Mill has been closed for a number of years.
Close by is “O’Callaghans of Kindrum”which once was a busy rural pub and shop, next door was the Post Office which was also run by the O’Callaghans. Sadly these buildings are no longer in use.

As you travel in the direction of the Mulroy Bridge and reach Kindrum Lake you will see a Celtic Cross which was erected in 1960 to the memory of the local men involved in the killing of the 3rd Earl of Leitrim on the 3rd April 1878. On that fateful morning William Sydney Clements was murdered at Cratlach Wood. Two employees travelling with him were also killed – they were John Makim and Charles Buchanan. While many people celebrated the murder of the 3rd Earl a Catholic priest announced that –“murder is murder” and cannot be justified no matter what the circumstances.
Kindrum Lake is one of the most popular Angling waters in the Fanad Peninsula. The lake has a surface area of 67ha and a maximum depth of 15 meters. The four main types of fish found in the lake are – Brown Trout, Char, 3-spined Stickleback and Eel. Boats are available from the Fanad Angling Club for anyone wanting to fish in these waters.

Driving along towards Fanad Head you come to Fanavolty Chapel overlooking Kindrum Lake. The Parish Hall and Graveyard is adjacent. The Chapel was built circa 1840 and within the grounds is contained the “Little Sheltered Mass Rock”. This is well worth a visit.

As you move on past Fanavolty Chapel take the next right turn and follow the winding road (4kms) to the top of Murrin Hill, take some timeout to enjoy the splendid scenery and beauty which is second to none from the top of this hill. You can see Lough Swilly, Mulroy Bay, Inishowen Peninsula and much of West Donegal. If you are lucky to get a clear day it is possible to see the coast of Scotland.

As you descend from Murrin Hill turn right and drive for 1.5kms where you will come to Ballyhiernan Bay. A fabulous magnificent beach with the Wild Atlantic waters lapping its shore. If you feel really energetic you could book a surf lesson with Adventure One Surf School or simply enjoy a walk on the beach and relax.

1. Marine Harvest Fish Farm
2. Johnstone’s of Kindrum
3. O’Callaghan’s
4. Monument & Lake
5. Fanavolty Chapel
6. Murrin Hill
7. Eelburn

Kerrykeel

THE KERRYKEEL WALK IS 5.6KM IN LENGTH AND TAKES APPROXIMATELY ONE HOUR AND TEN MINUTES.

Start the walk at the Garda Barracks. From the Garda Barracks proceed up the Ranny Road passing The Old National School which opened in 1958. Although now closed, the school still hosts local events and the Country Markets are held there every Saturday. From 200-400 meters one passes the scene of The Battle of Ranny on the right hand side. During this battle six men were killed.
At 400 meters our climb is almost at an end. Turn around and enjoy the panoramic view. Mulroy Bay (Photo 1) is straight ahead and Knockalla Mountain – “The Devil’s Backbone” (Photo 2) is on the right.
From here there is another climb of 100 meters then a walk along the plateau. The townlands of Dunmore (‘large fort’) and Drumatrumman (‘of the elder or boortree’) are on the left.

At 1.7km turn left at the farm shed onto The Drum Road which connects The Ranny Road and the Line Road. 200 meters after the turn one passes The Beggar’s Lane, an old shortcut to The Line Road. At 2.5km turn left onto The Line Road. 600 meters further on the right is the site of The Gortnavern Dolmen. This fine example of a Dolmen or Portal Tomb from the Neolithic period has a chamber of five sides set on edge and covered by a stone roof over 3 meters long and sitting 2 meters high. The tomb is difficult to get to and the landowner’s permission must be sought to gain access. At 3.3km on the left can be seen the beautifully restored Dougherty’s Thatched Cottage (Photo 3). 300 meters further on one crosses the wonderfully named Stately Brig (Bridge). At 4km Mulroy Bay comes back into view.

At 4.6km after crossing Drury Brig (Bridge) one enters the townland of Drury. On the left is the birthplace of Billy Gillespie. William Ballintrae Gillespie was born in Kerrykeel on 6th August 1891. The son of a local policeman Gillespie became the first Irishman to captain an FA Cup winning team, captaining Sheffield United to victory in 1925.

At 5km one turns left towards Kerrykeel. A further 100 meters from the junction is the wonderful view of Mulroy Bay from the top of The Shilling Hill. There are a number of stories as to the origins of the name “Shilling Hill”. The first maintains that during the construction of the road workers were paid one shilling per week. Another story contends that an employee at nearby Matson’s Mill lost his weeks wages – one shilling – on the way home on the hill. Many people came out in search of the missing shilling.

The new National School, Scoil Cholmcille, is on the right at the bottom of Shilling Hill. The school opened in 1996 and replaced The Old National School (at the start of the walk). At 5.4km Fiddler’s Green is on the left. At the end of the fair days all paper and wrapping materials were burned here. While the fire raged a man kept an eye on it and to keep himself occupied he played the fiddle, hence the name, Fiddler’s Green. One crosses The Ford Brig (Bridge) and move from Ford Street onto Pump Street. Pump Street was named because of the water pump built into the wall which provided water for the locals before every house had its own running water (Photo 4).

