Friday, 3 June 2016


I was astounded to discover that Letterkenny is the postal town for Dungloe. I'm not making a pun on the name, I was surprised because it is about 40 miles away! 

If you ask Google maps how to get between the two you will notice that the roads avoid going through the Derryveagh Mountains: you can either go around to the south or around to the north. I found myself wondering what route people took to walk to Derry to catch the ferry to Scotland, or elsewhere. I read that it took them two days to do it.

The sunny weather was gone by the time we got to Letterkenny.

Letterkenny obviously expects her tourists to come by car, as the tourist information centre is well out of the town. We had to camp about 20 miles north at Rockhill, which was more an arrangement of cabins to rent and facilities to entertain children than a site for caravan camping, though apparently they are working on this. I came to really appreciate the dish washing facilities other caravan sites have. 

Can you see the green hills in the distance?

My reason for going to Letterkenny was to visit the main library in County Donegal. Unfortunately, the upstairs where the 'Heritage' section is kept is only open two days a week. So we made my microfilm machine reservation, went for lunch, then and then up to the caravan site.

Horses near the caravan park.

Another day we checked out a county historical museum that didn't allow photos. Most of it had to do with the events of 1916, but some of it predated that period and was of more interest to me. A poster mentioned the idea of 'assisted migration', which I'd not met before. Somehow the idea that a charity or government organisation's response to poverty is to ship people to another country seems reprehensible to me.

I've no doubt that the people whose ancestors moved abroad had better lives in the end, but this reminded me of a situation I heard of when living in Salt Lake City. It seems that some of the neighbouring states felt the way to solve the problem of homelessness in their communities was to give indigent people a bus ticket to Salt Lake City, thinking the Mormons could take care of these people. 

We had two lunches in the same place, called a Quiet Moment. Bill - ever the wit - remarked that it wasn't very quiet. It did a good trade, the food being decent and the decor above cafe average.

We had a short wander after lunch one day to check out the park dedicated to the famine victims. Not much there, but a nice thought.

Another thing we did in Letterkenny was the check out a photographic exhibit by an American named Richard Noble. I've never heard of him, but he worked on several cigarette ads, including Winstons, Tareyton's "I'd rather fight than switch" complete with black-eyes; and, most notably, the Virginia Slims adverts, "You've come a long way, baby" aimed at women smokers. There were some cool cars and some kind of whisky in there as well. If you aren't American or the right vintage, it wouldn't mean much to you, but it was like looking back at my youth. 

Our first night at Rockhill we were a solitary motor home in field next to the main road. It was surprisingly noisy, so Bill asked to move closer to the reception area into a car park overlooking Mulroy Bay. 

Actually it was overlooking the mobile home park overlooking the bay, but we were much closer to the showers, so I didn't mind. Except there was another verbose cow we got to hear all night instead of the traffic!

We drove through the pretty town of Ramelton several times, but never did stop. Neither did we find the time to visit Kerrykeel, just up the road from our camping place. And Bill made sure I didn't get across the road to visit the Curlew Craft shop! So, we'll just have to save that for another trip...

Ramelton, via Google Earth.


J bohannon said...

I enjoyed reading about your trip to Donegal. Your writings made me feel like i was along on the trip!

Shelley said...

Hi Jan! Lovely to hear from you here. Glad you've enjoyed the travelogue - there are a few days left to go...