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Soft Weather in Donegal

There are many sayings about Ireland’s weather such as “rain before 7, fine by 11” and “soft weather.” Which is to say that one must be prepared for sun, rain, and wind. This was one such day. Our ship anchored off Killybegs, one of Ireland's largest fishing port. It was sunny, but lots of puffy clouds hovering above the land.

After a skiff ride to shore, we headed to Slieve League Cliffs for a hike. Slieve League is a mountain on the Atlantic coast that’s just shy of 2,000 feet tall. The mountain’s cliffs are some of the highest in Europe so a hike on a sunny day brings spectacular views. This wasn’t one of those days. Mist permeated the air and a heavy cloud layer obscured the mountain top. As we hiked upwards, the wind became more stiff and the mist heavier. Still, I enjoyed the hike up the well maintained stone steps. Rain makes everything so green. The sound of the ocean is always a song to my ears.

At some point, our guide Jutta decided that any more movement upwards would only put us in the clouds, without any view at all. We trudged back to starting point, hopped on a bus, and went for fresh scones in a local tea shop.

The afternoon looked more promising as it started with sunshine. We set out for a tour of Donegal Castle in the town of Donegal. The part of the castle that was built in the 15th century is just a shell, but the wing added in the 17th century is not. (Image: 15th century part.)

Over the years the castle changed hands and fell into a bad state. The Office of Public Works partially restored the building in the 1990’s. While we were inside touring the restored section, the weather “softened” and it rained quite hard. It let up just enough at the end of the tour for us to walk down the street to a local pub for a Guinness, A pattern is beginning to emerge on this trip—day ends in local pub! (Image: Looking out from inside the castle just as it started to rain.)

(Image: One of the colorful businesses in Donegal town.)

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