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Trip Report: Inishowen Peninsula

July 27, 2006

Here’s a first wave of highlights from our trip report. You are welcome to click on the photos below to read the captions. You can also see a slideshow at (clicking the images will reveal the captions). Remember to visit our website at Also listen to our Inishowen podcast.

I have to say, we really enjoyed Inishowen. It has a great mix of spectacular scenery, beautiful sites and very friendly people. We also saw more thatched roofs in this area than others; however, the Celtic Tiger has also had it’s impact with loads of new holiday homes dotting the coastline. Inishowen wasn’t on our planned itinerary, but we were in Northern Ireland and near the border, and since we hadn’t changed any money over to pounds sterling, we thought we’d slip into Donegal for the night and use euros. The sites were great and the B&Bs were a really high standard for a great price. Here were our favorite spots:

Grianan Aileach: We couldn’t go inside this enormous ring fort because of conservation work, but the views from up there were fantastic, and the structure is very interesting.

Buncrana: This nice resort-type town was a great stop. Our B&B was right on the river and we could take the riverwalk to the castle and town centre. We enjoyed a very nice meal at The Cranberry restaurant.

Dunree Fort wasn’t open yet when we were passing through, so I can’t comment on that.

Gap of Mamore: Wow! We came over the crest and there in the distance was the ocean and the road wound down the mountain from there. It was really beautiful. There was an interesting holy well on the side of the road as well.


Leenan Strand: We drove down to the beach and enjoyed the low tide and morning air. It was very peaceful and the misty skies were quite atmospheric.leenan

Glenevin Waterfall in Clonmany: Our server at the Cranberry recommended we stop here. It was a great 25 minute hike to the waterfall (there’s a smaller waterfall on the way as well). The paths are well-groomed with packed gravel, so I’d say it would be wheelchair accessible too. They have some nice picnic areas set up on the route and the B&B/restaurant next to the entrance has great scones with cream and jam (we checked out their B&B prices and they were quite reasonable and the place seemed very nice).

Glenevin Waterfall

Doagh Famine Village: This was one of the most interesting stops of our trip. The village is a homespun collection of “the old ways,” but it offers a very unique perspective on the famine by looking at it in a global and modern light. In addition to learning about the historic tools, customs and diet of the region, we left thinking about modern-day famines and asking ourselves how we are contributing to these conditions…many of which are similar to those that plagued the Irish. Also walked by Carrickbrackey Castle (just down the road from the Famine Village).

Doagh Famine Village
Malin Head: What a view from Ireland’s northernmost point. It was cloudy and raining when we were there, but that just added drama to the scene. The locals said that on clear days you can see Scotland. We hiked to Hell’s Hole. This was quite an adventure as the wind and rain made it especially treacherous. Down the road we stopped at the Wee House of Malin, an old hermit’s cave with a church ruin near it.

Malin Head

The ferry from Greencastle to Northern Ireland is very convenient.
Westbrook House B&B, Buncranna: Great house right on the river. Hostess Mary Margaret Grant is an avid gardener and has the yard landscaped right to the river. There is a path just across the street that leads to the riverwalk which includes a butterfly garden, the angling club headquarters, a castle keep, big house, arched bridge and town centre. Breakfast was delicious and Margaret took very good care of us. Tea was available near the veranda that overlooked the garden and river. 40 euro per person. PH# 074 93 61067 (international # 011 353 74 9361067)
Admiralty House, Moville: Another great old house with views of the Lough Foyle. Our room was enormous, had it’s own fireplace and hostess Suzanne McFeely had the heat turned on, so the place was nice and warm when we showed up at her door. Breakfast was great and well-presented. We could hear a little bit of sound from a TV somewhere else in the house, but otherwise there was nothing to complain about. This home was not ensuite, but there were two large private bathrooms right outside our door. There was a sink and vanity as well as tea, biscuits and chocolate waiting for us in the room. 27.50 euro per person. PH# 074 93 82529 (international # 011 353 74 93 82529)

The Glen House, Clonmany: We stopped here for tea and would definitely have picked this place if we were planning to stay in the area. It’s a mix of modern design that still has old world charm. It has great views of the ocean and has a feeling of being in the middle of nowhere…even though there are several towns nearby. 43 euro per person. PH# 074 93 76745 (international # 011 353 74 93 76745)

Check back again for more from our report.

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