Wild and… rainy… Donegal

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Loughros Bay

Post written by Laura

Located on the North West coast of Ireland Donegal is a wonderful place to visit for a few days… or longer if you are fortunate enough to have more time!

I spent last weekend having a mini Irish adventure with a group of 10 friends, old friends and new friends alike: hiking up Slieve Tooey; taking a boat trip around Donegal Bay; catching a glimpse of the Wild Atlantic Way and spending each night soaking up the Irish atmosphere in traditional pubs with traditional music!

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Small harbour at Mullaghmore

Having arrived in torrential rain on Friday lunchtime we picked up two hire cars from Knock airport and drove to Mullaghmore on the coast where lunch in a cozy cafe overlooking the windswept harbour seemed a good idea!

What else can one do when its pouring with rain in Ireland than spend lots of time in the pub! Donegal is lively in the evenings and reaches a peak at around midnight! Locals and visitors alike don’t seem to go out until late and continue with live music until the early hours of the morning.

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Steve, me, Frances, Roger, Sonia (Peter took the photo)

For various illness related reasons (and surprisingly not hangovers!) only 6 of the 10 of us participated in the Slieve Tooey climb last Saturday. En-route to the start of the hike at the Maghera Caves car park we stopped to look at a picturesque waterfall.

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Team Slieve Tooey: me, Frances, Roger, Steve, Peter and Sonia

We met Kevin, our mountain guide at the car park and after a short safety briefing he led us up towards Slieve Tooey. Thankfully the rain had just about stopped as we began our climb and we could see wonderful views of the Loughros Peninsula.

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Climbing up through the heather
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A lake high up in the mountains!
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At the summit of Slieve Tooey!

Being next to the Atlantic County Donegal and the west Irish coastline often takes a battering from the brunt of the UK weather systems and last weekend was no exception. Reaching the 511 m summit of Slieve Tooey happened to coincide with the arrival of the tail end of Tropical Storm Ernesto whose driving rain soaked us to the skin and massive gusts of wind blew us all over the place!

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Irish coffees in Nancy’s Bar, Ardara

Our climb and hike across Slieve Tooey took 5 – 6 hours and Irish coffees in Nancy’s Bar in Ardara on the way back was a good call! After a welcome warm shower this was followed by a delicious 4 course meal at the rather swanky Harveys Point in the evening!

 

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Seals at Donegal Bay

Thankfully the weather improved on Sunday morning and we enjoyed a somewhat serene boat trip on Donegal’s WaterBus which took us around Donegal Bay for an hour or so. The starting point was next to the Abbey Hotel where we had stayed at for our weekend in Donegal.

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Blue skies at last!

We checked out and headed back towards Knock airport. This time we had better views of the fabulous Wild Atlantic Way as we drove back to Mullaghmore.

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Coastline near Mullaghmore
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Bridget and me!
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Seafood Chowder, soda bread and Guinness

One of the great pleasures of travelling is the opportunity to sample delicious local food. Guinness… obviously… (although only half a pint for me) and seafood chowder with soda bread are Irish specialities and made a delightful lunch to finish our fab weekend!

This has inspired me to take a longer trip in the future to drive the full length of the Wild Atlantic Way and the Ring of Kerry! With maybe some hiking along the way…

And thank you to Peter for organising such an excellent weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

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