Mary From Dungloe Festival...
Mary From Dungloe Festival 2004
27th July to 5th August.
The festival features a number of international artists playing at numerous venues throughout the town with street entertainment, dome concerts, parades, competitions and fun activities taking place daily.
It is advised to book accomodation well in advance.
Rent a car, pick a direction and just go!
It's easy and fun to get lost up here. A rental car was a must for us, and some of the best scenery we saw in Ireland we found by getting ourselves lost. Donegal is a great place to do this-- I suggest trying to find the remains of O"Boyle castle by car. That will get you out by the old embarkation point, where you can sit and watch local fisherman work the bay.
Doon Fort / Donegal
Doon Fort is built on a small island inside a lake. The fortification is 4 meters wide and 4 meteres high. It dates back to 3000 B.C.
The whole area is privately owned and you may rent a boat by the landowner there .And when you try to row to the mighty Ringfort , you will find out that boats cannot approach to the islands, because of a certain, strong water-stream drifting them away from the small island . It is only possible to land by a certain trick, that will be explained by the landowner, when he gives you the boat.
Donegal - Fort of the strangers
Donegal is a nice, small town of 2.5 thousand inhabitants on the Eske River in County Donegal, the north-western part of Ireland. The town is set in a valley girdled by Barnesmore Mountains and Donegal Bay. Dún na nGall (Donegal town), meaning the "Fort of the strangers", gave the county its current name. The name is suggested coming from a Viking fortress destroyed in 12th century by Murtagh Mac Lochlainn, High King of Ireland. However, no archaeological evidence of the fortress exists.
In the center of the town a triangular marketplace is flanked on each side by houses with streets radiating from each side. In Diamond, the center of the town, stands an obelisk erected for the memory of the Four Masters. The four franciscan monks wrote on the 17th century the book "Annala Riochta Erenann", more commonly know as Annals of the Four Masters. The book covers the history of Ireland from 2242 BC to 1616AD.
The town is a main centre for the tweed industry in Ireland. Magees of Donegal, tailor of tweed jackets and suits, is located on the Diamond. Visitors can observe Raymond working with traditional methods.
"Donegal Castle and Abbey"
The castle on the banks of the River Eske is the most important sight of the town. It once belonged to the O'Donnel family. The castle was built in 1474 by Hugh Roe O'Donnell, the chief of the O'Donnell clan. He also built a Franciscan Abbey at the mouth of the Bay, the very same location in which the Four Masters decided to write the Annals. On summer water cruises are organized around Donegal Bay.
Glenveagh Castle, Co. Donegal
To this day, Glenveagh remains a remote valley, and in earlier history it was probably uninhabited. However, over the hills at Gartan there were settlements, and many of the remains are still to be seen. An ancient ecclesiastical site near Lough Akibbon is traditionally held to be the birthplace of St. Columbkille, born in 521.
The estate of Glenveagh was created in 1857-9 by the purchase of several smaller holdings and Glenveagh Castle was built about 1870.
The castle was occupied by the IRA in 1922 but they evacuated it when the Free Sate Army approached. The buidling then served as a army garrison for three years, after which the glen returned to its tranquil ways.
In 1975 the lands of Glenveagh were purchased by the State and in 1981 , Genveagh Castle and Gardens were presented to the Irish Nation by its last owner.
Glenveagh Castle is overlooking the lake and it contains fine examples of antique furniture (some of asian origin) artworks and literatue. Surrounding the Castle are the world famous gardens. First laid out in 1880's the 9 hectar gardens contains a rich variety of trees, shrubs and flowers from all over the world (the - white, bright-orange, pink coloured Rhododendron comes from Nepal)
The National Park is home to one of the two large herds of red deer in Ireland and although the deer are completely wild, a 40km fence restricts the herd within Glenveagh. The deer spend most of the summer on the high ground, moving to lower sheltered areas for the winter.
The park is also home to the 'Golden Eagle Project'. The project involves bringing young eaglets from Scotland and releasing them in Glenveagh National Park. As part of the release programme, 60 to 75 birds are hoped to be released over a 5-year period. Only a third of these released birds will survive and mature to breed at four or five years of age. It is hoped that 6 - 8 pairs of Golden Eagle may be breeding in Donegal by 2010.
The hills are covered mainly with purple moor grass and heather.
The most frequently encountered bird is the meadow Pipit, with Stonecharts, Red Grouse, Ravens and occasional Peregrines ans Merlins to be seen. A large area of woodland has been fenced off to allow young trees to survive the grazing deer and her woodland mosses and filmy ferns grow luxuriantly as in most western Irish woods. Woodland bird life includes Siskins, Treecreepers, Wood Warblers and Crossbills. Lough Barra and Cloghernagore Bogs are great stretches of intact peatland, where Curlwe and Dunlin breed in summer and small focks of Greenland White-fronted Geese feed in winter.
"The Visitor Centre"
The visitor centre is located at the northern end of Lough Veagh, near the edge of the National Park. It provides an introduction to the Park and its natural history through audio-visual shows and extensive displays and exhibits. Hot and cold meals and snacks are available in the restaurant. Lock-up facilities for bicycles and baggage are available, and there is a picnic area and children's play area nearby.