The Inishowen Peninsula was a must for my trip to County Donegal.
And making my way all the way out to Malin Head — the most northerly point in Ireland — was THE one thing I had to do while there.
While I made it to Inishowen and out to Malin Head, my regret is that I didn’t have more time on this peninsula.
This is a special place in Ireland.
One that you need to slow down in and truly experience.
At first I was going to do a long day trip from Dunfanaghy.
I thought I could leave at first light and drive out to Malin Head and maybe also see a bit more of this remote and large peninsula.
The Inishowen 100 is the 100 mile drive around the peninsula.
And while I knew that might be too much to tackle on a day trip from Dunfanaghy, I thought I still might be able to drive the west coast of the peninsula on my way to Malin Head.
But the more I thought about it…
The more I realized I needed at least one night to stay there.
This way I could drive to Inishowen, mostly skirting along the west side of the drive and then I could make my way out to Malin Head to see it.
And I could spend the night at a nice B&B and have dinner somewhere.
I could get to know this destination a bit better.
So I found a place to stay between Carndonagh and Culdoff not far from Malin Village called the Red Gate House. (I’ll be writing a review in the coming weeks.)
It was out in the middle of the fields, so very quiet.
Yet it was close enough to the towns for grabbling a bite to eat.
I sadly left Dunfanaghy on a rainy morning.
But I was excited to see Inishowen as I had read much about it and its beauty.
More Donegal scenery!
I couldn’t imagine it could get any more spectacular than what I experienced already.
I was not disappointed.
I checked into Red Gate House as the weather began to clear.
I received some good information from my hosts, a young couple.
It seems there was a nice beach along the way.
And a lot more.
But I was tired and fighting a cold.
So I focused on simply getting to Malin Head — this was my main goal for this single day and night on the Inishowen Peninsula.
As I drove north…
I passed through the quaint Malin Village.
I drove along an inlet — there’s water everywhere!
And I came to 5 Fingers Strand.
Now there’s not much parking.
You need to simply park along a single track road — carefully.
Cows are grazing in the fields around you.
But then you get to walk along this gorgeous beach.
The beaches of Ireland continually surprise me.
I walked along the beach just a little ways, stopping to photograph.
I could have stayed longer.
But the weather was gorgeous and I didn’t want to miss it.
Malin Head awaited.
I drove further north under sunny skies.
I couldn’t believe my luck.
It was so miserable as I left Dunfanaghy in the morning.
I knew the weather gods (or maybe Little Mama) were looking over me.
The scenery on the way is lovely with farms dotted with sheep and cows, mountains popping up here and there and the occasional view of the sea.
As I turned toward Malin Head I came upon a parking lot that was right by the water.
So I pulled in and got out of the car to take some pictures.
And the smell of the sea hit me.
It was so strong at that spot and at that moment.
And I loved it.
I looked out to these sea stacks — where they filmed some scenes from the upcoming Star Wars film.
What a fabulous place to film a movie.
I can’t wait to see it and be able to say, “I’ve been there!”
I drove on up to Malin Head.
And it is up.
I drove up to where there is a sort of parking lot to find it very full.
So I turned around and parked along the road down the hill.
Sure I had to walk further.
But I needed the exercise.
And once up at the top where there’s a tower, you get amazing views.
The scenery is stunning!
Views out to the sea.
Views to the pasture land dotted with houses and sheep.
And views to the mountains and to the sea stacks.
There are some nice trails as well.
And had I been feeling better I would have walked all over.
The views were amazeballs in every direction.
But I was getting hungry
So I decided I’d spent enough time at the tip of the Inishowen Peninsula.
I didn’t want to leave.
But somehow I knew I’d be back.
So I drove back toward my B&B.
And then on to Carndonaugh.
Now I think Carndonaugh is quite nice although I think one of the guidebooks didn’t speak as highly about it.
But I found it charming.
It had a “less touristy” vibe to it — it felt more real to me.
I found a wonderful coffee/tea shop called Cafe Banba and had a late lunch.
I wandered around the town a bit and noticed some fun pubs and other cafes and restaurants.
Then I drove back to Red Gate House.
I was smoked.
My regret is not spending more time on the Inishowen Peninsula.
And I wish I had been feeling better as I believe I would have seen more in the short time I was there.
I just kind of felt like poo that day.
But there’s no doubt that this is an exceptional destination in Ireland.
One that is a bit more remote and so will require some time.
I would not — and am so glad I didn’t — do this on a day trip from some other town.
Go spend at least 3 nights there.
I think any less is just not enough to really be there — to truly experience Inishowen as it deserves.
There’s much more than what I saw.
There are more beaches and more views.
There are more villages.
And there are even some bogs inland.
I can’t wait to return!