DONEGAL AND THE CAUSEWAY COAST (Glenveagh National Park and Carrickfinn Beach)

Day 2: Port Noos and Narin

A short drive from Rosbeg took me to these two little places, well known to golfers. Lovely, lovely beach again so off I set for another long wander which really was bliss. There was a tidal island to walk out to, Inishkeel, but I’d arrived too near high tide and never made it out to see the ruined churches and medieval Christian remains.

Narin/Port Noo Beach

I don’t usually eat breakfast, just gallons of tea and a bit of fruit so hunger pangs were beginning. The only café open was attached to the Port Noos campsite and I didn’t hold out much hope it would be any good but, how wrong I was (not unusual!)

Had the best rhubarb pie and cream, demolishing it sitting outside in the warm sunshine. Chatted for ages to a nice friendly couple from Glasgow who were over to stay with their daughter and now making a bit of a road trip of it. Big connections between Donegal and Glasgow.

It was a very pleasant drive from here up towards Donegal airport where Carrickfinn beach was on my agenda. But before that , I took a minor road out to a truly beautiful area, near Kincasslagh. Delightful houses dotted the indented coast, with boats moored on the sand at low tide. Very, very lovely area.

The airport at Donegal has been voted the second most beautiful landing in the world (though I think the Isle of Barra’s famous beach landing must be about equal.) I could see Mount Errigal now, looking very impressive. The area is known as The Rosses and reminded me a little of south – west Mull. Pink and grey granite rocks, pale sands and turquoise seas. Carrickfinn was very busy though you could have walked for miles and soon left everyone behind. Tory Island sat offshore looking very alluring.

Errigal Mountain

Glenveagh National Park

Errigal Mountain and Glenveagh National Park were next. It was a fine day for a hill walk but I also wanted to see Glenveagh Castle and enjoy something of the estate itself. Decisions, decisions – pushing on and enjoying Glenveagh won. Stopped off to admire the beautiful Sacred Heart church near Gweedore which is overlooked by Errigal mountain, in a wonderfully scenic area.

A shuttle bus takes visitors from the car park to the castle along a beautifully scenic road past Lough Veagh and below the mountains. The castle is late 19th century so doesn’t look very old, in fact a bit of a pastiche but in a fine situation; the rich always did pick the best spots. The café was struggling to cope with the visitor numbers, even late afternoon, but I squeezed, eventually, a seat outside in the beautiful gardens to have my tea and cake. Then a half hour’s wander through the estate beyond the main grounds, where various routes promised nice quiet walks away from the crowds.I was managing about 24,000 steps a day so far and enjoying the exercise in the (so far) lovely weather.

Lough Veagh

I didn’t have anywhere booked yet for tonight so thought I’d get over to Dunfanaghy where there would be wi fi. It was a short drive away and a very attractive wee place in a nice situation. Got a seat in the excellent Patsy Dan’s pub, ordered tea and sat back to browse what accommodation was available nearby. The pub had a great atmosphere and almost immediately, a live band struck up some traditional tunes, sung by a girl with a soft , clear voice.

Dunfanaghy
Dunfanaghy

I was just deciding whether to eat here when suddenly I was surrounded by a large family, grabbing every available seat round my table. Soon, I was in conversation with the Mum, who was very interested in me traipsing about on my own. We had a nice chatty 20 mins or so then they ordered food. I just felt I was taking up space so gave up my seat to give everyone elbow room, despite their protestations. Luckily, I’d also found a nice looking Airbnb about 25 mins drive away so had a bed for the night. I wish now I’d just stayed on because I liked that place and the family. Instead, I was slightly worried about leaving it too late to find my accommodation, in fading light, so I wanted to get nearer it at least and get my bearings. Soon found the cross-roads at Falcarragh from which I had directions to the Airbnb, so stopped off at the less attractive (and dead quiet) village and got a decent fish and chips in one of the pubs.It did feel a wee bit depressing though after the liveliness of Dunfanaghy.

15 mins winding driving later  and  – with excellent instructions thankfully –  I found the large bungalow of Ann and her husband and their two young children. Spacious, clean room  with en suite and an ultra quiet location with views to the mountains.Perfect.

Next day: DONEGAL AND THE CAUSEWAY COAST (Horn Head, one of Ireland’s Best Beaches and Fanad Head Lighthouse)

Previous Day :DONEGAL AND THE CAUSEWAY COAST (Glenveagh National Park and Carrickfinn Beach)

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