A Day out in Donegal Part 1 – Moville to Greencastle Coast Walk

Recently my brother and I got the Foyle Ferry from Magilligan to Greencastle in Donegal on 2 separate occasions and had a great time as we both had our cameras, several hours to explore and no children!! After a very short sailing we arrive in another world, another country (I am not getting into the politics of Ireland, the history of Ireland, the partition of Ireland here). The fact of the matter is we were in Donegal and it’s different and that’s just a fact of life – the distances are in kilometres, the currency is Euros, there’s an Irish Customs office in the harbour… It got us talking about how things will change with Brexit. At the moment we can sit in Northern Ireland at the ferry terminal waiting for the ferry and there are no checks, no staff even and when the ferry arrives we just drive on and drive off on the other side. It is so easy. No one checks my car, no-one checks our ID. What will change? Will we not be able to make a spur of the moment decision to go over the border and go for a walk? Will we have to make sure we all have ID? I am dreading Brexit. There is so much uncertainty.

Anyway this post was not meant to be about Brexit. Is is about a lovely day out in beautiful Donegal. After getting off the ferry you turn left and follow the road as it hugs the coast for a few miles and you end up in the small village of Moville.  In Moville you can park the car (there’s a car park down by the shore, with public toilets) and start the coastal path to Greencastle – the path is about 2km.

I love the shore walk because there are lots of little beaches and coves and therefore lots of opportunities to beach comb which is a bit of a hobby of mine – one of my favourite ways to relax is to walk along the beach and have a poke about. There are lots of seating areas along the way and lots of photographic opportunities if you are a keen photographer.

Lunch time for the local birds

We watched this fabulous heron for ages. It was quite close to us as we walked along the beach and it waited patiently for a while and then managed to catch a couple of fish – I could have sat and watched it for hours.

After the shore walk we headed inland. We knew there was a very old graveyard near Moville so we went in search of that. We had read that it was hard to find but we got there quite easily following sat nav on my brother’s phone. We were so glad we went because what a lovely site!  It sits on a hill with spectacular views over Lough Foyle. It’s called Cooley Graveyard and there’s a high cross just at the entrance.

Very effective rope and pulley system

Some of the gravestones.

high crossThe High Cross

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The Skull House

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Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre

If you are ever in the North West area and have some time to spare or are looking for something new you should call in to the Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre in Limavady. It’s right in the town centre and there are car parks nearby and on street parking outside. Limavady is a busy wee town with some lovely independent shops and cafes. I find the people of Limavady to be friendly and chatty (no I’m not a resident lol). 

The Roe Valley Centre us a little gem in the heart of the town. There’s always a free exhibition on and the offer a great range of classes for children, young people and adults. I would love to fit in some leisure courses and am going to make a real effort to try new things. 

They have a theatre for music, plays and film too.

I’m going up next week to see the Louise McLean exhibition. Louise is a local willow artist who makes amazing sculptures and baskets. You might have heard of her because she has been on This Morning on ITV and was on RTE’s Craft Master. Anyway I’m looking forward to her new ‘bogland, branches and the beach’ exhibition. I will let you know all about it at a later date.

Here is a link to the Roe Valley Centre website – 

http://www.roevalleyarts.com/

Crumlin Road Gaol

We had a wee trip up to Belfast this week. We had intended to have a day on Rathlin Island but the morning ferries were fully booked for both days we wanted to go. I was a bit disappointed as I have never been over before and had our day planned out. Aw well, another time. So a trip to Crumlin Road Gaol (also know as The Crum) was the alternative. What a difference – wild and beautiful Rathlin versus a Victorian prison!

I booked the tickets online the night before. It was very reasonable – a family ticket for 2 adults and 2 children was £22 with an additional £1 booking fee.

The gaol and the courthouse across the road was designed by Charles Lanyon, an English architect who also designed many other buildings in Northern Ireland including the main building in Queens University. He also played a major part in the planning of the  splendid Antrim Coast Road. The list of his works throughout Belfast and Northern Ireland is considerable.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Lanyon

The Crum 1

The Crum

I must say the tour was excellent. I wasn’t sure how my boys would find it but both really enjoyed it. The teenager said he thought it might be a bit boring but it wasn’t and he found it really interesting … yeah! Our tour guide, Eoghan, was very good and kept everyone interested with just the right amount to information and detail and was excellent with keeping the children engaged.
We learned so much about the goal from Victorian times right up until it was closed in the 1990’s. We heard about the children incarcerated in the prison in Victorian times, about the prison during the troubles and about the 17 executions that happened there (including the actual execution room) and how Ireland had no executioner so the hangman came over from England and did all the hangings in gaols throughout Ireland.

The executioner

How many people have looked through this window and longed for freedom …

crum 7crum 6

I also got to Paperchase so my day ended well.  I love that shop.

 

Downhill Beach

I have dusted off the Fitbit in effort to get more active and fit. It is also in combination with a determined effort to start losing weight. I have become very very overweight and it is making me extremely unhappy. I am the only who can do anything about it. So this morning I went for a walk on the beach and am at 5.5k steps already so onwards and (weight) downwards!

There was a low tide this morning so we got to explore further along beach than usual.

Donegal in the distance.

Mussenden Temple