Often people tell you how much they love Ireland.
Getting wasted in Dublin was awesome and driving with the Bus to the Cliffs of Moher gave them the most amazing pictures :” Yeah I am sitting on the edge of the cliff”. If they are really adventurous they will also get wasted in Galway.
The perfect example of missing out the real gems of Ireland.
Don’t get me wrong, I was just three weeks in Ireland and I haven’t by far seen it all. But today I want to tell you about a real diamond, which will show you a bit more about the real Ireland.
Nothing against the Party Travel, it is a fun thing to do, but you haven’t even seen the real country yet.
So today is all about the wild coast of Donegal.
What is there?
County Donegal is the farthest county up north. Besides the cute little town Donegal,
it is also home to Europe’s highest Cliffs. While the Cliff of Moher are by far the most dramatic. The Slieve League is nevertheless equally impressive, if you catch a lucky day and it ain’t raining or stormy. But even then it just adds to the adventour, just be careful and don’t get blown off the cliff 😉
How to travel?
Best would be if you have a car, as public transport is rare and you’ll have to ask around, but if you are patient, hitchhiking is a fun way to get around.
We did it on our way to Glencolmcille and where lucky to meet some great people, one was a Surfer who dropped us off half of our way at a cute little town, where we had our longest wait yet, 30 minutes 😉 But simply because there where no freaking cars passing through^^ After that a lovely British couple picked us up with their RV and even dropped us off in front of our Hostel.
Where to go?
Again if you have a car, ride along the road and stop wherever you like. Most places have guesthouses and prices are very decent.
Donegal is a must and Glenncolmcille or Glencollumbine like I always used to call it because I just couldn’t remember the right name, is a great starting point to visit the Slieve League. Later make it all the way to the most northern point. We couldn’t get there, but it is on our itinerary for next time. All the villages are having their own charm and the cost and rough nature makes every spot a scenic spot^^.
More about Donegal City?
Dongal is tiny. There is a lovely Hostel/Guesthouse (paid Hostel price for a double room) a bit outside of the city. The Owner is the most lovely person ever. She can tell you in detail what there is to see and you won’t even have to ask. Her being the perfect host she explains everything you need to know. Also whatever you have problems with, she can help you. For me it just seemed like she really was living her job, which created such a great atmosphere.
We visited the graveyard, strolled along the river and went to the craft village (which was sadly closed). There is also a Castle in the city center, for all of you history fans ;).
But why you really should visit is the Nightlife. By far not as crazy as Galway or as hip as Dublin, this place is more down to earth. If you are lucky you will get to see amazing Irish Dance.
The pints are cheap and the life music is grand.
If there is a Band they will be brilliant, some people may even start dancing. If there is no real band, be sure that somebody will pick up a flute, somebody else two spoons and suddenly there is a full-grown Jam Session.
Somebody told me once in Ireland the Pub is like the living room of the whole village. That couldn’t be more right. Chats are easy started, jokes make the rounds and it just feels like you came home from a long day. If you can’t tell, I am absolutely in love with that place.
But not just me. We met a woman from Eastern Europe in Donegal who came there since 7 years every summer, because she fell in love with the place. She knew half of the village by name. And I totally understand her, if a place has magic County Donegal definitely is that place.
Day Trip you have to take- Slieve League
Now if you have your own car you might just do a day trip to the Slieve League and then either head back to Donegal or keep on going up North. But I actually would recommend you to stay a couple of days in Glencolmcille.
The Hotel we stayed at was a bit outside of the city, but with a great Breakfast and the Owner was picking us up from the village, driving us in the evening to the Pubs and also picking us up and even drove us to the cliff, without paying extra. Now if that ain’t customer service then what is?
The country side up there is by far not as pretty as Killarney, but boy did I feel free.
Now and then you will find ancient celtic graves on random fields, free for you to explore. The waves crash against the shores. The place is wild and the nature is beautiful but deadly.
This is where one imagines to watch a battle between nights, faeries taking away children or witches brewing their drinks in caves and later dancing around stone circles.
The air smells of the sea and now and then of home cooked comfort food whenever you walk by a building.
No Donegal County isn’t a place where you will find big, amazing things. It is a place where you will find yourself and maybe even the feeling of home.
But to truly enjoy it you have to be ready to just be for once, without chasing after party’s or entertainment. You have to be ready to just let go and enjoy what the world has to offer you^^
Are you ready? Well then let’s meet up next summer at the wild coast of Donegal. The true gem of Ireland.
If you want to know any more details feel free to comment =)
Ps. all the pictures are from our 3 week trip in August 2015.