A few months ago, we decided to book our first trip away. Our adventure begins travelling around County Donegal for five days, venturing the Wild Atlantic Way and its many meandering roads, eating our way through the local cuisine and meeting some of the friendliest people on the planet.
Come join us on our voyage as we explore the hidden gems and beautiful landscapes that dwell in County Donegal.
Lough Foyle Ferry over to Greencastle
We left home around 10:30am and made a last minute change to our plans already. We decided to venture up to Magillian to access the Lough Foyle Ferry over to Greencastle, a cost of 12€ and 15 mins which saved us about an hours’ driving time! Money definitely well spent if you’re heading north.
As we disembarked the ferry, Greencastle resembles something similar to a holiday village, especially considering the decline in the fishing industry. However, fresh fish can still be purchased around the town. We stopped and had a wander about, making use of the public toilets and local shop, before heading off to Malin Head, located on the most northerly point of the Inishowen Peninsula.
Whilst on our drive we toured the winding roads, most of which were just wide enough for us to pass by another car.
Malin Head lies on the tip of the Inishowen Peninsula gazing out towards the Atlantic Ocean. It is well known for its epic coastal scenery, thriving wildlife and historical significance. We arrived at Malin Head around 1pm and we spent around about an hour and a half!
Travelling along the western side of the Wild Atlantic Way’s Inishowen Peninsula, leading towards the tip called Banba’s Crown, named after the mythological patron goddess of Ireland.
Banba was the goddess wife of King MacCuilhe, the ruler of the Tuatha de Danaan – an ancient civilisation of Ireland that was overpowered by the Celts. Banba had two sisters, Eriu and Fodla, they requested that the land be named for them. It appears the Celts prefered “Eriu Land”.
We came across “The Tower” which was built by the British Admiralty in 1805 as part of a series of buildings around the Irish coast to safeguard against a potential French invasion.
There are also WW2 look out posts, Malin Head was one of 83 coastal locations used to provide communications of wartime events all along the Irish Coastline. They had plenty to report during the early stages of the war as German U-boats attacked convoys in the area, as a result more ocean liners and German U-boats sunk off this stretch of coastline than anywhere else in the world.
The above photo shows the view from Banba’s Crown, looking down onto Ballyhillin Beach.
Ballyhillin beach is a unique raised beach system from 15,000 years ago, when the sea level was up to 100 feet higher than it is today, resulting in it having international scientific interest.
We headed for a ramble from Banba’s Crown along the western path leading towards ‘Hell’s Hole’ which is a remarkable subterranean cavern gouged out by the sea.
Exploring the various trails and paths leading around the headland, we got fantastic weather for this, we were very lucky, as looking at photos online before our adventure, most of them looked as if everyone was getting blown away!
Sort of makes us look like we were in a completely different county.
Afterwards we headed to the first campsite, Binion Bay!
Binion Bay Campsite
As we pulled up, anxious to start building the tent for the night… No one was around the campsite! A local man told us to ring a number on the side of the wall. Eventually after 15 minutes of trying, we got in contact and got the tent pitched (15€ for both of us). Took us 15/20 minutes. No WiFi but did have male and female toilets and showers. From where we pitched the tent the toilet block is about a 2 minute walk.
We both left the campsite at 4:30pm and went to the local town of Clonmany, ate in the local chippy – Tasty Bites… because Clonmany, regardless of its 7 bars which only served alcohol, only had one location to eat. 11.50€ for battered sausages, chips, can of coke and a 1/4lb cheese burger, chips and a can.
We left the chippy and went to McFeelys bar, they were setting up for the landlady’s 40th birthday but everyone made us feel so welcome even though we weren’t actually going to attend the party.
As we left the pub to head to the campsite, we headed to Binion bay itself, which appeared to be a bridge over water but inaccessible on the other side due to the amount of rainfall.
We left and went back to the campsite for the night, with it starting to get chilly we fell asleep at around 10pm, goodnight from day 1.