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The ring of Malin. Of forts and crabs and a chef that fed Mrs Thatcher!
The ring of Malin. Of forts and crabs,
and a chef that fed Mrs Thatcher!
Donegal Diary - Day 2
Quite often on holidays, I've been lucky with the weather.
Today, I was privileged. The weather gods were at their collective kindest as I
did the circle of the beautiful Inishowen Peninsula in the North East of Donegal.
Fish too played a major role today. Firstly at the SeaviewTavern in Malin Head, the
tavern found only because we took a wrong turn.
Here the Head Chef was none other
than Roland Heuston. During the Thatcher reign, Roland spent five years at the head
of the House of Commons chefs and House of Commons chefs and later played a similar
key role in Stormont. Must say his platter of local seafood (see pic) was divine
as was the starter of Crab Bisque (€4.50)
The Seaview platter!
Proprietor Michael had time for a chat with all his
lunchtime tables and he called twice to us. The food was class and so too were
the staff in this excellent restaurant, well equipped inside, even if it has a corrugated
Crab was also the final meal of the day as our hostess at
our cottage had too much for her own needs and handed us a pot of them - and
the hammer to crack them open. A bottle of Campo Viejo Reserva (2007) was put to
good use as we tucked into the claws while sitting on a long stone seat facing
The sun had been with us also as we passed through beautiful
Buncrana earlier in the day and then when we arrived at Fort Dunree that once guarded
Lough Swilly against the French but is now
a military museum. Pity that it wasn't open until 1.00pm and quite a few
customers were disappointed.
On the way to Malin Head, we passed through the spectacular Mamore
Gap with great views out to the ocean. Strange offerings at a small collection
of religious statues just below the pass, everything from socks to a toothbrush,
even an Elvis Presley cigarette lighter. Don’t know the story there.
We had decided to do the Malin trip because of the possible
change in the weather and we got some terrific views by following the Inishowen
100 signs. The head itself, with no facilities and the ugly remains of some old
watch towers, wasn’t the greatest and we didn’t linger too long there. But the
village below and its beaches, not to mention the Seaview, were fantastic.
Indeed, the lunch at the Seaview was the highlight of our trip
down the eastern side, which overlooks Lough Foyle. Moville was another little town
that we called to and here the people were making the best of the glorious weather,
walking along the seaside paths and paddling in the pleasantly warm waters.
Grianan of Aileach
Soon we, almost without knowing it, ended up in Northern
Ireland – the 40 mile per hour limit signs gave it away. But it was the
briefest of moments and soon we were heading away from the Foyle Bridge towards
Grianan of Aileach, our second fort of the day.
This was open. It is situated in a place called Burt, just
off the Derry-Letterkenny Road. It is 800 feet above sea level and gives great
views of the Foyle, Lough Swilly and the nearby countryside. It seems that
there has been a fort on this site for about 1500 years but substantial
restoration work was carried out in 1870. Today, the site is a National
Monument and a tourist attraction and entrance is free.
Visit finished, we soon rejoined the main road and arrived
in Downies an hour later to be surprised by the gift of crabs. Surprised and delighted.
Another long day. Reckon tomorrow’s post could be much shorter – but you never
know! back to diary index