Celebrating Earth and Life at Sliabh Liag (Slieve League)

It was like a dream… Waking up to a beautiful sunrise in Ireland, eating a fulfilling traditional Irish breakfast and venturing out while having the opportunity to take in all the breathtaking views. It was a birthday I will never forget.

Sliabh Liag, sometimes called Slieve League or Slieve Liag (Irish: Sliabh Liag), is a mountain on the Atlantic coast of County Donegal, Ireland. The towering cliffs are among the highest sea cliffs in Europe. From their highest point, it’s a staggering 609m (almost 2000 foot) drop into the swirling Atlantic Ocean below. Full of color and magic, I was awestruck as we climbed higher and took in the view of the cliffs reaching out towards the horizon.

History across the cliffs:

On the high slopes of Slieve League there are remains of an early Christian monastic site, with chapel and beehive huts. There are also ancient stone remains that suggest that the mountain was a site of pilgrimage before the arrival of Christianity. At Carrigan Head, on the way to the main viewing area, you can see a Signal Tower built in the early years of the 19th century to watch for a possible French invasion. Close to the viewing area you can see stones, which marked out the word “Éire” as a navigation aid for aircraft during World War II.

I would recommend a stop at the Slieve League Cliffs Center and maybe book a guided walk, hike or even a boat tour. A Belfast naturalist Robert Lloyd Praeger wrote in 1939 wrote about one of the many hiking paths found at this location:

 “One Man’s Path”, is one of the most remarkable walks to be found in Ireland – not actually dangerous, but needing a good head and careful progress on a stormy day….The northern precipice, which drops 1500 feet into the coomb surrounding the Little Lough Agh, harbours the majority of the alpine plants of Slieve League, the most varied group of alpines to be found anywhere in Donegal.

Slieve League left me speechless and is a place that I hope to see again; I could easily spend a few days hiking in this area. I promise, our next stop will not disappoint you either! See you soon.

To view Dan’s images from this day, visit his blog at: http://traun-photo.com/dan/slieve-league/

 

River Glen, County Donegal

From Donegal Town, we traveled to Carrick and on through Teelin.  Our goal for this day was to explore the sixth highest sea cliffs in all of Europe; an area known as Slieve League.

The River Glen flowing through Carrick was quite picturesque. I could envision the faerie folk frolicking near the water’s edge.  Closer to Teelin the river widens as it flows towards the coast and fishing boats rested at low tide along the riverbanks. This birthday, April 18th, was unlike any other and it turned out to be so memorable that I remember the serenity of the day perfectly.

See you at Slieve League!

The Town of Donegal and Donegal Castle

On our next leg of the journey, we explored the area between Dunlewey and the town of Donegal. We stayed close to the coast and followed N56, traveling through Dungloe, Lettermacaward and Bogagh on our way to our next B & B, Ardlenagh View B&B, which was a short distance from the town of Donegal. We stayed our third night and started our fourth day in Irelend in this wonderful town. After and good night sleep and fulfilling breakfast, we toured the Donegal Castle and stopped in a few of the local shops. Everyone we ran into so far on this trip was welcoming and extremely friendly.

Donegal Castle is a castle situated in the centre of Donegal Town in County Donegal in Ulster, Ireland. For most of the last two centuries, the majority of the buildings lay in ruins, but the castle was almost fully restored in the early 1990s.

The castle consists of a 15th-century rectangular keep with a later Jacobean style wing. The complex is sited on a bend in the River Eske, near the mouth of Donegal Bay, and is surrounded by a 17th-century boundary wall. There is a small gatehouse at its entrance mirroring the design of the keep. Most of the stonework was constructed from locally sourced limestone with some sandstone. The castle was the stronghold of the O’Donnell clan, Lords of Tír Conaill and one of the most powerful Gaelic families in Ireland from the 5th to the 16th centuries.

This was a fun filled day and one of the most memorable birthdays thus far! See you at our next stop.

County Donegal and the Old Dunlewey Church

After spending the morning hiking and taking in the sights of Glenveagh Castle and its grounds, we traveled the roads heading south to our next bed and breakfast and found many treasures along the way.

Not too far from Glenveugh National Park, near Gweedore in County Donegal lies a gem in ruins… The Old Church of Dunlewey. I could only imagine what beauty this church once held and would have loved to see the stained glass that adorned the windows. Constructed of white marble and blue quartzite, I am sure this building will stand for many years to come. It is a beautiful building and is a lasting memorial to a great love affair. That of James Russell, once the landlord of the Dunlewey estate in Donegal, and his wife Jane.

Nestled at the foot of Errigal (the hightest mountain in County Donegal) and overlooking the beautiful Poisoned Glen sits the beautiful ‘Old Church of Dunlewey’.

Jane Smith Russell had the church built as a memorial to her husband, James Russell, landlord of the Dunlewey Estate, who died on 2nd September 1848.  James Russell was laid to rest in a vault under the church floor.  The church was consecrated on 1st September 1853 as a Chapel of Ease to Tullaghabegley.  Tullaghabegley was the parish consisting of the present-day Gweedore and Cloughaneely parishes.

The church is built of white marble and blue quartzite which was quarried locally.  The supply of marble in the nearby quarry has now been depleted.  The red brick in the arches of the windows was produced locally.  Remnants of the brickfield are still visible near Oilean Ghrainne when the level of the lake is lowered.

Stop by and see Dan’s images if the Old Dunlewey Church: http://traun-photo.com/dan/dunlewey-church/

Glenveagh National Park, County Donegal

We would have loved to stay longer in Northern Ireland and will definitely be back one day. Onward to our next stop…  Ardlenagh View B&B  near the town of Donegal in the Republic of Ireland. There is much to see in County Donegal such as, Donegal Castle, Glenveagh, Slieve League (one of my favorite areas), the Atlantic Way, and many others. We made our way around the northwestern tip of the Republic of Ireland and stopped to see the sights that Glenveagh National Park has to offer.

Glenveagh Castle was built between 1870 and 1873 by Captain John George Adair. It stands within the boundaries of Glenveagh National Park, near both Churchill and Gweedore in County Donegal, Ireland. It is built in the Scottish Baronial style and consists of a four-story rectangular keep, surrounded by a garden, and a backdrop of some 40,000 plus acres of mountains, lakes, glens, and woods complete with a herd of red deer. The Irish Gleann Bheatha (Bheithe) translates into English as “Glen of the Birch Trees”.

One could easily spend the day exploring Glenveagh National Park. There are many hiking paths to take in the beauty of this remote wilderness.  We didn’t have much time to spend in the park, but wanted to see the castle and the surrounding garden.

See you at our next stop! Cheers!