Slieve League

Teelin Travel Blog

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Paddy and Paddy.  Our boat owner/captain and his best friend.  Both friendly and typically Irish.  My prayers had been answered and the weather was providing us with blue skies and no wind.   What could be better?  Good company, good weather, and the most spectacular coastline in the world.   Des had good directions and he took us right to the Teelin Harbour.  After introductions, we climbed down the precarious stairs and stepped over into Paddy's boat.   Me, Catherine, Leigh Ann, and Des, along with four pleasant visitors from Belfast, made a total of ten.   The water in the harbour was like a mirror as Paddy turned his little blue boat towards the Atlantic Ocean.

The Irish have to be the funniest people on the globe.
Boulders dislodged and dropped into the sea.
  Every one of them have a wonderful sense of humor and don't mind laughing out loud.  Before long, all of us were chatting and laughing, enjoying the warmth of the sun as the cool salt breeze ruffled our hair.   Paddy was very familiar with these waters and easily maneuvered us between and around giant boulders, but getting near enough to comprehend their enormous size.  One wrong turn of the wheel or one unexpected rolling wave would have crashed us into the rocks.  Scary thought.

Paddy told us stories of stranded sheep and suicides as we idled along the rocky shore.  The cliffs had claimed many lives; some by careless mishap and others by despair.   One of the suicide victims was a familiar name ~ Hegarty.  Conal's brother had taken his own life by throwing himself from these cliffs.
The three dots on the hilltop are hikers, making their way towards Slieve League.
   When I learned this, the smiling face in the graveyard appeared in my mind; I'll remember his story the rest of my life.

A picture speaks a thousand words.  You can tell from my photos that we were having just a grand time, being entertained and informed by our new friends, Paddy and Paddy.  I'll have to separate these for you because they have the same name.  Paddy, the boat owner, and the other Paddy, who moved to Carrick from Belfast some years ago.  "Why did you leave your home?" I asked of him.  "They didn't want me there anymore."  Okay.  I think I know what it feels like to not "fit in" or to not be included.  But in your own home town?   Paddy is Catholic and Belfast is under English Protestant rule.
This is Slieve League. Can you see the red boat?
   That is similar to mixing oil and water ~ it ain't gonna happen.   At least it ain't happening in Ireland.

An hour's ride along this rugged seacoast brought us to the highest sea cliffs in Europe.  At 1,972 feet above the Atlantic,  these towering cliffs
are an astounding 600 feet (60 stories) taller than the World Trade Center Towers (now destroyed by terrorists) and 160 feet taller than the CN Tower in Toronto, the world's tallest structure/building.  I have been on the observation deck of both these buildings, so I can truly appreciate the magnitude of this natural wonder.  There is a walking path along the top of the cliffs for the strong of heart.  In other words, it's not for me.
Paddy from Belfast. The sign above his head is written in Gaelic.
  I am perfectly content to be bobbing around in this little boat with my new friends and my two daughters, enjoying the view from the bottom rather than the top.

Mid-afternoon had the sun dropping lower on the horizon.  What I wouldn't give to be able to see the sunset on these stone walls, igniting every color of orange, red and tawny gold.    Reality is, however, we had an hour's ride back to Teelin Harbour and then another hour back to our hotel in Donegal.    Have you ever had a moment in time that you would like to hold still, if just for a little while.   That was how I felt at this particular hour on this particular day.  But it wasn't to be.  Small talk gave way to silence as we all realized our day was quickly coming to an end.   Paddy gently guided his little boat back into the safety of the harbour.   We were sad to say "goodbye" and lingered for awhile on the boatdock.  A picture of Paddy from Belfast with his prized possession, a 1975 Goldwing Motorcycle, tells it all.   His smile, his jolly demeanor, and his willingness to make a new life in a new town because he was "not wanted" anymore, is a story as old as time.
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Boulders dislodged and dropped int…
Boulders dislodged and dropped in…
The three dots on the hilltop are …
The three dots on the hilltop are…
This is Slieve League.  Can you se…
This is Slieve League. Can you s…
Paddy from Belfast.  The sign abov…
Paddy from Belfast. The sign abo…
Paddy, our boat captain.
Paddy, our boat captain.
Teelin Harbour
Teelin Harbour
Des waiting his turn to step into …
Des waiting his turn to step into…
Me and Paddy.  Did someone say som…
Me and Paddy. Did someone say so…
James from Derry, Northern Ireland.
James from Derry, Northern Ireland.
Paddy from Belfast
Paddy from Belfast
photo by: kingelvis14