Bad weather has its advantages. If we are forced to hole up we can catch up on our sleep  and try and make inroads into the vast library of books that accompany us. Better still , if we are able to tie up ashore we have the opportunity to explore on land, and even, shock horror, to meet people; something that  seldom happens in our usual wild anchorages.

Throughout our stay in Ireland we have yet to come across anyone who has been less than friendly , but the folk of Burtonport and the surrounding country have been exceptional. The harbour master and local fishermen welcomed us onto the quay , the folk manning the visitor centre couldn’t have been more helpful, and on one of our bicycle peregrinations one lady offered to follow us into the town and drive our shopping back.  When we thanked her and  explained that we were fine to bring it back ourselves, she offered us the use of her shower. Lynda thinks we may have been a bit whiffy, but I think the offer was made out of genuine kindness. On the island of Gola we met some folk from just North of Dublin, and they confirmed that the people of Donegal are famous for their friendliness and hospitality.

Ah yes , the island of Gola. It is a tiny place just to the north of Aranmore with beautiful sandy bays on the South and East coasts, and spectacular  pink granite cliffs to seaward with great slashing chasms and natural arches.


It sports the familiar ruins of former island homes , with here and there colourfully renovated cottages , although as yet no one lives there all year round. There are two memorials on the island , one of which was in Gaelic. I recognised the picture of an old sailing vessel as being that of Asgard , the yacht in which Erskine Childers transported rifles from Germany to Howth for the Irish nationalist movement and remembered he was helped by two fishermen from Gola. Childers , an Englishman , was shot by the British Government but not being able to read the Gaelic , I don’t know what happened to the two fishermen.


The other memorial was for two descendants of Gola families who were killed in the 9/11 Twin Towers horror. It was sobering to be reminded of man’s repeated brutality  in such a remote and beautiful place and  it occurred to me that, for now at least , the nationalist stirrings that underly the Brexit controversy are being handled by the ballot box rather than rifles and bombs.



On a lighter note , not only were we visited by two curraghs rowing out from the mainland  but on our wanderings  I was thrilled by a sighting of  a real  Irish pixie under a cliff. For the unbelievers amongst you , we have photographic evidence!



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