Here’s to the Ice Age!
Whatever happened during that freezing, melting, earth-shifting period billions of years ago, it left Ireland with some impressive scenery: vast valleys, glittering lakes, cliffs hoisted up from the Atlantic. And in Donegal’s Ice Age crown, one diamond glitters just that little bit brighter – the Inishowen Peninsula.
The scenery was stunning and the sunset breathtaking.
At the peninsula’s tip is Malin Head, the most northerly point on the the island of Ireland, and the start/end point of the Wild Atlantic Way coastal touring route. No visit to Inishowen is complete without a trip up the narrow, winding road to reach this windswept spot. Stand at the viewing point and you'll be treated to jaw-dropping views and dramatic, unspoiled landscapes everywhere you turn. It’s little wonder the crew from Star Wars saw something out of this world in Malin Head and chose it as a filming location for Star Wars: Episode VIII!
As wild and wind-whipped as Inishowen can be, there’s a silence here too, one that nurtures creativity in those who find themselves in this remote region. It was in the waters off Inishowen – Lough Swilly, to be precise – that sailor John Newton was inspired to write his epic hymn, Amazing Grace. Perhaps the Northern Lights were even glowing overhead, “bright shining as the sun”, the night he wrote those famous lyrics…
Climb atop the hills between Lough Swilly and neighbouring Lough Foyle, and you’ll also have the chance to explore Grianán of Aileach. It’s said this mysterious ring fort, sitting 244m above sea level for over 4,000 years, has been visited by everyone from St Patrick himself to the Princes of Aileach and the mythical, god-like race known as the Tuatha Dé Danann.
Inishowen’s scenery doesn’t end at Lough Swilly. Get behind the wheel – or hop up on two wheels – and just explore the beauty that surrounds you. If a feeling of the great wide open, the untouched and the unspoiled is why you came to Ireland – you’ve found it.
The views here go on for miles – peeping out from the top of the old Lookout Tower, you’ll even spy Ireland’s northernmost island, Inishtrahull, and its lone lighthouse. Back on dry land, grass-lined roads cut through valleys, winding their way into charming fishing villages such as Moville, Shrove and Muff.
At the end of it all, sit back, grab a glass, and raise a toast to the Ice Age – after all, we wouldn’t have Inishowen without it.