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Taking the plunge: Moving to Inishowen

Updated: Sep 13, 2023

As someone seeking to offer ceremonies for life’s big moments, I recently moved from Dublin to Donegal and in terms of scenery, the new backdrop doesn’t get much better.

After years of envying others who made a break from city living, and being thoroughly deflated leaving the sights and sounds of the Wild Atlantic Way behind on returning from holidays each year, we have finally made the move ourselves. At end of August, we moved from north Dublin to north Donegal. From Whitehall Dublin 9 to Greencastle, Inishowen.

We are in the middle of creating our own mini-stories to match the anecdotes that have been part of articles written by people who have also left city life, that have been catching my eye, for years. Like the neighbour who asked, ‘Did you get a chest of drawers delivered here today? Yeah, they were up with me looking for you’. So much for the uniqueness of an Eircode. Or when I tripped and fell heavily at a bad bend in the road was trying to scoop myself up off the middle of the road, when a man passes me in a car. He very kindly offers to help, but I want to be left alone. He then passes me some moments later, further down the road, when I still haven’t quite got myself together, and tells me we are related, that he is married to a relation of mine I don’t know who he is or the relation he mentions. But, sure enough, I bumped into a distant cousin at GAA practice several weeks later and realised she was married to him.

There are some things that take more adjusting to than others. We were loyal customers of one of the larger discount grocery stores. We used to live 5 minutes from one. The nearest one now is 40 minutes away. So, our trip there has to be a bit more planned. But that’s a very minor inconvenience. Much more sobering is to see the signs of Mica – both on placards which are frequent along the roadside, and more strikingly on the walls of so many houses here. It really is a blight in this part of the world.

On the plus side, however, there are many, many things to make it a great place to be. The close-knit community, and passionate commitment to making sports, music, and other activities possible and available to all. The warmth of the welcome to us as people who previously came for only a few weeks a year. The glory of the sky, the sea, the hills, and the hedgerows. The ferns, Fuschia and mont bretia have been most striking. Having holidayed here in August most years, and not returned until Halloween, I never realised how long into autumn they bloomed. There are many great venues that are available as places for ceremonies, from those who can host large gatherings: , Ballyliffin Hotel, Strand Hotel Ballyliffin, Ballyliffin Lodge Hotel, Inishowen Gateway; to those who can host the more intimate: McGrory’s Culdaff, The Red Door, Fahan or Glack House on Inch Island; to those who can offer both like An Grianan Hotel, Burt and Redcastle Hotel. All of these venues, without exception, offering glorious scenery on their doorstep.

Since landing here, we have been emboldened by the water temperatures -which at some of their highest for the year- and have been taking regular morning dips after a morning walk along the shores of Lough Foyle. I feel like a bit of an eejit for a moment or two before taking the plunge each time. 'What in the name of God am I doing?' But like the bigger plunge we have just taken as a family, it delivers every time. Refreshing, revivifying, good for the body and for the soul.

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