The Far North
On the Inishowen Peninsula, the most northerly part of Donegal and of Ireland, we came across a 'Famine Village'. The blurb said it was a reconstruction of the times of the Great Famine of the mid 1800s. It was one of the oddest tourist attractions we have ever seen. Yes, the Famine was covered in rather amateurish tableaux, but there were also strange references to gypsies or travellers in Ireland, the 'Troubles', the Battle of the Boyne, the Orangemen, houses of the 1800s through to the 1900s - you get the picture. Quite a muddle of bits and pieces. There was a guide whose accent was so strong it was a struggle to understand him - only by listening hard and catching some of his talk could you piece together what he was saying! And this was English... Overall, it was quite political exhibition - there were many digs at the 'system'... no neutrality here.
However, when we were leaving, we muttered something about staying overnight in their carpark. They agreed to allowing us to stay, though they locked the gates when they went home and would re-open them in the morning. So we wild-camped again in a carpark on the banks of Trawbreaga Bay on Doagh Isle (though not a true island). We were safe and alone and there was even a toilet on site!
The long evenings mean we usually eat late - and this also gave us a chance to walk along the deserted beach at the mouth of the Bay. The most extraordinary rock formations rise up through the sand. Basalt lies next to convoluted strata of phyllite and slate. Thin streaks of quartz and feldspar squeeze between joints in the rocks, pink and white against the darker slates. Huge caves carved out of the twisted rocks by the sea were just above low tide. As we have found elsewhere in Ireland where we have walked on the beaches and the seaside rocks, there seems to be very little life - only some weed like sea-lettuce and kelp, some barnacles, the odd limpet. Rock pools are invariably empty of the myriad forms of sea-life that we are used to. However to our delight we found a large patch of mussels on some of the rocks between high and low tide. They were mostly pretty tiny but some judicious selective hunting gave us a few handfuls to take back to the camper. Entree that night was fresh mussels in a garlic and cider sauce. They were delicious!
Before leaving Donegal and the Republic of Ireland, there was one more thing to do. We had 'done' the most southerly, south- westerly and westerly points of Ireland. Now it was the most northerly.
We drove to Malin Head. There on an information board we read that the average daytime summer temperature in August for this most northerly part of Ireland is 14°C. We are not disputing that at all...