Finally, a Castle!

Donegal Travel Blog

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Donegal Castle

Last night in Sligo I met a woman from San Francisco.  We hit it off quite well.  She is 50 and still gutsy enough to travel solo.  She is heading in the opposite direction as me, so we sat down in the common room and swapped info on places to stay, visit, where to go, where not to go.  She started in London, which blew her budget.  I'm so glad I started in a small town on this trip.  She was great.  This morning she gave me raisin bread toast and some very pretty jewelry. 

After that I headed once again to the bus station to make my way to Donegal, north yet of Sligo.

Original lower level, storage area
  At the station I read the local paper, which had a story about a mother who got 3 mos. prison time for swapping the price tag on a toy!  They don't mess around here. 

The ride here was beautiful.  Mountains on one side, the ocean on the other.  I saw my first KFC in a town called Bunduran, which reminded me of a city outside of Vegas I remember on my trip there with my dad and sister Jen.  It had an amusement center and apparently gambling clubs. I think it's a local tourist stop.  Luckily Donegal is more like Stillwater (including the leather-clad bikers).  Unfortunately I didn't think to call ahead to book a hostel here til too late, so I'm in a B&B which costs twice what I want to pay a night, but I get my own room and tv.  I don't, however, have my own bath and the bathroom has just a tub, no shower.

Notice the small windows...good for defenses.
  At least I'll get breakfast and can move along to the town's only hostel tomorrow, along with the three Candadians in tow who also failed to book ahead (they traveled from Sligo with me).  Given that, I called ahead to Derry, Belfast and Dublin to reserve the rest of my hostels while here. 

So Donegal is home to the O'Donnells.  I finally toured a castle today built in 1474.  It belonged to that family, until taken by the English around 1610 as an award to an officer, Brooke, who fought in the 9 years war.  It's exciting all the history here and the struggles as well.  It was interesting to read about surveys and mapping back then.  The Irish understandably did not like mapping as it was vital to the English campaign, and apparently a few surveyors literally lost their heads in their attemps to do so.

Staircase with uneven steps, again good for intruders.

I also walked to the Famine Graveyard, a craftsman village, and just about town really.  I'm still not getting the hang of knowing which way to look to cross the street here.  Luckily larger towns have crosswalks!  The other thing I keep noticing is that the Irish smell really good.  Sounds funny, but really, they always have great cologne/perfume on or just smell clean.  That's a good thing.  I wish I could say the same for me right now...I was banking on a shower when I got here, but no such luck.  Perhaps too much information. 

In any event, the weather is continuing to be sunny and 80.  I almost can't stand it anymore! I never would've thought I'd get sick of good weather here, but I could use some clouds and cooler temps about now.  Apparently I may get it in N. Ireland. 

I will stay here another night.  The last few days have been far too busy and the cost to bus from place to place is starting to add up, so I shall try to sit tight longer in the next few places.

mielikki says:
very cool photos of the castle. I am sure it was nice to have a private room for one night.
Posted on: Jun 10, 2007
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Donegal Castle
Donegal Castle
Original lower level, storage area
Original lower level, storage area
Notice the small windows...good fo…
Notice the small windows...good f…
Staircase with uneven steps, again…
Staircase with uneven steps, agai…
Toilet...going straight down.
Toilet...going straight down.
Built later under English control.…
Built later under English control…
photo by: chrisrae