Monday, May 23, 2011

Ireland!!: Central County Donegal

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Saint Colmcille's birthplace was our first stop out of Letterkenny on our second full day in County Donegal. We'd read that there was some kind of interesting geology in the supposed spot where he was born that led people to say his mother's bleeding during his birth turned the dirt white.

The supposed birthplace was marked with a memorial erected by someone who was trying to get into heaven, and a big exposed prehistoric tomb. It did have some white lichens on it, but we didn't notice any white dirt. I think we might have misunderstood something we read. The tomb stone, however, supposedly cures homesickness if you sleep on it. I'm looking for a stone that cures Fernweh.

St. Colmcille's abbey is right down the road from the birthplace, so we stopped there next. There's a graveyard, a well, the stone floor and walls of a church, and a couple of former high crosses that are all eroded and misshapen now. The well wasn't a particularly interesting one. The best surprise was that inside the church was a shrine where people had left all kinds of rosaries, coins, figurines, and other stuff! There are also pretty views of a lake from the site.

Central County Donegal Mai 11

We continued from there westward past Glenveagh National Park. There was nothing but enormous empty hills with little streams here and there - there weren't even sheep at some points. Occasionally we saw a ruined house here and there. Apparently the park is especially empty because a landowner in the 1800s evicted all the tenants so he could have his dream of a valley full of deer and rhododendrons. We didn't see any deer or rhododendrons, so I'm not sure if the ruined houses we saw were part of that story. At the end of the park we went through a little Gaeltacht town where none of the signs were in English, then headed toward Ardara.


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