Donegal: The gem of our emerald isle

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In August I took a family trip to Donegal for the weekend. As you do, coming home from a weekend away, you expect to return with new experiences, a temporary new lease on life and a refreshed kindled spirit, but I did not expect to discover what I did in Donegal, I discovered what I consider, the most beautiful place in the world.

The countryside never ceases to amaze me, I am always mesmerised by the beauty of nature and fascinated with the fact that this is how our world looked like before we built cities, buildings and applied our fast paced way of life, but Donegal isn’t just ‘the countryside’ it is endless openness of the earths natural beauty. Driving to Gweedore, we had to stop, we all glared out at the most picturesque view in existence, a dip in the mountains made a little valley where a small town made up of a few houses and a lovely grey brick church. To add the sky was a glorified mix of yellows and greys and appeared as if it was opening up just to highlight this very spot.

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The hotel we were staying in was called Bunbeg House. From the main road through the town you would never know this gleaming gem was hidden down a turn of the road. I knew we were staying at a harbour but from previous experiences and going to college at Titanic Quarter I thought it would have been a big open harbour with lots of leisure and buildings surrounding it, no, that was not the case. This little harbour felt private to the hotel, the winding road leading down to Bunbeg House allowed for an opening leading to a little piece of heaven. The location made the hotel feel secluded from the rest of the world, the homely peaceful harbour was surrounded by islands of rock with pure deep shades of green and stunning contrasts of pure purple heather. Then walking around to the end of the harbour I was faced with an opening to the sea and an unforgettable sunset.

I tried to fit in all the awe, mystery and magic I experienced in the Irish speaking town of Donegal into one post, but I didn’t want to overwhelm you with mass amount of pictures and writing, so for now I hope you enjoy my first impression this beautiful county. I will follow up with the night life, the day trips and the locals. Some places are better in the imagination, the anticipation of trips and the power of words take you to a more wonderful place than you can ever be faced with in real life, but for this place you just have to see it.

If you’re in a place that’s far away, and your heart is filled with care, if the troubles of this living are sometimes better to bear, then be like me and close your eyes, call Donegal to mind and think of places that you know, which once were true and kind

You could be crossing over, to boat to Aran isle, you might be going to Ardara, through bright hills by the mile, or you might look down from Errigal, on lake and rock and land, because when you think of Donegal, it’s like a friend has touched your hand

By Eamonn Bonner

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