Saturday, July 12, 2008


Wednesday, we circled the Inishowen Peninsula of County Donegal. Inishowen is, to say the least, a heart-stopping place of staggering beauty. Our route took us to Malin Head, the northernmost point in Ireland. It also took us to Farren's, the northernmost pub in Ireland. (Things can get pretty wild in Farren's, although it was quiet enough when we were there.)

Our day started on the small ferry -- from which we watched a pair of horsemen take their mounts through the water to a gallop along the beach -- that transported us and the reliable Nissan across Lough Swilley to the town of Buncrana. From there, we proceeded north to Fort Duncree, where we hiked up to the redoubt overlooking the lough. Big surprise: Splendid views abounded. From Fort Duncree, we proceeded through the Mamore Pass to Dooagh, where we visited the Irish Famine Village. (Premium T. describes the village, which was not what we expected, here.) Then it was on to Malin Head and Farren's, where a young publican greeted us with a cheery Donegal "How are yiz?"

He took about three seconds to identify us as Americans and, after ascertaining where we were from, asked us if Seattle was near Oregon. Notably, he pronounced "Oregon" correctly -- it's "Ore-gun", not "Ore-gone" -- something almost no one outside of the Pacific Northwest manages. It turns out that just about everyone in Malin Head can pronounce the name correctly because one of local lads has a relative in Portland. Which explains the local man's nickname of "Oregon," although the publican admitted that he at first thought the nickname was "Organ." (As in, he said, a heart or a lung, but one wonders whether that's really what he thought.) We wound up chatting at length with a couple from Dublin who like Mediterraneo, our favorite Westport restaurant. Premium T. captured the ambience on film here.

From Farren's, we consulted our ordnance map and decided to track down a stone circle a few miles away. (BTW, the Ordnance Survey Ireland maps are indispensable for navigating the Byzantine back roads of this country. Among other things, they show the precise location of virtually every antiquity in Ireland.) Premium T. has become exceptionally adept at reading these necessary but tricky tools, and she got us to the site -- a cow pasture, as it happened -- without a hiccup.

We'd been out for a while by then, and from the stone circle cut straight down the peninsula, then over to Buncrana in time for the last ferry. This was our second trip to Donegal, but it won't be the last...

What? WHAT?  Next thing you know, the French will be drinking Australian wine and the Russians will be downing Scotch vodka...


PWally said...

I like your up-close and personal photo (as well as T's and Nita Lou's) so I decided to do the same. Ha!

Anonymous said...

Dreamy shots.
And handsome man shot too.