Hi everyone. I hope all is well with you and yours this week. This week our Virtual Tour of Ireland rolls into the rugged untamed beauty of County Donegal. Ulster’s largest county boasts a stunning coastline, majestic mountain ranges and the warmest of welcomes. So let’s get on the road and do some exploring!
1. Poisoned Glen
First stop, the Poisoned Glen in the Gweedore area. This Ice Age carved hollow in the landscape with a foreboding name comes with a mythical tale. Legend has it that the glen got its name when the one-eyed king of Balor was killed by his grandson Lughaidh. The poison from his eye reportedly flowed into the glen! The more likely explanation is somewhat less dramatic. Only one letter separates Heaven – ‘Neamh’ and Poison – ‘Neimhe’ in Gaelic and the error was reportedly made by a non Irish speaking English map maker. Certainly “heavenly” is a more apt description for this beautiful landscape.
2. Mount Errigal
Since we’re in the Gweedore area we must stop off to take a look at County Donegal’s highest peak, Mount Errigal. Part of the Derryveagh Mountain Range, it stands at a majestic 2,464 ft, the tallest of the “Seven Sisters” chain of mountains.
3. Malin Head
Time to head to Ireland’s most northerly point and the starting point of Ireland’s famous Wild Atlantic Way. When it comes to dramatic coastlines, it’s hard to beat Malin Head where the Atlantic waves crash the rugged coastline from every direction. Little wonder it was chosen as location for the 2017 Star Wars movie, Star Wars: The Last Jedi .
4. Silver Strand, Malinbeg
Who’s in the mood for a trip to the beach? Well this one is pretty unforgettable! A perfect horseshoe shape, surrounded by sea cliffs with golden sands, this secluded cove can only be reached on foot via many stone steps. Well worth the clamber down. Simply stunning.
5. Slieve League
Time for more dramatic coastline as we take a hike up Slieve League or Sliabh Liag meaning Grey Mountain. Ireland’s highest sea cliffs are located in south west Donegal near Glencolmcille. This is a heady, awe-inspiring walk and on a clear day, you can enjoy astounding views of Sligo, Leitrim and even the mountains of Mayo.
6. Glenveagh Castle & Gardens
As is the custom, we will end of journey with a gentle meander in a tranquil garden. This week we’re heading to the beautiful gardens at Glenveagh Castle on the shores of Lough Veagh. The castle is apparently modelled on Balmoral Castle, the British Royal Family’s holiday retreat in Scotland. The setting is County Donegal’s Glenveagh National Park, covering some 16,000 hectares making it Ireland’s second biggest national park.
And so we say goodbye to gorgeous County Donegal. Thanks again for joining me on the journey. It’s wonderful to have your company!
Take care of yourselves and each other,
Slán go fóill!