Glencar Waterfall: directions, when to visit, and things to know

From when to visit to what’s nearby, here is all you need to know about the magnificent Glencar Waterfall.

If fairytale settings sound to your liking, a visit to Glencar Waterfall is well overdue.

In this go-to guide, we tell you all you need to know to make your experience more than memorable.

Read on to learn more about this charming cascade located in County Leitrim.

Basic info – the essentials

  • Route: Glencar Waterfall
  • Distance: 0.5 kilometers (500 metres)
  • Start / End Point: Glencar Lough car park
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Duration: 20 minutes

Overview – in a nutshell

Glencar Waterfall in a nutshell.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

A visit to Glencar Waterfall may be easy and accessible, but don’t let that deter you; this off the beaten track attraction is well worth a visit.

Glencar Waterfall is one of the waterfalls in Ireland you can swim in and is located in County Leitrim. Standing at 50 ft (15.24 m) tall, the tiered waterfall is surrounded by impressive woodlands fit for a fairytale.

In fact, William Butler Yeats even wrote a poem, ‘The Stolen Child’, inspired by this enchanting area of Ireland.

When to visit – the time in question

When to visit Glencar Waterfall.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

As you may expect, summertime sees the greatest number of visitors to the region. If you prefer to experience the beauty of the outdoors amidst peace and quiet, your best bet is to visit during winter, when Glencar Waterfall will find its lowest footfall.

Spring and autumn, however, are great seasons to explore the region. Both may offer balmy weather, and if you happen to visit on a sunny day during the week, you’re likely to have the place all to yourself!

What to see – make the most of your visit

Check out Glencar Lake.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

When visiting Glencar Waterfall, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Ireland, the main sight is the cascade, of course. However, there’s much more to admire when in the area; from the enchanting forests to Glencar Lake, make sure to give yourself enough time to explore the Glencar at ease.

Direction – how to get there

How to get to Glencar Waterfall.

This laid-back and leisurely trail is accessed most commonly from Glencar Lough car park.

Only twenty minutes by car from Sligo centre, nestled next to Copes Mountain, getting to and from Glencar Waterfall is an accessible feat.

Distance – the time it takes

How long is the walk.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

This is a looped trail that spans just 0.5 km (500 m). Although it may be short in length, make sure to add on some extra time to stop and smell the flowers, enjoy some bird-watching or take in the sounds of the forest.

Note that there are steps to reckon with, so the trail may not be suitable for those less able.

Things to know – insider tips

Things to know about visiting Glencar Waterfall.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

If you’re new to this area of Ireland, you’ll be happy to know that there’s a tourist information office near the Glencar Waterfall.

Here you can get local tips on how to make the most of your visit to Leitrim and the surrounding counties.

What to bring – the essentials

Bring a picnic to Glencar Waterfall.
Credit: / go-Presse

As with all hikes and trails, we recommend wearing sturdy (broken-in) walking shoes for comfort.

In Ireland, the weather has a habit of turning the tide at a moment’s notice. Don’t let a random downpour ruin your adventure: a rain jacket is a must!

Bad weather aside, you may be surprised to learn that temperatures can soar on sunny days during summer. Always make sure to pack sunscreen during these months.

Although there is a cafe near the Glencar Waterfall, a packed picnic is a great and cost-effective way to enjoy the outdoor elements alongside your lunch. There are picnic tables, as well as a playground and toilets on-site and available for public use.

Where to eat – for the foodies

Grab a bite to eat at teaSHED.
Credit: Facebook / @teashed.glencar

The teaSHED is located next to the Glencar Lough car park and offers both indoor and outdoor seating. Its proximity to the playground makes it an easy option when visiting with the kids, too.

Serving up fresh, simple cafe food – think cakes, sandwiches, and salads – this is a great go-to for a bite to eat when visiting the Glencar Waterfall.

Alternatively, the Davis’ Restaurant & Yeats Tavern in Sligo is only a 12-minute journey by car and offers family-friendly dining in a contemporary space with fantastic food for lunch and dinner.

Where to stay – for a restful night’s sleep

TurfnSurf is a great place to stay.
Credit: Facebook / @TurfnSurfIreland

Say you’re a traveller looking to meet some like-minded individuals along your way. We would suggest staying in the TurfnSurf Lodge and Surf School in Bundoran, Donegal, which is only 30 minutes away.

Alternatively, Castledale is a luxury B&B in Sligo and only 20 minutes from the waterfall. If a traditional hotel setting is more to your liking, we suggest the four-star Clayton Hotel Sligo.

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