On the right along Pump Street is Cow Hill or Cow Market. Kerrykeel had a fair day, held on the sixth day of each month, during which locals and visiting householders and farmers would meet to trade in livestock, fruit, vegetables, crops, homewares, and anything in demand. The Cow Hill was the centre of the fair. At the end of Pump Street is the Garda Barracks and the end of the walk.

Golan

THE GOLAN WALK IS APPROXIMATELY 10KM LONG.

Start on the Lay-by at the right hand (1) between Milford Graveyard and Bunlin Bridge. Continue across Bunlin Bridge. This bridge was blown up during the Irish Civil War in the 1920’s.
Once across the bridge, turn right (towards Carrigart) and directly on the left hand side is the Bunlin Mass Rock (2). This is where Mass was said regularly until the Lagg Chapel was opened in 1829 and later Golan Chapel.

From the Mass Rock, turn back past the bridge and travel on straight towards Golan. After about 2-3 km you will climb a short, steep hill. This point of the road is called Nancy’s Brae (3) named after a local woman who used to live there.

The next point to note along the road is St. Bridget’s Chapel (4) on the left. The Chapel was built by local people in 1870. The site was donated by Lord Leitrim.

Continue on straight on the same road, up and down hills, until you cross a small bridge, and directly on the right hand side in the corner of the field you will note a raised stoney mound. This marks Dermot and Grainne’s bed (5).

Continue up the steep hill until you come to the road junction, turn left and immediately on your right is Carrownaganonagh School (6). This school was built in 1912 and closed in 1970. Behind is the remains of the old school and in this area (heavily overgrown now) there is a Mass Rock (7) and a Ring Fort (8).

Continue down the hill towards Milford for about 1-1.5km and according to local people, there is a children’s burial ground (9) located on the left hand side. This area is also heavily overgrown. It is also said that at least one adult male was buried there during a long spell of very wintery weather.

Further down this road on the left hand side, some distance off the road, and not very accessible is the Golan Loop Waterfall (10).

A short bit on further towards Milford and you will arrive at the Moss Pad (11). This is a pad through what used to be a forestry over a foot bridge that leads on to Golan Chapel. This pad is open and accessible for walking. It was opened in 1953 by a Priest called Father Arnold who was stationed in Golan at the time.
Continue towards Milford until you arrive at Loreto Community School (12) on the left hand side. This school was founded by the Loreto Order and first opened in 1966. That building has since been demolished and the present building opened in 2008.

1-1.5km further on and you arrive back at point (1).

Carrick

CARRICK, DEVLINREAGH & DEVLINMORE

5 KM FROM CARRIGART VILLAGE IS A PLACE KNOWN LOCALLY AS “THE GAP”. WHY NOT PARK UP AT THE LAY-BY, READ A LITTLE ABOUT THE AREA AND TAKE A STROLL/CYCLE ON ONE OF 4 RECOMMENDED ROUTES.

ROUTE 1 (ABOUT 40 MINS)

Starting at the lay-by, take the 1st right and follow the black arrows.
a. on the route marks Jimmy Jacks Well, (now piped). It was often the only local source of water in dry spells in older days. Just after the well is a moderate incline for about 250m, known as Jimmy Jacks Brae.
b. on the route is known as “The Slate Row”. There are breathtaking views of Mulroy, Fanad and Knockalla along this part.
c. is Hughdie’s Lane.

ROUTE 2

If you wish to extend your walk/cycle by 20 minutes, follow green arrows. The road marked
d. is called “The Leochan” Road
e. is called “An Charrain”, and there are spectacular views of the Inishowen mountains, Mulroy Bay and Fanny’s Bay in Downings along this stretch.

ROUTE 3

If you prefer a more leisurely walk, take a left after the lay-by as indicated by the blue arrow. 2 Km further on is a crossroads known as the “Lint Stone” (No longer accessible to the public).

ROUTE 4

Starts here, and is indicated by the orange arrows. This walk/cycle is about 4Km with beautiful views to either side.

Cranford

THE BASE OF THE CRANFORD WALK IS THE SITE OF THE OLD CRANFORD SCHOOL WHICH CLOSED IN 1965.

