Europe | International | Ireland

Stunning. Wild. History. The Inishowen Peninsula for #IGTravelThursday

Last Updated on May 18, 2017 by Jody Halsted

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, Donegal, Ireland

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.

Fort Dunree, looking over Lough Swilly, County Donegal, Ireland

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.)

Irish Sheep, Inishowen Peninsula, County Donegal, IrelandOn 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.

Doagh Famine Village, Inishowen Peninsula, County Donegal, IrelandThe 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.

Mailin Head, Ireland's most northerly point. County DonegalMalin Head, Ireland’s most northerly point

View more images and tales of the Inishowen Peninsula at Ireland Family Vacations. And follow Family Rambling on Instagram for more images from our travels in Ireland and the US.

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12 Comments

  1. I wasn’t familiar with the Inishowen Peninsula – it looks look a great area to explore! The Famine Village must be a very difficult place to visit. My ancestors came to Canada from Ireland because of the famine and I found it very emotional just to visit Cork and see where they boarded the ship – I think I’d be a bit of a wreck hearing all the details.

    1. The Famine Village is very moving. Beyond the famine history, it goes into religious freedoms, and the fight for Irish liberty. It really is an incredible place.

  2. I got to visit this part of Ireland last fall and I was amazed by the beauty! I would really love to return and take my family! I loved walking Malin Head. That might have been my favorite bit! But it was all pretty fanTABulous!

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