48 hours in County Donegal

Trip Start Mar 23, 2007
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Trip End Jul 01, 2007


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Monday, May 7, 2007

Anything that followed on from Barcelona in terms of  WOW-ing  power was going to have it's work cut out - and although Donegal was quite the antithesis of the capital of Catalunya, it was still damn good fun! My mate Karl flew over from London for the long weekend and we were going to tag along with a group of KPMG secondees from Malta on a roadtrip through county Donegal. Now there are two important factors that I would like to point out as they contributed to the overall Donegal experience.
Firstly, County Donegal is the northern most county of the republic and is the most isolated and remote = loads of rolling green hills dotted with white sheep and a spectacularly rugged and untouched coastline with sharp cliffs that pierce into the icy blue ocean below (oh my god, I swallowed a James Joyce novel). It's grand ta be shure!
And secondly, I have known Karl since grade one, and along with all our other great Phalaborwa muckers, have been through Fauna Park and Frans du Toit together and lived to tell the tale - of which there are plenty and all too sordid to recap here! Donegal and the Maltesers had no idea what sort of skebereshes they were going to traveling with! Yeeha! Poor Penny had to share the car with us and was subsequently subjected to a never-ending barrage of testosterone fueled jokes, stories and nasty jibes the whole way to Donegal - poor girl - but Pen's an absolute legend and laughed along with us!
After dumping our kit at the B&B in Letterkenny and collecting the Maltesers, we went for a drive around the northern peninsula of Donegal - all along the coastline, which was really pretty - even though the weather had decided that after 6 weeks of glorious sunshine, enough was enough, and brought in the rain every so often. We stopped off at beaches along the way and found some cool ruins to tromp around in. We even drove through the town of Muff - Believe it, cos it's true (the picture outside the pub in Muff is a classic). We eventually ended up at Malin Head - the northern most point of Ireland. While all the FT's (' Feckin Tourist '- thanks Karl) shuffled off to the eastern side of the point, Karl used his 'Rhodesian bush instincts' and mobile phone with digital compass to find North and take us to the true "Northern Most Part of Ireland". In true African style, we decided that the only way to mark this momentous occasion and celebrate the serene natural beauty of the place was to deface it with some natural graffiti! And while there was a huge sign on the grass embankment to the east of Malin head which read EIRE in stone letters - we drew a huge SAFFA sign right at the proper 'tip' of Ireland!
That night we ventured into Letterkenny and headed for the high street for a pint, or 50. The rest of the evening is a tad blurry to say the least, but all I do remember is going to a club that was pretty much like Catagoons in Phalaborwa - full of rough, drunk farmer types and good looking girls wired off their faces on disco biscuits. So no, Letterkenny was not really impressive - neither was a 20 Guinness hangover.

Sunday was spent cruising along the southern peninsula, and we hiked around some really spectacular cliffs with amazing views out into the frigid deep blue of the Atlantic. We had lunch in Ardara, a small little dorpie in the middle of nowhere, and wanted to try and catch the traditional Irish music festival that was going on there. We found an amazing pub called Nancy's, which has been around for about 300 years - so it's one of  those old, wonky funny little pubs with low, crooked doorways and oodles of charm and history. The locals were popping in and out for a quick jamming session on the fiddle and violin every so often when the mood took them, and we annexed a corner of the pub and watched and listened as the locals went about their daily kuier! It was absolutely awesome! The Irish are an amazing bunch of people with an indescribable desire to have a good time and enjoy the craic! We told many stories that night and drank many many Guinness's and Jameson's in the gloom of the pub - and with the rowdy sound of the bar and the local musicians grinding out classic Irish tunes,  I could not have been more content! Good mates, good places, good times - isn't that what this whole 'life' story is about?!
Lekker days!
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