It was meant to be a dry day in April, so we decided to do a day trip to Inishowen. The plan was to drive up from co.Sligo in the morning and drive the Inishowen 100, a sign-posted drive bringing you to all the scenic locations along the peninsula of Inishowen. We had reached out to our twitter followers the day before and received a lot of recommendations of things to see and do. We were also warned that trying to do everything in a day would be a push, but more about that later.
After a quick enough drive towards Letterkenny, we headed towards Grianan of Aileach, a hilltop stone ringfort which demands amazing views towards the Inishowen peninsula.
After an informative break, we headed further along our route with next stop Inch Island. Inch Island is a wildfowl sanctuary popular with hibernating swans and geese who arrive from Iceland to enjoy the much milder climate of Donegal.
After a brief walk we decided to head further. Passing through Buncrana, we arrived soon afterwards at Dunree Fort. Dunree Fort is a coastal defence fortification which was originally built as a Royal Navy post during the Napoleonic Wars. Due to the strategic position of Dunree Fort protecting lough Swilly, The fort was used until after WWII. The fort is now a military museum exhibiting many restored canons and guns, it also includes a cafe, gift shop and many coastal walks.
Across from the Cafe is a small path which leads down the cliffs towards a small pier. The water here is azure blue and needs to be seen to be believed. After a bit of rockclimbing at the bottom of Dunree fort, we headed back along the inishowen 100 towards Malin Head. Next on our itinerary was the gap of Mamore, a twisty scenic road which weaves itself through the Gap between 2 mountains. On top of the gap are shrines and a Holy Well which is named St Eigne's well, a popular pilgrimage place.
Next stop was Glenevin Waterfall Park. The start of the walk is beside the Glen House Tea rooms. The walk follows the river which meanders through the valley as far as the waterfall itself. The waterfall is approx. 30 feet high and is a spectacular sight
Carrying on our journey, we crossed the bridge into the village of Malin. Ones you have crossed the bridge, turn left and follow the road along the shores towards Five Finger Strand. And what can we say about five finger Strand? We believe the pictures speak for themselves. It is amazing, the water is as clear as can be , the dunes flanking the beach are spectacular, the sun was beaming down on us, ... So we decided to take a 2 hour break and enjoy the views while the kids were building sandcastles.
The last part of the day was what I was most excited about,... Malin Head. I had stayed with my parents in Malin Head In those days, Malin Head was just famous for it's rugged coastline, great fishing and tatched cottages. This time around, Malin Head is famous for being part of the Wild Atlantic Way, but it is also famous for it being a film location for the up and coming Star Wars movie - The last jedi . And it showed, the amount of cars at Ireland's most Northerly point had taken up all available car park spaces.
Malin Head is spectacular. Where myself and my dad went fishing nearby Hell's Hole in 1984, this time around walkways had been installed along the coast towards Hell's Hole. Head in 1984 where they had rented a cottage for 4 weeks. In 1984, coming from Antwerp , Belgium , it felt like the most remote place on earth.
After this beautiful day in April, we were disappointed. Disappointed because we had to head back home and because we only had completed about 2/3 of the Inishowen 100. But were we disappointed about Inishowen. No we weren't. The amazing scenery, the fantastic tourist attractions, the friendly people of Donegal,... all of this wants us to carry on our trip, discover more and see more. So all we can say for now is " see you soon Inishowen."