Donegal Rock Climbing
The County of Donegal in the northwest of Ireland contains more climbable rock than the rest of Ireland combined, boasting two major Irish mountain ranges, over a thousand kilometres of coastline, one hundred sea stacks and as many diverse climbing mediums and locations as you will find in the rest of the country.
County Donegal currently plays host to several lifetimes of world class rock climbing in some of the most beautiful, remote and unspoilt locations in Ireland. There are currently a shade under 3,000 rock climbs recorded
throughout the length and breadth of the county.
These climbs includeIreland’s longest rock climb, Ireland’s largest mountain crag, Ireland’slongest ice climb and Ireland’s highest sea stack as well as many morestandard single and multi-pitch venues above the sea, by the road, on the islands and in the mountains.
The Donegal Rock Climbers guide, http://uniqueascent.ie/undiscovered_donegal
Gola Island Rock Climbing
Gola Island in western Donegal is the epicenter of the Donegal climbing scene with well over 200 single pitch routes from Diff to E5 on the Granite sea cliffs and inland outcrops scattered throughout the island. In the main the rock is immaculate sea washed granite with only some of the sheltered zawns containing sections of loose rock.
What Gola Island provides is outstanding rock climbing in a wild, remote and truly beautiful setting. The island sits far out in Co Donegal’s rainshadow and it is not unusual to be climbing on the island in bright sunshine and blue skies whilst the rest of the county is under a deluge of heavy rain.
Pretty much all of Gola Islands sea cliffs require calm sea’s to safely climb on them. If the sea is bouncing from the South West then the Binatok Bay and the North West Zawn offer sheltered climbing. If the sea is bouncing from the west then there are the two inland crags which both offer non tidal climbing on immaculate rock. An alternative to the climbing on Gola and which does not require the use of a ferry service or camping is Cruit Island. Cruit Island offers the same excellent sea cliff climbing (on slightly lower sea cliffs) and is not prone to the same big seas as Gola.
Gola Island rock climbing guide, http://uniqueascent.ie/gola_island_guide
There are very few places in Ireland that can come close to comparing to Tory Island. Tory (Oileán Thoraí or Toraigh) lives 14 kilometers from the north west coast of mainland Donegal and is Irelands most remote inhabited island. The island is relatively small at approximately 5 km long and 1 km wide. The population of approx 100 people live in two tiny villages at each end of the island, An Baile Thoir (East Town) and An Baile Thiar (West Town).
The entire island is wedge shaped with the north face of the island almost one continual unclimbed granite sea cliff and the south face at sea level. The potential for exploration, unclimbed rock and bagging new routes is huge with the main climbing development to date being on the sea stacks and the outrageous Tor Mor ridge at the far eastern end of the island.
Getting to Tory is by daily passenger-only ferry service from Magheroarty on mainland Donegal to West Town on Tory (www.toryislandferry.com). A day trip to the island can be a very rushed affair and a much longer stay is by far the best way to experience the island. There is a full range of accommodation from hotel, hostel and camping. It is possible to camp pretty much anywhere on the island. There is also a small shop in West Town but it is best to bring all the provisions you will need.
Tory Island rock Climbers guidebook, http://uniqueascent.ie/tory_island
Tory Island Film https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXe5MG64Z_w