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At the top of the Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal, is Ireland’s most northerly point, Malin Head. It is not just Ireland’s most northerly point, but also an area of great scenic beauty and of historical, scientific and ecological importance.
Malin Head, in County Donegal, is renowned for its rugged coastal landscape and attractive beaches. The area is steeped in history and folklore. Malin Head is an area for all tastes, including walking, fishing, swimming, photography, studying rock formations or rare flora and it is close to Inishowen’s splendid golf courses. Discover some of the largest sand dunes in Europe once you enter the Malin Head area via the coastal road, along the north of Trawbreaga Bay at Lagg.
Or view the famous Five Finger Strand from Knockamany Bens. At low tide, see if you can spot the wreck of the Twilight, which sank in 1889 on its voyage to Derry. The circuit of the head will take you past the radio station, built in 1910, and round the coast to Banba’s Crown, the northern tip of Ireland. Here, a tall derelict building known locally as The Tower, was constructed in 1805 by the Admiralty and later used as a Lloyds signal station which served as a most important news link connecting America and Europe.
At this point you can picnic on the very last headland before Greenland. On a clear day you can see Tory Island to the west. It is also a perfect starting point for a ramble along the cliffs to Hell’s Hole, a remarkable subterranean cavern 250 feet long and 8 feet wide, into which the tide rushes with great force. Nearby is a picturesque natural arch called the Devil’s Bridge.
From Banba’s Crown, Inishtrahull Island and its nearly two hundred year old lighthouse can be seen to the north east. Malin Head is the sunniest place in Ireland and further out to the east on a clear day you can see the Scottish hills.
Below Banba’s Crown to the east lies Ballyhillion beach, a unique raised beach system of international scientific significance dating back to the Ice Age. At that time Donegal was weighed down by an immense ice sheet which meant sea levels then were up to 80 feet higher than today. The beach is also well known for its semi-precious stones, such as cornelian, chalcedony, jasper, serpentine and agate. Malin Head, a favoured spot for bird watchers, is one of the rare places in Europe where you may hear the corncrake. It is also an idyllic vantage point from which to view the autumnal movements of seabirds such as gannet, shearwater, skuas, auks, etc, on their southward migration flight and for observing chough.
Fishing and rock angling are also popular in the area. The Malin Head meteorological station, built in 1955, plays its part in the official weather forecasts. The fishing industry's main catches are crab, lobster and salmon.