We know Donegal is a fantastic county but Inishowen, is in my opinion, Donegal’s own ‘special place’.
Inis Eoghain, meaning “Island of Eoghan” is Ireland’s largest peninsula and a place rich in history as well as geographical diversity.
Donegal’s Original Favourite Son…
Born in Gartan on the 7th December 521AD (died 597AD), Saint Colm Cille, also known as Columba, was a missionary monk who, during the Early Medieval Period, introduced Christianity to the Scottish. Colm Cille was one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland and on his father’s side he was great-great-grandson of Niall of the Nine Hostages, a key 5th century Irish high king. In 563 A.D. after departing Derry in a ‘curragh’ for the Scottish island of Iona to which he had been exiled, Colm Cille came ashore on a remote beach at the tip of Inishowen Head. The plan was to take water from the beach’s spring, but he also climbed the steep, difficult and dangerous hillside above the beach to take one final look at his beloved homeland. A plaque has been erected along the Inishowen Head loop walk to commemorate his departure from Irish shores and it’s worth taking a moment here, to stop and gaze across the waters to where the Scottish coast line is easily visible on a clear day.
Local groups in the Inishowen area, assisted by the area’s tourism group, ‘Inishowen Tourism’ (www.visitinishowen.com) have over the last few years been developing a series of loop walks around the peninsula.
Excellent work is also being done by the National Trails office (www.irishtrails.ie) which has, since its inception in 2007 over seen the inspection, installation, upgrading and registering of 43 waymarked trails.
Trails are spread throughout Donegal, as well as many counties of Ireland. They are a great resource and this coming bank holiday weekend is a great time to get out with friends and family on one of these accessible and scenic walks.
Inishowen Head is one such venue. It’s mostly a solid trail, that’s good underfoot, it’s well marked and the views are truly stunning! The walk can be completed as a loop or a portion can be completed as ‘an out and back’, in case time, weather or little legs don’t allow for the full journey to be completed.
The walk is well sign posted for its 8km length and any notices should be observed and adhered to. Good shoes, clothes relevant to the forecast, food and drink should be brought as this is a remote location, your last shop generally being in Greencastle.
For full details of the route click on the Irish Trails website link:
Remember to check the weather before you go; take a look at: www.met.ie
The Clipper Race 2012
Later this month, the Clipper Yacht race will arrive in Derry City. The dates for the visit are June 29th to July 7th (estimated) and when the ten strong fleet (also estimated!) sail into Lough Foyle on their 40,000mile journey, Inishowen Head will provide a fantastic vantage point for the arrival of these boats. Check http://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/index.php/the-race/the-route/
Photography: All photos by Bren Whelan – www.mountaintraining.ie