If you're looking for things to do in the Donegal area of Ireland then the Assaranca Waterfall is something that should be on your radar.
While the waterfall itself resides in a fairly remote part of Donegal, it's location just off the main road means this is a really easy stop to incorporate if you'll already be traveling through this part of Ireland.
Usually to reach a waterfall of this magnitude you'd be staring down a lengthy hike, but part of the allure of visiting the Assaranca Waterfall is the ease of reaching it.
In this post I'll be covering what to know before paying a visit to the Assaranca Waterfall and I'll give you some tips on how to incorporate a stop here into a visit with the nearby Slieve League Cliffs.
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Where is the Assaranca Waterfall located?
The Assaranca Waterfall is located in County Donegal, Ireland, near the coastal village of Ardara. It is situated along the Loughros Beg Bay, just off the road, making it easily accessible by car. The waterfall is surrounded by beautiful countryside and is part of the stunning Wild Atlantic Way coastal route.
During my trip I was staying in the nearby town of Donegal which is about a 40 minute drive by car. Donegal makes for a great jumping off point to visit Benbulben, the Assaranca Waterfall and the nearby Slieve League Cliffs given its proximity and wider range of accommodations than some of the smaller villages in this area.
I specifically stayed at the Gateway Lodge Hotel which had a great restaurant and was reasonably priced. I'd highly recommend it if you're still looking for a place to stay in this area. Alternatively you can browse for other hotel deals in Donegal here.
What to expect when visiting the Assaranca Waterfall?
My favorite thing about road tripping across Ireland is the never ending supply of beautiful detours along the way, and the Assaranca Waterfall is no exception. In fact, County Donegal where Assaranca and Slieve League reside makes multiple appearances on my list of the most beautiful Ireland landscapes.
If you're visiting the Donegal area during summer or late spring (which you should) then sunset will be quite late, in the 9pm or 10pm timeframe. I left my hotel and planned to reach Slieve League for sunset. From there I was able to back into when I needed to arrive at the Assaranca Waterfall. I budgeted 40 minutes driving to Assaranca, 30 minutes to stop at the waterfall, 40 minutes to drive from Assaranca to Slieve League and an hour to hike up to the viewing platform.
The road leading to the waterfall parking area is extremely narrow and windy which can make it difficult to pass other vehicles you encounter.
Keep your eyes down the road and try to anticipate other cars while keeping a mental note of any pull off areas you see. This will help you avoid situations where you need to reverse along the narrow roads to allow traffic to pass.
Once you reach the Assaranca Waterfall you'll find the parking lot at the base of the falls, just off the main road, you can't miss it. While the parking lot is small I didn't have any issues grabbing a spot in the late evening but I wouldn't be surprised if this area is a bit busier earlier in the day.
Since there isn't much to see here other than the waterfall itself, most visitors will probably hop out, enjoy the views, snap a few photos and be on their way. I budgeted slightly more time here since I wanted to fly my drone and photograph the surrounding landscapes which were incredible.
While I enjoyed the stop at the waterfall, I would say I enjoyed the surrounding scenery and drive leading up to the area more than the waterfall itself. This area works well as a pit stop on your way to Slieve League, but it probably isn't worth going out of your way to see if you don't have anything else planned along the way.
How much does the Assaranca Waterfall cost?
There is no entrance fee to visit the Assaranca Waterfall, as it is a natural attraction located along a public road. Visitors can enjoy the waterfall and its surroundings for free, making it a great pit spot when exploring the Donegal area.
How long does it take to visit the Assaranca Waterfall?
The time it takes to visit the Assaranca Waterfall depends on individual preferences and how much time you wish to spend admiring the scenery and taking photographs. Most visitors will only need to budget 15 to 30 minutes for this stop.
If you're planning a road trip through the Irish countryside then be sure to book your rental car well in advance. Peak tourism season on the island is centered around summer and rental car prices can jump if you wait too long to book your vehicle!
Are pets allowed at the Assaranca Waterfall?
