Thursday, August 19, 2010

Going to Donegal

Signs in Irish and English.
County Donegal is known for it's Irish speaking population, traditional music in the pubs and the largest population of Protestants in Ireland, complete with their own Loyal Orange Lodge.  I guess these folks didn't vote for separation from England and are still not very happy about it.

Great Hall at Castle Donegal.

Beautiful beamed ceiling, assembled with pegs, not nails.

The town of Donegal is bult around a castle.  There is a diamond in the center of town, but unlike Kilrea's it has more than a monument, it is actually what one would think of as a town square, only diamond shape.  There are an abundance of shops, pubs and cafes, all over run with tourists.  The castle was built by the O'Donnell's in the 900's, then taken over by the English in  the 1690's.  There have been recent restorations, with a roof put on the tower and wooden floors replaced.  The top floor, which was originally sleeping quarters for servants and soldiers, was left out so we could admire the frame work for the new roof, which was done with pegs not nails.
The Diamond of Donegal Town.

When we decided to stay in town for the evening, we visited Failte Ireland, the tourist bureau, where a delightful young man booked us a room in the Island View B&B for the bargain rate of euro 60 per night.

Island View B & B

Our bedroom; this looks grey, but it was really lavender.
The place was clean, pretty, friendly and had a great view.  Our dinner was at a pub, with so-so fish and chips, washed down by a pint of Guinness.

A walk down by the river, which is tidal, brought us to the ruins of an Abbey.  There are a few walls and foundations still standing, but every other square inch of ground is filled with graves.  In one family plot, 14 names were listed on one stone!  Since Catholism was banned from 1690 until 1836, this was one of the previously sanctified places to bury the dead.
This lily was developed by a gentleman we met in Arcata on the northern California coast many years ago.  Here is is growin Ireland!

Breakfast the next morning was delicious bacon, sausage, and eggs with very good coffee.  In the breakfast room we talked to 2 pairs of women from the US.  The older pair were from Chicago and Detroit, while the younger were from Chicago and Iowa.  They were each on the "12 Days in Ireland Run Around Until You Are Exhausted Tour", both self driving and having a great time!  Neither pair had visited the North.
A rainbow from our bedroom window.

We thank our hostess and head off for the day.

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