Yesterday was Good Friday, so lots of places were closed. Not a day to go anywhere, as it rained solid all day so we stayed in, lit the fire and spent the day in the warm reading and researching where to go and what to see next.
In the course of doing this, I found out a little more about Gate Lodges in Donegal – and found that there is a book of them that was put together for an exhibition. Sadly, the Gate Lodge we are staying in isn’t mentioned, but there is a little of the history of Gate Lodges in general. From the book:
Gate Lodges: These buildings evolved early in the 18th century in response to the changing character of the parkland. They are mostly found where the private drive of a country house meets the public road. Originally gate lodges were built to house the employees of the estate it guarded, the lodge was usually modest, even Spartan, in the accommodation it provided. Many of the designs were by professional architects who experimented with designs for working-class families in small structures of style and distinction.
Link to the online book: http://www.antaisce.org/sites/antaisce.org/files/2013-08-25-at-gate_lodges_of_donegal-lowres.pdf.
This particular Gate Lodge that we are staying in is located at the gates to the Golf Course – which must once have been the gates to the estate land that was sold to create the golf course (see the poster on the last blog). There is a Gate Lodge featured in Ramelton, which is very close by. It’s a shame that this one isn’t mentioned as I would have like to have known a bit more about it. I’ll ask the owner to see if he has any further information.
Saturday dawned much finer although still cold – it really is cold here – or is it just that I’ve got used to a warm climate? We set off at 10 degrees but sunny and headed for the Giant’s Causeway and the Carrick a Rede rope bridge. Can’t be in this part of Ireland without seeing that!
It turned out to be a drive that took just short of 2 hours and it was a busy day there because of being Easter Saturday. We decided to take out National Trust memberships to save us some money on getting into places while we are travelling. That got us in free on the day.
It really is a Wild Atlantic Coast as the pictures can attest. These next few were taken on the way down to the Causeway – there’s about a 15 minute walk downhill to get to it. It was till 10 degrees but taken lower by the wind that was whipping around us and the rain had started by now as well. Although not heavy, it added to the cold! We did see some people in shorts though…….doesn’t bear thinking about.
The shoreline becomes rockier as you approach
The pictures following are of the Causeway itself. Fascinating to learn how it was made – and I didn’t know it stretched under the sea to Scotland. Every day a school day!
There are around 40,000 of the columns. The tallest are around are 12 meters(39ft) high…
Lots of interesting rock formations caused by erosion:
The Boot – not my picture as we didn’t get close enough. Interesting to know that the Victorians knew this as The Chair. That’s how much it has eroded in that time. I wonder how long before it’s no more than a big stone?
The Chimneys. These are said to be the chimneys of Finn McCool, the giant who (in legend) built the Causeway.
According to this, the chimneys still smoke, so there must still be some serious underground activity going on in this area…
We loved this coach in the car park:
Disappointingly, the rope bridge was closed because of the wind.
As we were in the village of Bushmills, we thought we’d go along to see if we could do the tour of the distillery, but by the time we came away from the Causeway, we were too late for the tour. We’ll try and do the Jameson’s tour when we are in Dublin. This time I’ll book in advance!
We finished off the day with our meal at Brown’s in the golf club just down the road. Very nice dinner in nice surroundings with friendly, efficient staff. We are finding Irish people in general are very warm and friendly. We walked there and back and it actually felt less cold coming back at 11.00pm than it had done in the daytime! Probably because the wind had dropped.
I’m finishing off writing this on Sunday and we are back to wind and rain again. I can hear the wind boomimg around the house. They are showing the Liverpool match in the golf club, so Graham has gone to watch it and interact with the locals a bit!