When we think of rural Ireland, we visualise raw, dramatic cliffs and vistas, sheep, rocks, glorious shades of green, old pubs, fiddle players, Celtic history…a place where time stood still.
The place to experience it all is the small rural town of Glencolmcille in Donegal County. Sitting on the Wild Atlantic Coast, it contains some of Ireland’s most spectacular coastal and rural scenery and some of the most genuine, fun people I’ve met.
I came by accident and stayed for three and a half months – as other have done before me and saw many extend their stay. It has a certain ‘magnetism’.
It’s not It’s not one of those ‘touristy’ places by any means – there is hardly a sign to direct you to the 4,000 year old portal tombs or ancient standing stones – it is just part of the landscape and the locals do not make a fuss over them.
I witnessed some of Ireland’s best fiddle players and musicians in the town’s two pubs. -They come for the music and the relaxed atmosphere – not the money or the crowds. Random people from all over arrive with their instruments and just join in the sessions. You daren’t miss a night at the pub in fear you will miss something amazing!!!!
The walks over the mountain and along the cliffs on the coast are nothing short of magical scenes and you may not see another soul for hours. The drives to other beaches and ports are the same.
There are walks through the 3,000 year old bogs and you can see them cut into logs drying for the winter’s fuel.
During the summer the heather, thistles, flowers and bog cotton dots the land.
The sheep roam the roads and fields, with overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and beaches. Paths to walk through sheep farms.
A beach to explore or swim in and those glorious sunsets.
If you want to experience a real Ireland devoid of the mass tourism and fill your mind with wonderment – head to Glencolmcille in county Donegal.
PLACES TO STAY: Dooey Hostel and Ionad Siul. Both inexpensive, so you can stay for extended periods to explore. They are inviting, warm, friendly and a hoot to stay. Both feel like you are visiting family.