Colmcille Climbers Donegal Ireland

Hand on Rock
To the Hills, to the Hills!
Marty McGuigan Takes a Whipper
We are a group of rock-climbers based in Derry, Northern Ireland. We go climbing in Counties Derry, Donegal and Antrim, and many other places in the north and south of Ireland. This website is designed to do three things:
  • Provide info for people who want to climb locally
  • Provide news and info for members of the club
  • Amuse anyone who visits

Climbing mainly takes place in Co. Donegal, but as you will see, our members go climbing all over the world. You can see photos from such far-flung spots as Canada, Nepal, Tibet, South America, China, France, Italy and Switzerland as well as Derry, Donegal, Inishowen, Fairhead, Sligo and Tyrone. Anyone can join the club - don't wait for us to ask.

For further details, contact Alan Tees Club Sec. (adjust his email address or he won't get it)

NEW Forum - Please Register and start posting.
Training and Development 2013
Meeting Minutes from the AGM of 2013
Caption Competition Autumn 2012
Caption Compo 2012 Offer a 20% discount off all first aid courses and 10% off all UK courses and (where possible) overseas courses to all Colmcille club members. In the UK they run courses in first aid, climbing as well as navigation. However we specialise in overseas expeditions. They offer trekking trips to Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua, Everest base camp, Annapurna circuit and Island peak, as well as more technical trips to Mnt. Kenya and the North Pole.

Donegal Climbfest 2014

Climbfest 2014 Climbfest Donegal is back in Inishowen this year on the usual Mayday bank holiday 2nd- 5th May. Access to the campsite and crags has already been agreed for Culdaff. Malin Head had been considered as a venue, but refusal of access to a great many of the routes there by a landowner means that this would not be feasible. The base therefore, will be at Bunagee as usual, using Dunmore, Warm Bay Point, Dungloon, Malin Head etc. for day trips.

There will be the usual beginners session at Dunmore Head on Saturday morning, and the Saturday night barbeque and party. If you have any gear you wish to sell, bring it along, rock shoes too tight, plastic boots you hate, someone might want them! There will be a fee to cover camping, for which you should receive a buff, and be able to download a new topoguide to Inishowen. Any surplus funds go to the local community association to ensure continued access.

Hope the weather is better that 2013!

Pocket Topos and Guides

Topo intro and Inishowen West High Res (1.8MB) Low Res (0.6MB)

Malin Topo High Res (4.6MB) Low Res (1.4MB)

Culdaff Dunowen High Res (2.1MB) Low Res (1.2MB)

Inishowen East High Res (1.7MB) Low Res (0.7MB)

Colmcille Climbers: Climbing Ireland!

Fire Drawing Climbfest

This fire drawing was made by Valli Schafer for the 2007 Climbfest. The model is on the right!

Map of Inishowen showing main rock climbing areas

| Donegal Guidebook | Photo Gallery | Logbook | Everything else - a page linked to all the others!

Information for Rock Climbers Coming to Donegal Ireland

Here are a few random links to take you to various pages that may be of interest. One of our most popular crags is Dunmore Head in Inishowen, Donegal in north west Ireland. This is because the rock is good quality, the climbs are short and the crag is easily accessible from the road. Have a look at some photos of Dunmore Head or read about a trip or two to Dunmore Head or here or here and there are plenty more trip reports in our online interactive climbing logbook.

We have an online climbing photo gallery with over 1000 photos, and an online Donegal Climbing guidebook where climbers can log new routes that they have climbed in Donegal, republic of Ireland. It is expected that this online guidebook will be built into a valuable database resource for future guidebook authors to access. If you do visit Donegal to climb then you should not miss our Climbfest in the Spring. After the success of the 2005 Climbing Festival in Culdaff we want to maintain this as a regular event each year. In 2005 we climbed and bouldered mostly in Culdaff or around the Inishowen peninsula (Kinnego Bay, Port a Doris, Dunowen, Crummies Bay, Malin Head etc). In coming years we would like to show climbers other sites that Donegal has to offer, for example, Eglish Valley, Barnesmore Gap, Malin Beg, Muckros Head, Glencolumbcille, Downings, Rocky Gap, Poison Glen, Belshade, Bingorm, Lough Barra, Muckish etc.

Ice climbing in Donegal is something that isn't often possible, so a page or two that look at Irish ice-climbing are here and here. The problem with Ireland is that the climate is very mild and damp. We get Gulf stream warming and nearly all our weather comes from the Atlantic i.e. south-westerly winds laden with rain. But the country looks the way it does (Emerald Isle and all that) because of the rain and wind, so we shouldn't complain.

Membership of the club is open to anyone, we have members living in Galway and others in Ballymena and Portstewart - we're not just restricted to Derry and Donegal (though Derry is where we tend to congregate). We also welcome members of all nationalities and genders; we've often taken visiting climbers out with us when they have been here on holiday. We still keep in touch with "country members" in Australia, Spain, Holland, Canada, England, Scotland, Wales and other places. Derry has a university (University of Ulster at Magee) and a busy technical college, so attracts students from all over Europe - joining the Colmcille Climbers gives them a perfect way to meet some locals, see the country and get some great climbing. Many Colmcillers are more than happy to pick up and drop off a car-less student on the way to the crag.

Irish Climbing is nearly all traditional with very few bolts (or even pegs/pitons) in evidence. That's not to say the boundaries remain unpushed - the Mournes boasts an E10 (Divided Years climbed by John Dunne, repeated by Dave Birkett) and Irish climbers have reached sports routes grades as high as 8a. Climbing in Ireland is concentrated around the coastal areas (as are the mountains) with little happening in the midlands. If you are coming a long way to climb in Ireland, you could start in Donegal, head east to Fairhead and then the Mournes, south to Dalkey and Wicklow, west to Kerry and the Burren, and then north back to Donegal (and spend the last week of your fortnight where you started!) because there's more variety and crags here than the rest of the 32 counties.

So it's not just Clare, Dublin, Kerry, Antrim and Down, mountaineering and climbing are alive and well in Donegal. Come and see!

RSS feed

RSS is a format for syndicating news and the content of websites that have regularly updated content. It means that other webmasters can pull content from this site and display it as links in their pages. The Colmcille RSS feed carries a link for the most recently added route, photo and log report aswell as a random link. As it develops it will also have other links - send your ideas! RSS feed

Donors to this website (thanks to them)

Andy Tees, Julie Sittlington, Donna and Marty Ryan, James Boyle, Bill LeClerc-Gigot, Phil Magill, Anthony Feeney, Marty McGuigan, Colmcille Climbing Club