This will be a long day for us coming from Cong with a final destination in Letterkenny. We plan to see Slieve League along the way. I'm curious about the road Google maps is offering from Slieve League: R230 down the Glengesh, take the N56 to Glenties, and then the R250 to Letterkenny. We could add 45 min (according to Google) if we stay on the N56 to about Gweedore and then drive the R251 to the R250 which takes us into Letterkenny. Can anyone advise us which route might be best at the end of a long day?
Eleven months ago, we stopped at Slieve League, and it started raining, pretty hard. We were heading farther north and not as far east, to Dunfanaghy. The rain eventually stopped, and we arrived at our lodging to check in before dinner, but driving on The Left, with possibly wetter weather and more traffic than you might have anticipated, can make a drive longer and slower than in “ideal” conditions. Unless there’s a waypoint you specifically want to stop at along a particular route, or scenery that has to be seen over another route’s, the quicker roads are the way to go, especially if it’s going to have been a long day. Happy motoring, and enjoy the views from the cliffside Slieve League!
My general recollection from driving around the area a few years ago is that the "R" roads are pretty decent thoroughfares - two divided and well marked lanes, comfortably wide enough for two vehicles to pass as opposed to some of the more rural "L" roads that can neck down to a single lane in places requiring pullouts for opposing traffic. I don't recall there being an issue with narrow shoulders along the side of the roads either. Point being that the R roads in the area typically make for comfortable and reasonably stress free driving, and that therefore the more direct routing along the R250 is probably your best bet.
You can preview it for yourself using the street map feature for a driver's eye view of long sections of the road if you're at all concerned about it, but I really don't think it will be a problem for you going the shorter way. About the only caveat I can think of would be to try to complete your journey before it gets dark when sheep and cattle on the rural roads can be quite difficult to see before you're upon them.
Edited to add: In the event of rainy weather, or if you just prefer a more major road, the N56 going the other way ... to the N15 and N13, will take you into Letterkenney more quickly than the other way around as you were proposing. The National Roads (or N roads on the map) are generally more user friendly than the R or L roads.
Thank you, Cyn and Robert. I appreciate the advice about the R roads and also cutting back to the N15 and N13. Also a good reminder to Google Earth the road. I do that all the time but I appreciate the personal insights. Helpful tips. I certainly hope to reach Letterkenny before dark. And I definitely hope it is not pouring cats and dogs over the Slieve League. If it is, we're likely outta there. So much of our travels in Ireland are being in the scenery. Being under gray skies and clouds is expected but rain will not be fun. And we're very used to this in the green and wet Pacific Northwest! ~Kay