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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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

Summer

Like most Northern Ireland mums it’s time to start thinking about the children going back to school in a little over 2 weeks. How time has flown again. When the 8 weeks of summer holidays first start I dream of long hot summer days and evenings at the beach, in the garden and it seems like such a long time we have. Then in the blink of an eye it’s nearly over and the dreams of long hot sunny days and evenings remained that … dreams. As with much of the summer the weather has played havoc with our plans for fun days out so we have just done bits and pieces in between the showers.

Yesterday we had a lovely day in Cushendun (for the second time this summer) which has become one of my favourite places for a day out. My brother and his family came along too so it was nice to spend quality time with them.

Cushendun is a little village on the coast of Co Antrim and most of it is maintained by the National Trust. It is very picturesque so bring a camera. The village was designed by Clough Williams-Ellis who also designed Portmeirion in Wales. Quaint it definitely is.

You can read all about it here:

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/cushendun/features/cushendun—an-unspoilt-village-in-the-glens-of-antrim

We started off with a walk to the caves. We parked at the little car park at the beach (the entrance is beside The Corner House tea house). The caves are featured in Game of Thrones so might be recognizable to some readers.

CAVE CROP

Cushendun Caves

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Cushendun Caves

After the caves we spent what felt like hours on the beach. The youngest children splashed about in the sea while we walked, talked and beach combed. It was lovely.

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There’s a great little play park in the village at Glenmona House with a few picnic tables and public toilets. We had our picnic there and refreshed we headed along the coast to Kinabane Castle outside Ballycastle. The castle is just a ruin but what a spot!! It has a car park and toilets too. Access is down a long narrow road so be prepared for oncoming cars. There is a car park. The castle is accessed by a set of steps which are numerous and steep but worth the trip (I did feel like I was going to have a heart attack by the time I got back up the steps though – it is VERY steep).

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Kinbane Castle with Rathlin Island in the background

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The ruins of Kinbane

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A Smuggler’s Cave?