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Post Info TOPIC: On The Road to Donegal - Chance Encounters & Faery Led


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On The Road to Donegal - Chance Encounters & Faery Led


May 4, 2009 - 
 

My day for driving to Donegal from Keady started out soft & grey. After another delicious breakfast, I drove into town to find an ATM to withdraw the GBP need to pay for my lodgings at Dundrum. Back at Dundrum and with the lodging bill paid, 70£ for the two nights, and the car loaded,  I took Larry up on his offer of a farm tour. He was quite proud of the self catering cottage. I was quite impressed. It had a downstairs bedroom and two upstairs. It was well done with tongue & groove pine and beamed ceilings.  
 

I left Dundrum at close to noon and headed to Leo & Mary's for a "quick stop" to say goodbye. Two hours later, full of tea and sweet treats, I was on my way to Donegal with a route mapped out by Leo. Leo led me out of Keady and up the road before pulling over and sending me on my way with a hug. No sooner did I pull away from Leo & his vehicle and the skies opened up and the winds went from breeze to gusts. Nothing new, as I have never, from any direction, been to Donegal in anything other than a stormy moment.  The route which Leo mapped put took me up through Middletown, up into Tynan,  over the A28 through Caledon, Aughnaoloy,  and into Augher. From Augher, the A4 would take me through  Clogher, Fivemiletown and into Enniskillen.  From Enniskillen, I followed the A46 up along Lough Erne. 
 

Just up the road to Tynan, I stopped to photograph a Granary Barn which was long abandoned. Further up that road, the ruins of a small cottage, set out in a field, had me pulling over to photograph it, as well.  I hadn't noticed the man on the bicycle until he coughed. He smiled and asked where I was headed. I told him I was headed to Ardara in Donegal. He chuckled and said "You might not get there at this rate, in a day or a week." He said that the Granary which I had stopped to photograph was once part of his grandfather's holdings. The cottage I was intently photographing now was once his Great grandfather's on his mum's side of things. He seemed pleased to hear that I intended to include them in a book I was hoping to publish. He wished me a safe journey and said I had better mind the time a bit closer. He was such an interesting man that I wished I had more time to visit. It wasn't until after I drove off that I realized I hadn't gotten his name. When I looked back, intending to go back and ask, he was no where to be seen. It was like he vanished into thin air. 
 

Though I had been told to bypass Tynan, the road that had been mapped for me took me straight into the heart of the small hamlet. As the rain had let up some and I need to stretch my legs, I decided to park and explore.  Tynan, I found out, has an active history during  the troubles. It also has a fantastic cemetery and Abbey with gravestones that date back for centuries. I had wanted to get a photo of the High Cross in the cemetery but the heavens opened in a wicked downpour just as I found it and started to pull out my camera. 
 

Somewhere between Tynan and the A28 turn, I spotted sign which said St. Patrick's chair & well. Off I went in search, the Faeries whispering in my ear. I never found either but I did find a fantastic Crofter's cottage ruin which begged me to photograph it.  I spent a half hour there, delighted in my find. As I stepped down onto what I thought was solid ground, I felt the ground give way and my ankle twist. A biting pain had me concerned for a time that I had sprained my ankle or torn something. The ankle would remain tender for the rest of the trip.
 

After returning to the main road, I  made my turn on to the A28, pleased to find it a wider road. I thought I would make up some time, silly girl! In Fivemiletown, St Mary's Cathedral with it's mosaic tiled spire captured my attention. It is said that the church, built in the 1800s, was patterned after a Swiss church. 
 

Once more on the road to Donegal town, I made excellent time and the rains let up until I passed through DonegalTown and up the Frosses road. I have heard many people say that Donegal is desolate and unappealing. I find its desolation and ruggedness part of it draw. The drive up the Frosses road in the sleeting rain and blowing wind heightened my sense of  solitude. Twisting and turning along the roads through the peat bogs, I marveled at the tenacity of spirit that has pervaded many generations of Donegal souls. I was the only vehicle on the road in either direction. My only company was the steady rain and the occasional flock of sheep. Just about 5 miles from my turn off for the road to Ardara,  I came upon a small ruin surrounded by a large flock of sheep. As the rains were pounding my car, I almost ignored its plaintive plea "Photograph Me!". Almost being the key word.  I pulled over and off into the rain I trod. I spent close to twenty minutes, with the rain never letting up, photographing the sheep and the cottage ruin. At one point, I was very glad that the old rusted iron gate was still sturdy. A very large ram took great exception to the silly human in the funny looking hat and charged. I did feel a bit sorry for the fellow when he hit that gate  and then sat there looking a bit dazed. He was after all only doing his job.
 

Onward to Ardara where I wandered lost until I found a Petrol station. Never one to balk at asking directions, I asked the clerk at the counter if he might know how to get to Inis Failin. He looked up Bernadette's number and rang her up. She told him to have me meet her at the large Catholic church on the other edge of town.  I knew the Church, as I had driven by it twice. I parked and waited for Bernadette and watched an odd gathering of young hot rodders convene in the Church lot. It was almost as if Fast & Furious was shooting a movie.  Bernadette showed up promptly and told me to follow her out to the B&B. 
 

"Out" is the operative word, as the Inis Failin B&B sits on the Loughros Peninsula, approximately 2 1/2 miles out from the main road.  Bernadette offers two ensuite rooms and one room with access to the bath across the hall. The two ensuite rooms are upstairs and the standard is downstairs. I had the double room upstairs. It was a fabulous room with an excellent view across the inlet to Maghera Strand. The mattress was comfortable and there were plenty of pillows. The bathroom was long and narrow but well appointed.  Bernadette lets from April 1 to October 1. I was the only guest during my stay. She had a houseful during the "Cup of Tae" traditional music festival, which had finished up the day before I arrived. One caveat is that the stairs are rather steep and might be an issue for someone with mobility issues. 
 

Tomorrow.....Never a dry moment in Donegal...and promises kept.....



-- Edited by CowboyCraic on Saturday 30th of May 2009 11:13:34 PM

-- Edited by CowboyCraic on Sunday 31st of May 2009 10:09:54 PM

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Great pix. smile


I particularly like the cottage -- and the charging ram. biggrin biggrin

Oddly enough, most of MY better memories were serrendipitous discoveries --

And, on reflection -- more often than not, it WAS raining confuse confuse confuse

Bob



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Bit,

Hope your ankle is feeling better. I have done the same in the past. You do have some fairy-led adventures!

Michele

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Bob,

Ever the consummate photographer, I snapped the picture of the ram just before he dropped his head and charged. It never occurred to me to run. I just kept snapping pictures. biggrinbiggrinbiggrin

Michele, the ankle is much improved though tender still sometimes. I just did an eight mile hike this Saturday though, so all is well.

 

Slan Agus Barrogs, Bit



-- Edited by CowboyCraic on Tuesday 2nd of June 2009 08:24:32 AM

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Very enjoyable report!
Mark D.

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Bit, you write such interesting reports! Gave me some more new ideas! Enjoyed this posting just as I did last -- almost feels like we are with you....nice gate....Dave said you sure have a good eye, liked your pics also..... youngka

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Go Raibh Mil Math Agat, Mo Chara,

The gate would have come out better had I not been concerned about the charging ram. However, I thought it a fancy gate for such a desolate setting!

Go Raibh Mil Math Agat, as well, Mark. I am glad that you are having an enjoyable read.

Slan Beo, Bit



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Bit ahh, now I see. still a neat pic. I'm working on gates and OLD barns -- remember? translation, please -- Go Raibh Mil Math Agat, Mo Chara -- I only recognize
some of it........youngka

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