Cliffs and Castles and Cairns, Oh My!

Trip Start Sep 10, 2009
Trip End Oct 10, 2009

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Flag of Ireland  , County Donegal,
Sunday, September 20, 2009

What a beautiful morning! The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and the air was crisp. Maisie served us our breakfast, and we were joined by the couple from Switzerland. When we finished eating, we left Castletown House and drove to Glencar Waterfall, which was about five miles down the road. The walk to the waterfall was along the rippling stream it produced. The waterfall itself was very pretty, and even though there had been no recent rainfall, quite full.

Our next stop was Mullaghmore Head, and we drove around it. While not having the dramatic cliffs of the other heads we had seen, it was a pleasant drive. We got out of the car to take pictures, and John handed me the key to the car. I had told him I would drive only on roads with no other cars, and that’s where we were. It wasn’t bad, but I think he was more nervous than I was. I turned the car over to him after I drove through the pretty little town.

Once back on the main road, we found the Creevykeel Court Tomb, which was built in

3,000 B.C. and is one of the finest court tombs in Ireland. We prowled around it for a while, then headed north to County Donegal.

We had hoped to stop in Beleek to see the porcelain factory, but because it was Sunday, everything was closed. We continued into Donegal Town and went to the tourist information center. We got info on some b&b’s, and received books and pamphlets on other towns.

We walked up the hill to Donegal Castle and toured it. It was beautifully preserved, and the self-guided tour was quite informative. We walked up the trap stairway, which was spiral with steps of different heights to thwart any approaching enemy. The banquet room was furnished with table and chairs and decorated quite nicely with a boar’s head on the wall.

After our tour, we crossed the street to the Castle Bar and had soup and sandwiches for lunch.

The weather was starting to turn. Ominous gray clouds had moved in, and the wind was picking up. We had planned to stay in Killybegs just west of Donegal Town and see some of the sights on Monday, but the incoming weather made us reconsider.

We drove to the coast and up to the Slieve League cliffs, the highest cliffs in Europe. The drive up to the car park was a bit scary because at times I could look right down at the far away ocean. The cliffs lived up to their billing, and we were duly impressed. We saw the couple from our b&b there, and he told me we could walk up to the top of the cliff, and I laughingly told him we would follow them. He laughed at me and they got in their car.

We went then to the town of Glencolumbkille. Practically everything was shut down, so we drove around a bit. I had heard of the Glencolumbkille Turas, which was a series of ancient sites. Because we didn’t have a Turas map, we found only two of the sites and gave up.

We decided to stay in the town of Ardara which was north, rather than go back to Killybegs. I called ahead to a b&b and we went on.

We found the Bayview Country House with no trouble and checked in. Marian and her two delightful grandchildren welcomed us. Charlie is five, and Ellen is ten. Charlie walked out to the car with me to get some bags, chattering all the way. Marian gave us some suggestions for dinner, and we soon left.

We went to Weavers Bistro at the local hotel, and had a wonderful dinner. We spoke with a couple of the locals, admired a fat little baby, and went back to the b&b to Skype our own babies.

Today was the culmination of a week of the All-Ireland football competition. I think tourists were the only ones on the road--everyone else was in the pubs or home in front of the TV. All week we saw pennants flying and flags waving as we drove through the various towns and counties. Each county has their colors, their flag, and their pride. This is a very big deal, and many towns had signs wishing their boys luck with the county team. It came down to Cork and Kerry in the final, and Kerry was heavily favored. It was reported on the news that some women from Cork crossed the border into Kerry and painted the white line down the middle of the road Cork red. Kerry’s colors are green and gold, and I’m sure the Kerry fans were truly “seeing red”. Kerry won the cup for the 36th time, and that’s all there is, sports fans.

Before we went to bed, the wind picked up, and rain started hitting our window. It did not bode well for our plans for the next day, but the weather is totally out of our control. What will be, will be.
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