A Travellerspoint blog

The Northern Half of the Island of Ireland


semi-overcast 65 °F

Today dawned foggy and misty, but finished off with wonderful full sunshine. We explored Donegal today.

The first stop was the Abbey Graveyard. Located where the Eske River flows into Donegal Bay, the Old Abbey stood for more than two centuries despite being ransacked, burned and ravaged. It finally faced abandonment during the early years of the 17th century. Built by Hugh O’Donnell in 1474, the abbey now only exists as ruins, but the south transept, various areas of the cloisters, and the choir areas are still visible. The nearby graveyard bears evidence of burials occurring for more than a century after the abbey was abandoned. Annals of the Four Masters
This abbey is distinguished as the place where the Irish Annals were to be written by the Four Masters during a time when it seemed the Celtic culture and traditions of Ireland were in danger of being eradicated by the English. The Annals were written as a way to preserve records and history, as well as the traditional mythologies of Ireland from its earliest times all the way up to 1618. The Four Masters, who were monks, carried out work on the project for four years, from 1632 through 1636. The Annals are still extremely important today, as Irish genealogists and historians use them. The original documents are kept safely preserved, but copies are displayed in the National Library in Dublin. The Annals of the Four Masters remains one of the most important documents for Irish historians and genealogists alike. Although the original works of the monks are kept locked away safely, people can examine the copies on display at the National Library in Dublin.


A short walk from the Abbey is the wonderful Donegal Castle. The castle was the stronghold of the O'Donnell clan, Lords of Tír Conaill and one of the most powerful Gaelic families in Ireland from the 5th to the 16th centuries. For most of the last two centuries, the majority of the buildings lay in ruins but the castle was almost fully restored in the early 1990s. The castle consists of a 15th-century rectangular keep with a later Jacobean style wing. There is a small gatehouse at its entrance mirroring the design of the keep. The complex is sited on a bend in the River Eske, near the mouth of Donegal Bay, and is surrounded by a 17th-century boundary wall. Most of the stonework was constructed from locally sourced limestone with some sandstone.


After a little shopping and a sandwich, we returned to the Lough Eske Castle Hotel - a wonderful five star property near Lough Eske.


Posted by rpickett 15:55 Archived in Ireland Tagged donegal

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Thanks again for the tour

by Jimmy Craven

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