25th July 2016
Croagh Patrick
25th July 2016

Beautiful Donegal

‘So, then, fare thee well, sweet Donegal, the Rosses and Gweedore’.
These are the opening lines of a song made famous a number of years ago by the well- known group, The Emmet Spiceland. These words were on my mind some time ago as Mary, Rebecca and I bid farewell to this place of wondrous beauty. My wife, daughter and I had spent three weeks in the Donegal area and were now heading south to our home in County Tipperary. We had made many new friends during our short stay in Donegal and will always remember the warmth and friendliness of the local people. They really made us feel at home.

‘The Boys of Killybegs’ was one of the songs immortalised by musician/singer Dermot O’ Brien. But perhaps the greatest day in the history of this fishing port was when the President of Ireland, Mrs. Mary McAleese, attended the annual Blessing of the Fleet ceremony on Saturday, 1st August 1998. In her speech the President made particular reference to the work of the Lifeboat Institution. To the north of Killybegs lie beautiful Glenties and Dungloe. A tour of the Atlantic Drive is unforgettable. Sheep Haven Bay, Mulroy Bay and Tranarossan Bay leave lasting impressions on the visitor.

O’ Donnell’s Castle, situated in Donegal Town, was a hive of activity. Tourists from all over the world visit this ancient fortress, built in 1474 by Hugh Roe O’Donnell. His son, Red Hugh, was immortalised in the song entitled, ‘O’ Donnell Abu’. This was one of the first songs we were taught in Primary school, back in the 50’s.

Our daughter, Rebecca, was particularly interested in the Old Franciscan Abbey, which was also founded in 1474 by the O’ Donnells. In fact, they are buried in the grounds of the Abbey. The ‘Annals of the Four Masters,’ one of the most famous records of Ireland’s history, was compiled in the Abbey.
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