Motorhome and Away
Ireland 2018 - Donegal

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Continuing our planned route we drove back up the west coast of Inishowen Peninsula to Fort Dunree then headed across narrow roads to Doagh Isle and the Famine Village. This is an excellent museum of rural life in Ireland over the centuries with typical dwellings and informative displays of Irish history until modern times. The entry fee included a hot drink and scone and a chance to sample some poittin (potcheen) Irish whiskey made from potatoes, and illegal until 1997. Nearby were delightful almost deserted sandy beaches backed by amazing rock formations.

Doagh famine village
Doagh Famine Village
Doagh beach and rocks
Beach at Doagh Isle
Doagh rock formations
rock formations

We looped back to Derry and took the road to Letterkenny and back up to the northern coast to the Rosguill peninsula where everywhere had multiple place names, reaching Downings (or Downies or Na Dunaibh in Gaelic) and took the stunning narrow road around the clifftops, signposted as part of the WAW. Eventually we spotted a small sign pointing up another narrow lane towards Melmore Head, to reach Rosguill Holiday Park and got a pitch overlooking empty sandy beaches. We decided to stay put for a couple of days as the weather was sunny and calm. We walked to the nearby Tranarossan Bay following a signed track which vanished just past the youth hostel in a field of scrapped cars and farm junk. In this part of Ireland it appears there are no marked coastal footpaths.

Glenveagh castle
Glenveagh Castle

After our lazy day we drove through attractive farm and moorland to Glenveagh National Park where the parking and entry to the grounds was free. We walked alongside the lough to the castle estate and after wandering around the colourful gardens, took the shuttle bus back the four kilometres to the visitor centre where we learnt about the terrible history of land clearances carried out in the nineteenth century. We had read that it is possible for motorhomes to stay overnight in the car park. After lunch we drove a short distance to Glebe House and art gallery. An attractive Regency house which was the home of the artist Derek Hill, containing many works of his own and other famous artists as well as some paintings by the primitive artists who lived on Tory Island off the north Donegal coast. The house was visited by many famous people whom he sketched, and it is furnished as it was when handed to the state in 1982. Unfortunately only guided tours are offered which was a pity as there was so much to see. At the entrance there was a "Free wee library" surely the world's smallest, and we were amused by the sign in the grounds reminding visitors that "Winter weather brings high winds, heavy rain, ice and snow. Winter weather can occur at any time of the year in Donegal. Please do not visit this site during bad weather." Luckily we enjoyed an untypical sunny day.

Glebe House the free wee library
Beach by Rosguill campsite 
View from Rosguill Holiday Park

Glenveagh castle gardens
Glenveagh Castle gardens

Glebe House artist residence
Glebe House and gallery
Glebe House amusing sign
Glebe House Gardens sign

As we wanted to visit the Ulster American Folk Park back in Northern Ireland, we drove back to Letterkenny and found a newly opened C&MC Certificated Location near Drumquin, a few miles north of Omagh, where the owner greeted us with freshly made cakes!