Please take a look at our beautiful house and its stunning surrounding area. It is very special to us and our two girls and we are sure that you will come to love it also.
The web settings don't allow us to select properly - but the house can sleep 7 in three bedrooms. There are two double rooms and one room with double and single bed.
Our home has been built with a strong traditional theme in mind. We used natural building products where possible and also employed some features that would have been used in days gone by. Coupled with up-to-date plumbing, electrical and insulation techniques, this home is as comfortable as it is beautiful.
We are one of fourteen in a cluster managed as a whole to ensure that the area remains neat and tidy. The house has been built with efficient energy saving features in mind. All houses feed off a central gas tank, the wastewater is treated to the strictest environmental standards and there are recycling bins within walking distance.
*Our house has been awarded 4-star by the Irish Government's official body. We are audited on an annual basis.
Our traditional-style holiday home has been built within the wall of the vegetable and fruit gardens that belonged to the Portsalon Hotel, which was situated nearby. These walls were kept as near to the originals as possible. A gate protects the site. This offers the occupier a sense of security and being in touch with the past history of the area. The site occupies a beautiful elevated aspect overlooking the sea and is adjacent to the beach and a short walk from the golf course.
Within walking distance...
If you are looking for somewhere to come for a care free quiet holiday, this is the place. Our house is comfortable and warm. There is a pub and restaurant exactly 137 steps from door of house to door of pub. It was awarded the Egon Roney Award in 1995 and will serve you an excellent pint of Guinness by a peat fire, get you your bread and milk and send you on your way with the best fish and chips in the North West. No worries about who is going to cook or drive home.
There are two more shops in Portsalon, where you can get just about anything you might need for a couple of weeks holiday. There are another two restaurants and two pubs in Portsalon. Portsalon Beach was voted by the British newspaper "The Observer" as being the second most beautiful beach in the world. The beach and pier are no more than two minutes walk away. The beach is two miles long, has beautiful white sand and is mostly empty by normal standards. Ballymastocker Bay is within Lough Swilly and protected by Knockalla Mountain so the beach is protected from the worst of the Atlantic weather. It is great for walking and exercise.
Portsalon Golf Club is 500 yards away. The golf course is an 18 hole par 69 links course, and has been around since 1891. It is one of the oldest golf courses in Ireland, is beautifully designed in the true tradition of the 'out and in' links course. It is open to non-member but does not offer club hire. It is well worth bringing your own clubs. Even if you do not play the game, the course runs along the edge of the beach and offers a lovely walk with fantastic views.
Who are we?
We are Susan (from Armagh) and Gerry (from Belfast). We are not using the house at the moment as we are currently working in Africa. Gerry is helping to develop fish farming in rural areas. Susan is a physiotherapist, overwhelmed with patients, but also encouraging foreign physios to visit and share their specialist knowledge with local professional associations.
If you hit the contacts button – you will get in touch with my mum who is looking after the house and its bookings for us – thanks Mum!
Enjoy, and don't forget to leave your comments .
Susan & Gerry
*We are audited by the Tourism Standards Assessments Ltd - the Authorised service provider to Fáilte Ireland.
Failte Ireland is the National Tourism Development Authority of Ireland responsible to the Government Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism.
Last assessment 23 Feb 2012 ref 123974 by Ann Marie Blake
|Size||Sleeps up to 6, 3 bedrooms|
|Rooms||3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms of which 1 family bathroom and 1 en suite|
|Check in time:||14:00|
|Check out time:||12:00|
|Nearest beach||Portsalon 100 m|
|Nearest Amenities||100 m|
|Nearest travel links||Nearest airport: Derry 78 km, Nearest railway: Derry 68 km|
|Family friendly||Great for children of all ages|
|Notes||No pets allowed, No smoking at this property|
|Luxuries||DVD player, Sea view|
|General||Central heating, TV, CD player|
|Standard||Kettle, Toaster, Iron, Hair dryer|
|Utilities||Clothes dryer, Dishwasher, Cooker, Microwave, Fridge, Freezer, Washing machine|
|Furniture||Double Beds (3), Single Beds (1), Cots available (1), Dining seats for 6, Lounge seats for 6|
|Other||Linen provided, Towels provided, High chair available|
|Outdoors||Balcony or terrace, Shared garden|
|Access||Parking, Not suitable for wheelchair users|
|Further details indoors|
* Quality pine flooring to hallway, living/dining, master bedroom and all upstairs accommodation with varnish finish
|Further details outdoors|
* Natural slate roof
County Donegal (Dhún na nGall) is a county in North West Ireland. It is part of the Border Region and is also located in the province of Ulster.
In terms of size and area, it is the largest county in Ulster and the fourth largest county in all of Ireland. Uniquely, County Donegal shares a border with only one other county in the Republic of Ireland – County Leitrim. The greater part of its land border is shared with three counties of Northern Ireland: County Londonderry, County Tyrone and County Fermanagh. This geographic 'isolation' from the rest of the Republic has led to Donegal people maintaining a distinct cultural identity and has been used to market the county with the slogan Up here it's different. While Lifford is the County Town, Letterkenny is by far the largest town in the county. Letterkenny and the nearby city of Derry form the main economic axis of the north-west of Ireland.
