About the Programme
County Donegal is one of 12 regions in the country to have been allocated the services of a Rural Recreation Officer (RRO) in 2008. Donegal’s RRO Inga Bock works with communities, landowners, local and national agencies to support the development, maintenance and promotion of trail based outdoor recreation opportunities in County Donegal for residents and tourists alike.
The programme is directly co-funded by the Department of Arts, Heritage Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs and Fáilte Ireland.
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The IAT in Ireland
Landfall of the IAT in Ireland and Europe has been designated as Slieve League in Co. Donegal. The (unmarked) route heads along the coast to Malin Beg. From here the route will be fully marked, taking the walker to Glencolumbcille and along the Tower Loop walk to pick up the Slí Cholumbcille via Port to Ardara. From Ardara, it follows the Bluestack Way to Glenties and over the Bluestack Mountains to Lough Eske. A few kilometres before Donegal Town it crosses the N56 at Clar Chapel and follows back roads to Leghowney Hall where it enters the Meenadreen Windfarm to take the walker to the border crossing into Tyrone at Kelly’s Bridge. The route then goes through Killeter and onwards towards Omagh, to join the northern route of the Ulster Way along the Antrim Coast and into Larne. It then continues in Scotland on the Ayrshire Coastal Path and the West Highland Way. The Cross-border launch of the IAT Ireland took place at the Bluegrass and Appalachian Music Festival at the Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh on the 31st August 2013. In 2016 we hosted the world-wide AGM, leading to a crossborder Scoping study with all the partners north and south, in a crossborder cooperation project. In 2019 we hosted a week-long Knowledge Transfer week, culminating in an Outdoor Economy Forum held in Strabane. For the first time in the 25-year history of the IAT, the two big North American organisations behind the Appalachian Trail, the Appalachian Mountain Club and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy came to join the IAT to explore working together. The Appalachian Trail Museum, as well as IAT members from the US and Canada, joined in the week-long workshops and walks.
Also in 2019, DLDC were part of a design study for the trail, and all the partners along the IAT in Ireland are now working on a capital project in each of their areas to upgrade the trail and develop and install information and signage on the ground. Since 2013 we had 16 ‘Thru-hikers’ that walked the entire IAT in Ireland, with many more doing it in sections.