Waking up at the Rosguill Holiday Park, it was a very wet and windy morning. We awoke around 6:45am and decided to get up and access the showers. Excellent facilities on the campsite, the showers could only be accessed by a key you receive on check in. The key lets you use the male/female/unisex toilet blocks and access the male and female showers also, which is a rather spacious wet room with a shower, hooks for towels and a toilet. 1€ is enough for 6mins especially if you only want a quick wash. Only downside was the shower button had to be repeatedly pressed every 15secs to keep the shower on.
Included with the stay, much to our surprise was also access to a small kitchen, with a fridge, sink, kettle and toaster. Freshly toasted bread and jam for breakfast and a hot cup of tea – never had we been so happy, after such a miserable morning.
Waterproofs on, we packed up our tent and accessories and left at around 9am.
Dunfanaghy Workhouse Museum
We travelled to Dunfanaghy a former fishing village, now a small town in the North West of Co.Donegal. Before the Plantation, Dunfanaghy was the territory of the Mag Fhionnghaile (McGinley clan), a clan of the the Cineál Luidhdheach and a branch of the greater Cineál Chonaill. The McGinley clan held their territory here under the guardianship of the powerful Mac Suibhne (McSweeney) clan, a clan of Scottish origin.
As in many parts of Ireland in the mid nineteenth century, a Workhouse was fashioned nearby for the detention and preservation of the impoverished local people. The first of the occupants were admitted in June 1845, at the beginning of the Great Famine up until 1922. It was opened as a museum on the 15th of July 1995 by Mary Robinson (First female president of Ireland).
Access to the museum costs €4.50 each, which includes access to the small gift shop, café and a self-guided walk with audio guides for the museum itself. Note there is no Wi-Fi inside the museum, although there is a desktop PC available to use, for a small donation. The tour takes you back in time to the famine and the opening of the workhouse, the struggles of daily life and the story of Wee Hannah, a 10 year old during the Famine, who struggled to survive.
We spent about an hour here and seeing as the weather had turned for the worse, we didn’t overly mind being indoors for a change. After concluding our tour we headed for the car and made our way to the Bloody Foreland.
Bloody Foreland or “Cnoc Fola” (The Hill of Blood) originates from the evening sun which illuminates the rocks along this section of the coast, producing a natural rich red tone to the granite cliffs. In the autumn months a thick covering of fern enflames the hillside with a russet-red-brown colouring. Bloody Foreland has no background in factual history to claim the title “bloody”; however folklore accounts that of one predominantly unlikable warlord “Balor of the Evil Eye”.
Balor was a giant with a large singular eye in his forehead that inflicted devastation when opened, the God of drought and blight, a rather unfriendly fellow. Legend says that when he was a boy he had peered into a potion being brewed by his father’s druids and the fumes leaking out had caused him to grow one huge, poisonous eye.
Balor one day hears a foretelling that states he will be killed by his grandson, so he drowns his daughter’s three sons in the sea. One is saved by Sea God, Mananán. Raised as his foster son. He grows up to become Lugh, king of Tuatha Dé Dannan and slays Balor on the slopes of Cnoc Fola. Indeed, some say that the wave of blood which flowed from Balor’s evil eye stained the hillside and gave it its name.
Regardless of its origin, the Bloody Foreland is seriously impressive. The views from Árainn Mór, Gabhla to Tory Island, and Horn Head are outstanding. Along with the coastal path too, reveals stunning views with every crease in the cliff face. Sea stacks, coves shear drops and booming waves crashing on the rocks far below is as atmospheric as it gets. This really is the Wild Atlantic Way.
Toraigh, or Tory Island lies nine miles off the coast of Gaoth Dobhair and is the most northerly inhabited island of Ireland. Hard quartzites have formed the high sea cliffs of the north of the island. Here the sea has sculpted “the place of towers” from which the island takes its name. The land also tapers to the south where less resistant granite slopes are covered in a thin layer of turf bog. No trees grow on Tory Island; it is bare and often battered by the westerly winds.
Look out for seabird populations of all kinds, from fulmars and kittiwakes to gannets and sometimes puffins. Marine wildlife such as seals, dolphins and whales have been spotted from the coastal pathway also.
Next stop, Sleepy Hollows Campsite.