Yes, pets are allowed at the Assaranca Waterfall. However, it's essential to keep your pets on a leash and under control as the area will likely have a number of other visitors. Be sure to clean up after your pet, and be mindful that there aren't any waste bins at the waterfall.
Are there bathrooms at the Assaranca Waterfall?
There are no public restrooms at the Assaranca Waterfall. The waterfall is located in a rural area and there aren't facilities of any kind at the parking pull off. I'd recommended using restrooms in nearby towns like Ardara or Donegal before visiting the waterfall.
If you plan to continue on to Slieve League after the waterfall, you'll find a restroom there in the main parking lot.
What is the best time of year to visit the Assaranca Waterfall?
Like much of Ireland the best time of year to visit the Assaranca Waterfall is during the late spring and summer months, from May to September. During this time, the weather in Ireland is generally milder and drier.
April through July, specifically, are the months with the least amount of rainfall in Ireland.
During my trip was visited during the last week of May, just before summer season hit. We had unseasonably warm weather, no rain and fewer crowds since the summer tourism season wasn't in full swing yet.
A couple of great resources to review while planning your trip to Ireland would be my favorite hacks for booking cheap airfare and list of tips for booking a trip abroad. These guides will cover dozens of strategies I use to lower my travel costs and help you avoid headaches during the booking process.
What is the best time of day to visit the Assaranca Waterfall?
If I were visiting the waterfall in isolation I'd probably visit any time of day other than sunset since the steep mountain that it cascades from left it cast in a shadow during the evening hours.
However, this probably won't be a marquee stop on your itinerary and I'd just pack it into your schedule where ever it's convenient. You won't have to contend with crowds here so really, any time of day will do!
As I suggested earlier in this post, I'd make your priority in this region a visit to Slieve League at sunset with this being a convenient pit stop along the way.
Do I need a reservation to visit the Assaranca Waterfall?
No, you do not need a reservation to visit the Assaranca Waterfall. The waterfall is a natural attraction and is freely accessible to the public. There are no entrance fees or booking requirements.
Simply plan your visit according to your schedule and enjoy the beauty of this scenic spot.
Do I have to hike to reach the Assaranca Waterfall?
No, you do not have to hike to reach the Assaranca Waterfall. The waterfall is easily visible from the road, and there is a small parking area directly in front of it.
If you're looking for ideas on where to hike in Ireland, be sure to consider the Croagh Patrick hike. It's one of the most popular hikes in Ireland due to its moderate difficulty, incredible views and historical significance surrounding St. Patrick.
Is visiting the Assaranca Waterfall worth it?
Yes, visiting the Assaranca Waterfall is worth it, especially for those who appreciate natural beauty and serene landscapes. The waterfall is easily accessible and offers a great setting for photography and stretching out your legs on a road trip through the area.
However, as I alluded to earlier in this post I wouldn't go out of my way to make this a priority stop. Part of the allure of visiting Assaranca is that it serves as a nice pit stop on your way to other points of interest in this region. This is a similar stance that I take for anyone mulling a stop at the Dark Hedges of Northern Ireland.
If you're still looking for other activities to fill out your trip to Donegal, Ireland then be sure to check out great deals and tours on TripAdvisor.
You should also check out my related posts on visiting Dog's Bay Beach, road tripping the Dingle Peninsula, crossing the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and how to reach Skellig Michael Island if you're looking for trip inspiration. The former is one of the most beautiful beaches I stumbled upon during my 10 day road trip across the island. The latter is a remote island off the coast of Portmagee that's only accessible by boat.
I also compiled a video highlighting the most beautiful Ireland landscapes featuring drone footage I shot during my adventures. It includes tons of footage from this part of Ireland plus places like the Cliffs of Moher at sunset and the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland. Be sure to check that out on my YouTube!
If your Ireland trip originates in Dublin, like it will for most travelers, be sure to check out my guide to the best things to do in Dublin.
Hopefully this post covering what to expect when visiting the Assaranca Waterfall in Donegal Ireland helps you determine if it's a good fit in your road trip itinerary!