WHERE TO VISIT
Fanad Head Lighthouse is situated on the northern coast of the Fanad Peninsula in North Donegal. The Lighthouse is a signature discovery point on the Wild Atlantic Way. The light is 39 metres above sea level and there are 79 steps in the tower.Fanad Lighthouse now offers guests the opportunity to stay in our newly refurbished self catering cottages. There are three cottages available at the Lighthouse for a truly unique holiday experience.
The Tower is 22 metres high from foundation to the top of the tower not including the lantern. This light is classified as a sea light as distinct from a harbour light although it does mark the entrance to Lough Swilly which is a natural harbour of refuge.
The original building was commissioned following the Saldanha wreck. Building commenced in 1815 and was completed in 2 years by the Commissioners of the Ballast Board. It is of granite and was sent from the North hall , Dublin, ready prepared. The building was designed by the corporation’s inspector Mr George Halpin and the building work was overseen by a Mr.Carpenter of Dublin and cost £2,000. The light was first lit on St. Patrick’s day 17th March 1817. The building consisted of two separate dwellings for Light-keepers connected to the central tower.
By 1978 only a Principal Keeper was retained in Fanad, and when he retired in 1983 the lighthouse was reclassified as an Attendant station and the retired Principal Keeper remained on as part time Attendant. In more recent years the lighthouse has only required a caretaker.
Built on a jutting rock and guarded by an inlet of Sheephaven Bay, Doe Castle stands as a might giant on the shores of the bay. Considered the strongest and safest castle of its time, it has a central tower with battlements and bawn (enclosure). The tower stands fifty feet high, has one room on each of the four floors with walls approximately eight feet thick. One of the rooms-the one where young O’Boyle was held-called The Dungeon, was located on the third story instead of the bottom one. Lighted only by one open loophole in the stonework, this mysterious chamber had a single entryway: a doorway four feet high surmounted by a small pointed arch of cut stone. The doorway was built a full two feet higher than the level of the Dungeon and joins with a winding stairway within the thickness of the walls leading directly to the room above it. This means that any visitor to the Dungeon must climb to the fourth floor, cross it diagonally then make his way down the stairs.
Castle Doe The largest room in Doe Castle is its great hall, some 35 feet long and 18 feet wide. A shaft in the South West section of the castle bawn indicates that at one time, a well was there, long dried up by now.
It is recorded in written documents that owner Maolmhuire (mwill-murra) an Bhata Bui (of the yellow stick) ordered the well closed following the death of one of his wards, a young woman named Judith who was in love with his nephew, Hugh McSweeney. (Appointed chief of Doe Castle in 1596, Maolmhuire was awarded a hefty, yellow colored blackthorne staff. He was known for dashing the brains out of irritating or non-compliant-not well versed in the protocol of their host-guests). During a routine nightly inspection, Maolmhuire overheard bits of a conversation between young Hugh and Judith. Suspecting a conspiracy, the enraged Maolmhuire swung his yellow staff to kill his nephew, but Judith stepped between them and received a blow to her temple. She stumbled on the kerb of the well and tumbled headlong to her death at the bottom of the well.
Cranford is situated on the west banks of the Mulroy Bay. The town land of Cranford boasts a long sporting tradition where the first cycling and athletic clubs were formed in the county. Mulroy Bay can be accessed via two piers in Cranford. The pier at Wooquarter boasts a beautiful 2km forestry walk. History also tells us that Woodquarter is also where the death of Lord Leitrim took place. There is an Old Forge Museum at Logue's of Cranford and an outdoor childrens playground at the Community Centre. The ruins of the Old Lime Kiln still stands along the bay and also of an old monastery opposite the community center. Leaving Cranford heading south to Milford you will pass the majestic waterfall and Mass Rock at Bunlin.
Milford is a town steeped in history and which was founded in the 18th century by the Clementine family. The Irish Baile na nGalloglach means the “town of the galloglach”. The Galloglaigh were an elite class of mercenary warrior who came from Gaelic-Norse clans in Scotland between the 13th century and the late 16th century. By 1900 Milford fairs were reported as being the best cattle and horse markets in County Donegal. The horse market was usually conducted at the top of Main Street known as the Market Square. Today Milford is a center for education for the local community. There are some beautiful churches in the town along with the local County Council offices, a health centre, fire station and the local Garda barracks.
Nestled at the foot of the Knockalla Mountain, overlooked by Ranny Hill and on the shores of the beautiful Mulroy Bay lays the small but pretty village of Kerrykeel. Long established as a popular tourist destination, Kerrykeel serves as the gateway to the Fanad Peninsula, an area of outstanding beauty boasting golden beaches and unspoilt countryside. Kerrykeel’s most famous son was the late John Kerr, an Irish ballad singer. He recorded the song “Mulroy Bay” which can be viewed on YouTube. Kerrykeel is a friendly place to visit where a warm welcome awaits you in the local pubs and restaurants.
Rossnakill & Tamney
You will marvel at the stunning beauty of Mulroy Bay as you enter the villages of Rossnakill and Tamney. You will no doubt stop to admire some of the best scenery in Ireland. It is generally accepted that the first permanent settlement of the MAC Suibhne clan (of Scotland) in Ireland settled in Fanad. In 1532 Turlough Mac Suibhne (Terence McSweeney) built a castle on the west coast of Fanad on a spot known as "Carraig Na Feile". After enjoying the hospitably of the villagers of Rossnakill and Tamney you turn left and go onto Mass Mount Chapel. These grounds are well worth a visit as the graveyard dates back as far as 1797. In 1843 the original church was extended, re-roofed and a bell tower was erected. The pinewood for the roof of the church was taken from Araheera up the Mulroy Bay on a raft and those same beams are still part of the roof today, over 170 years on.
EVENTS ON CALENDAR
All Year Round
Walks with Meavagh Rambles – contact Myles on 086-8347708
RunAway Donegal Challenge
Walks in Milford – Contact I.R.D. Office on 074 9153736
St. Partick’s Day Parade, Kerrykeel
Golan Pad Walk on Good Friday
Darkness Into Light
Kerrykeel Vintage Day
Donegal Car Rally
Curragh Building & Launch on the day of Vintage
Mulroy Bay Angling
Mulroy Bay Adventure Race
JG Memorial Sports
Portsalon Open Week
Cranford Sports Day
Rathmullan Community Festival
Lennon Festival, Ramelton
Earagail Arts Festival
Vintage Car Rally, Carrigart
Mary From Dungloe International Festival, Dungloe
Féile an Earagail, Dunlewey
FestiFál North West Art & Music Festival, Falcarragh
Mulroy Bay Swim
Rosapenna Golf Club Open Week
A Taste of Donegal Food Festival
Carrigart Culture Festival
Knockalla Hill Climb
Dunfanaghy Jazz & Blues Festival
Step Back In Time, Cranford
The Old Forge, Cranford
Harvest Thanks Giving, Kerrykeel
Duck Race in Milford on St. Stephen’s Day
Christmas Carols in Glenveagh Castle
BARS & RESTAURANTS
SHOP & SERVICES
People's Service Station
TV Centre Services, Milford
John McBride Ltd, Cranford
SPORTS & LEISURE FACILITIES
Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort