3RD SEPTEMBER Cruising and driving the Inishowen Peninsula

Image result for ferry from rathmullen

RATHMULLAN TO BUNCRANA FERRY – just happened to arrive at the same time as the ferry so did a change of plan and hit for the Inishowen Peninsula.

The pier we landed at in Buncrana was the scene of tragedy last year when a car slipped into the sea and five from the same family were drowned. Today families are playing and fishing there!

Image result for dunree fort Image result for dunree fort

DUNREE (taken from info at entrance to museum)

Lough Swilly has long been of immense historical significance. The Norsemen and later the Anglo-Normans and the mercenary soldiers, the Gallowglasses used the Swilly when coming to Ireland

The Flight of the Earls, O’Neill and O’Donnell into exile took place from Rathmullan in September 1607. Wolfe Tone was taken under naval arrest into Buncrana in 1798 and In more recent times during World War I, the Grand Fleet sheltered in the Lough.

Near to the spot where Wolfe Tone was brought ashore in 1798 a small fort was erected to guard against the possible return of a French invasion fleet.
In the late 19th Century the fort was modernised and enlarged with the building of the, ‘Top Fort’ on Dunree Hill. During World War I it stood guard whilst Admiral Lord Jellicoe’s fleet anchored in Lough Swilly prior to engaging the German Navy at the Battle of Jutland.

During World War II Irish forces were stationed at Fort Dunree to prevent the warring nations violating the country’s neutrality.

Today Fort Dunree houses a fascinating display of military memorabilia and artefacts as well as an array of large guns from the 20th Century.

Displaying 20160903_155825.jpg


An exciting journey through the bleakest of terrains. Other than a sign indicating THE WILD ATLANTIC WAY (N) this road was unsignposted. The car pictured in front had stopped ME to ask direction!!!! and we planned to travel in convoy until we met someone. This guy was driving home the cattle and had no idea why we were travelling this route – “There’s nothing to be seen up here”. Anyway we made it back to civilization.

what a treat – came upon this attraction quite by chance – a random pamphlet on the hotel reception display. BUT WHAT AN ATTRACTION!!!

The whole attraction is built around and includes original thatched dwellings which were still inhabited up until 1983 by the owners family and the tour guide, Pat Doherty. Its a selection of life size displays portraying life in Ireland from the 1840s until the present day.

Original Thatched Dwellings

One of my favourite exhibitions was “The Irish Wake”. Pat’s stories about the traditions that are associated with the wake and how similar they are to customs in other countries were amazing

Irish Wake

Orange Hall

Religion has played a major part in Irish history. In the late eighteenth century many people from the Established Church felt under threat from Irish rebels and so they set up an organisation to help protect themselves.

The Catholic Church was not the only persecuted group – the Presbyterian Church suffered and had to met in secret in such places as barns and forges. They called their informal places of worship ‘Meeting Houses’.

Catholics met at Mass Rocks which are still to be found scattered throughout the country. mass was celebrated in secret. The stories of hedge schools was also part of this exhibition.

Mass Rock

One of the latest additions to the Famine Village and the idea for it came from long term republican prisoner Eddie Gallagher. A safe house was a place of refuge by those running from the authorities.

Republican Safe House

It was a place with secret passage ways where the escapee could hide. Each room in the safe house tells part of the story of the road to peace in Northern Ireland. During this journey you will meet Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams sitting side by side. And, not only that, the story also covers more recent historical events including Martin McGuiness and the Queen.

Image result for doagh famine village      Image result for doagh famine village Image result for doagh famine village

I’ve always loved history … but there were facts and stories here that I’d never heard before.

Displaying 20160903_181850.jpg

Just over a year ago, I went to Mizen Head … now on Malin – amazing!

I’ll visit again to see the Northern Lights. It was too overcast tonight.

Image result for malin head

Displaying 20160903_195354.jpg

You couldn’t visit a peninsula and not think of seafood! Had the most wonderful seafood dinner here – crab mornay to die for!!!!


Esky Bay & The Curiosity Shop Malin Head is located between Malin Town and Malin Head Banbas Crown on the coast road. The Curiosity Shop in Malin Head is the country’s most northerly shop. Owner Peter McAvenue also acts as a tour guide for ‘Inishowen Tourism’ and stocks all sorts of brochures for things to see and do across the Inishowen Peninsula. I could have spent hours chatting with Peter and looking through the many curios on display. Instead spent my money and bought a “whimsy” that resembled one Mam had in 32, a really nice Guinness glass, a tea pot and a quaint seagull fishing ashtray!

Didn’t buy the 2 gorgeous cast iron Herons – they would have looked super in the garden …. maybe next time!!!



Author: Breda Fay

I'm retired since end August 2016 and loving the new life! More time now for family and friends and to explore craft, history, travel and certainly more of a chance for, me-time. To paraphrase Seuss: I've no tears that (teaching) is over; but many smiles that it happened!

One thought on “3RD SEPTEMBER Cruising and driving the Inishowen Peninsula”

  1. Hello Ms Fay,
    I can see you are enjoying your retirement.
    Such lovely pictures and thank you very much for all these historical informations.

    Take care of yourself
    Kind regards Martina

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.