  1. Travel on the R245 towards Carrigart on the opposite side of the road is the sight of the old Cranford post office opened in 1930 and closed in 2006, owned by the Carr family.
  2. The Old Forge and Bar. The forge was built in 1920 and the bar in 1950, owned by the Logue family.
  3. Cranford Park, famous for its sporting events, sports days dating back to 1907.
  4. Lime kill, port and R.I.C barracks. The barracks closed in 1923 and the kill and port closed in 1959.
  5. Cranford bridge: over the big burn.
  6. Cranford community centre opened in 1973.
  7. Turn up the L12125 and the first steep bray is called the Craig.
  8. To the right you can see the wall stead of the old school and monastery.
  9. When you travel along the flat road 500 yards to the right there is an old burial ground to the left is the old road to the bog known as The Broadroad.
  10. The steep brae to the top is known as Gileses Bray.
  11. The junction at the top is known as the stick.
  12. It is recommended that you take a short detour to the right to Shantalow to view the stunning loch Anivore the area around the lough is known as Towneylought.
  13. You return back along the highest point of the route with stunning scenery to the Brakeney hill where you turn left down the hill (right takes you to Knockrany and Lough Sala)
  14. Continue down the hill known as the Breagh Face.
  15. At the bottom of the bray there used to be a walkway to the bog known as the Rodden.
  16. You then travel on till you cross Roberts Bridge over the big burn known as Carmoney.
  17. Than you travel along Hunters field until you come to Willies Bray.
  18. You stay left at Hunters corner (L12123) until you join the main road at the midtown stream, there is a well at the junction.
  19. The area to the right towards Bunlin is believed to be the old area of Kinavaire.
  20. You turn left along the R245 up the hill, The Gray Stones, with the shore dale to the right
  21. Wall stead to the left was Hunter family.
  22. The new Cranford school is on the left opened in 1965 the field opposite is known as nannies field.
  23. The field below the information sign at Cranford park is known as the Minister’s Breagh it is believed this was a burial ground in Gaelic times.

Cratlagh

Distance: 10K

Time: 2½ to 3 hours

This walk commences on the R245 at Woodquarter Forest Pier.

(1) with parking facilities and if you wish to spend some time there you can walk through the forest and enjoy breath taking views of Mulroy Bay.  After parking your car take a left on exiting the layby and continue walking on the R245 through Cratlagh Wood.  This walk will take you past the Glen Road End

(2) The Shoe Maker’s Corner

(3) The Wildcats

(4) The Chains

(5) and Pedlar’s Knowe

(6) before you come to Perry’s

(7) which is a house to your left with a high wall.  Major and Mrs Perry owned this house and were aristocrats  from the 1920’s to the 1960’s and gave employment to many in the area.  The Perry family no longer own this house. (An Scathlan/Mass Rock, from Penal Times, is 50 Metres ahead, on the right, if you wish to view it).

(8) As you pass this high wall take the next road on your right, the L5362, known locally as The Old Road.

(9) The Waterfall will greet you.  Mickey Mannie Mc Fadden wrote a song about this Waterfall, To Dwell Along That Lovely Font We Call The Waterfall”.  Rest a moment while you listen to the tranquil sound of the Water flowing as you will need your energy to then walk up

(10) the Red Brae. Before this road was tarred it had red stone on it hence the name Red Brae.  As you walk over the

Moss Road (11) and pass

Harry’s Lane (12) it takes you to

the Fairy Rock (13) on your left. Then you pass

the Bumby Knowe (14) to your right.  As you walk along this road you pass by

Tawneycappy (15),

Boulkey’s Well (16), and

Road Sticks (17) which is the road to your left that takes you to Meeins.  Continue on to a short incline called

Jean’s Brae (18), it was where all the horses stopped for a rest while pulling heavy loads. Then you go over the

Sinking Bridge (19) and continue on straight until you approach a farm yard to your right and again the beautiful Mulroy Bay comes into view.  Stop, rest and breathe in this beautiful sight.  The road to your right is known as

the Mass Pad (20), which is a short cut for the people living on this road to the Chapel in Coole. You also can take this shortcut but if you are feeling energetic, continue another half mile to the end of this road and you will see,

“The Charming Braes of Drim” (21) again the name of a song written by Mickey Mannie Mc Fadden. Take the road to your right and on a good day you will see the Inishowen Mountains.  Wander freely to the next junction with the

Old Coole School (22), closed since June 1969, to your right and

the Coole Chapel (23) built in 1954. Turn left at this junction and continue down

Curley’s Brae (24).  You then pass the site of the

Old Paídie’s Shop (25) on the left. You will come to a high stone wall on your right which is said to be the site of an

old graveyard (26).  To your left is the Stepping Stones over the

Big Burn at Mc Connells Corner (27).  Continue down

Mc Illwane’s Brae (28) where the beautiful Mulroy Bay comes into view once more.  Before reaching a shed to your left this was known as

Tam Headley’s corner (29). Turn right at this junction on to

The Midtown Lane (30).  At the main road R245 turn right.  You will pass

Hemple’s Lane (31) on your right, then the

Gap Rock’s (32) to your left and you come to a dip in the road before Woodquarter Layby and this is where the 3rd Earl of Leitrim was shot (2nd April 1878) because of his harsh treatment of his tenants with eviction etc.  The men who carried out this deed came across Mulroy Bay on a boat and ambushed him with his drivers.  It is always said that he met his death in Cratlagh Wood but in fact it was Woodquarter because at that time in 1878 this area would still have been heavily wooded and a continuation of Cratlagh Wood.

3km of this route is on the R245 which is a busy road and may not be suitable for childrens’ cycling.

A short route can be taken by turning right at the Junction (2), Glen Road, to continue to Junction (23) at Cool Chapel.