Few tourists make their way to the Inishowen Peninsula, the most northerly peninsula of Donegal, Ireland’s most northerly county. Even I, in a decade of Ireland travel, didn’t visit her most remote county.
Our tight schedule left us only 2 days to visit the northern part of County Donegal, and only one day to drive the Inishowen 100, the 100 mile driving loop around the peninsula.
While you can drive the Inishowen 100 in a day, you can’t see the peninsula in a single day, so we only made it half way around in the time we had. What we saw and experienced left us wanting more – which we plan to get in the fall when we drive the entire Wild Atlantic Way, a 2500 mile driving route along Ireland’s Atlantic Coast.
Sights from the Inishowen Peninsula
Grianan of Aileach ring fort on the Inishowen Peninsula. Centuries old and placed on a very high hill top. A place of importance ancient Ireland, possibly used for ritual and defense. You can climb the ancient stone steps to the top and see into three counties of Ireland and far into the Atlantic Ocean on a clear day.
Looking out over Lough Swilly into the Atlantic, Fort Dunree was an important British base through WWII. Yes, even after Ireland gained her independence, Fort Dunree remained a British naval base (Ireland was a neutral country during the 2nd World War.)
On the Inishowen Peninsula many sheep roam freely in the mountains and you’ll see them munching grasses along the roadside without a car for the cars passing by. These contented sheep were behind one of the very best woolen shops I’ve yet to visit – Glendowen Traditional Craft Studio & Shop. We spent far too much money on the hand made hats, sweaters, socks, and accessories.
The brightly painted windows and fresh whitewash mask the somber history found at the Doagh Famine Village. Far beyond learning of the Great Hunger, you learn that life on the Inishowen Peninsula was far removed from that of most of Ireland. Being so very remote, it was 1989 before the last remaining cottages – which were still being lived in – had electricity and running water. The tour here is led by the children (now adults) who lived in the original cottage with their parents. It’s one of the most moving famine tours I’ve ever experienced.
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