A travel blog of Ireland and Europe

Donegal and Derry Highlights

Glenveagh

Some of the landscape shots from the previous Donegal post were taken in the Glenveagh National Park. Also in this park is Glenveagh Castle, a sort of folly (perhaps like Larnach’s Castle in NZ) built in Scottish Baronial style. Although it looks very pretty, set alongside the lough with beautiful parklands and gardens, the original story is grim. The owner evicted 244 people, tenants and their families, from the land to improve the aesthetics for his hunting parties.

There is a much happier history in later years. In 1938 it was purchased by a wealthy American whose grandfather had been born in the nearby village of Milford. In the 1970s he donated the castle and land to the Irish State and it is now the second largest of Ireland’s national parks.

St Columba

He is known for bringing Christianity to Scotland and setting up an abbey on the island of Iona, but his birthplace was in Donegal in 521. Here is the spot marking his birthplace, at the end of a long and scarily narrow road near Lough Gartan.

Derry

Derry is the only city in Ireland with an intact defensive wall. We walked quite some length of it, although not completely around. The first photo below is taken looking outwards from the wall. The second one is a rather dramatic shot of the war memorial in The Diamond, a city square. Incidentally, from this spot you can see all four gates in the city wall at the four points of the compass.

Guildhall

The Guildhall is a public building whose name reflects the settling in the city of members of London’s Guilds in the early 17th century (the same people who named it Londonderry). The building itself is a replacement of an earlier Guildhall, built as recently as 1890. It has some of the most magnificent and extensive stained glass that I have ever seen and here are a few examples.

Long Tower Church

 

Our friend Paddy had a close association with this church, St Columba’s, when, as a child, he attended the nearby “Wee Nun’s” school. The church is not large but ornately decorated. This is where, just a week after we visited, the republican politician and ex-IRA chief Martin McGuinness had his funeral service.

Malin Town

Just a pleasant little Irish village with a village green, somewhat unusual in Ireland. The hotel has a reputation for good food so we lunched there in style.

Giant’s Causeway

Pygmies on the Giant’s Causeway

Giant on the Pygmies’ Causeway

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

Finally, a shot of our intrepid explorer swinging her way across in a scary new direction, a fitting metaphor for the last three years in Ireland.

 

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