Physically, the county is by far the most rugged and mountainous in Ulster. The county consists chiefly of low mountains, with a deeply indented coastline forming natural loughs, of which both Lough Swilly and Lough Foyle are the most notable. The famous mountains (often known as 'the Hills of Donegal') consist of two major ranges, the Derryveagh Mountains in the north and the Bluestack Mountains in the south, with Mount Errigal at 749 metres (2,457 ft) the highest peak. The Slieve League cliffs are the sixth-highest sea cliffs in Europe, while Donegal's Malin Head is the most northerly point on the island of Ireland.
The climate is temperate and dominated by the Gulf Stream, with warm, damp summers and mild wet winters. Two permanently inhabited islands, Arranmore and Tory Island, lie off the coast, along with a large number of islands with only transient inhabitants. Ireland's second longest river, the Erne, enters Donegal Bay near the town of Ballyshannon. The River Erne, along with other Donegal waterways, has been dammed to produce hydroelectric power. The River Foyle separates part of County Donegal from parts of both counties Londonderry and Tyrone.
At various times in its history, it has been known as County Tirconaill, County Tirconnell or County Tyrconnell (Irish: Contae Thír Chonaill). The former was used as its official name during 1922–1927. This is in reference to both the old túath of Tír Chonaill and the earldom that succeeded it. County Donegal is famous for being the home of the once mighty Clann Dálaigh, whose most famous branch were the Clann Ó Domhnaill, better known in English as the O'Donnell Clan. Until around 1600, the O'Donnells were one of Ireland's richest and most powerful Gaelic (native Irish) ruling-families. Within the Province of Ulster only the Clann Uí Néill (known in English as the O'Neill Clan) of modern County Tyrone were more powerful. The O'Donnells were Ulster's second most powerful clan or ruling-family from the early 13th-century through to the start of the 17th-century. For several centuries the O'Donnells ruled Tír Chonaill, a Gaelic kingdom in West Ulster that covered almost all of modern County Donegal. The head of the O'Donnell family had the titles An Ó Domhnaill (meaning The O'Donnell in English) and Rí Thír Chonaill (meaning King of Tír Chonaill in English). Based at Donegal Castle in Dún na nGall (modern Donegal Town), the O'Donnell Kings of Tír Chonaill were traditionally inaugurated at Doon Rock near Kilmacrenan. O'Donnell royal or chiefly power was finally ended in what was then the newly created County Donegal in September 1607, following the Flight of the Earls from near Rathmullan. The modern County Arms of Donegal (dating from the early 1970s) was influenced by the design of the old O'Donnell royal arms. The County Arms is the official coat of arms of both County Donegal and Donegal County Council.
The modern County Donegal was shired by order of the English Crown in 1585. The English authorities at Dublin Castle formed the new county by amalgamating the old Kingdom of Tír Chonaill with the old Lordship of Inishowen. However, the English authorities were unable to establish control over Tír Chonaill and Inishowen until after the Battle of Kinsale in 1602. Full control over the new County Donegal was only achieved after the Flight of the Earls in September 1607. The county was one of those 'planted' during the Plantation of Ulster from around 1610 onwards.
County Donegal was one of the worst affected parts of Ulster during the Great Famine of the late 1840s in Ireland. Vast swathes of the county were devastated by this catastrophe, many areas becoming permanently depopulated. Vast numbers of County Donegal's people emigrated at this time, chiefly through the Port of Derry. Huge numbers of the county's people who emigrated were to settle in Glasgow in southern Scotland.
The Partition of Ireland in the early 1920s was to have a massive direct impact on County Donegal. Partition cut the county off, economically and administratively, from Derry, which had acted for centuries as the county's main port, transport hub and financial centre. Derry, together with West Tyrone, was henceforward in a new, different jurisdiction officially called Northern Ireland. Partition also meant that County Donegal was now almost entirely cut off from the rest of the jurisdiction it now found itself in, the new dominion called the Irish Free State. This dominion became fully independent in April 1949 when it left the Commonwealth and became the Republic of Ireland. Only a few miles of the county is physically connected by land to the rest of the Republic. The existence of this border, cutting Donegal off from her natural hinterlands in Derry City and West Tyrone, has greatly exacerbated the economic difficulties of the county since partition. The county's economy is particularly susceptible, just like that of Derry City, to the currency fluctuations of the Euro against Sterling.
Added to all this, in the late 20th-century, County Donegal was, by the standards of the rest of the Republic of Ireland, to be adversely affected by The Troubles in Northern Ireland. The county was to suffer several bombings and at least two assassinations. In June 1987, Constable Samuel McClean, a Donegal man who was a serving member of the R.U.C., was shot dead by the I.R.A. at his family home near Drumkeen. In May 1991, the prominent Sinn Féin politician Councillor Eddie Fullerton was assassinated by the U.D.A. at his home in Buncrana. This added further to the economic and social difficulties of the county. However, the Good Friday Agreement (G.F.A.) of April 1998 has been of great benefit to the county.
It has been labelled the 'forgotten county' by its own politicians, owing to the increasing regularity with which it is ignored by the Irish Government, even in times of crisis.
Road signs in Irish in the Gaoth Dobhair Gaeltacht.
Much of the county is seen as being a bastion of Gaelic culture and the Irish language, the county holding the second-largest Gaeltacht area in the country with a population of 24,504. 16% of the county's population lives in the Gaeltacht. Gweedore is the largest Irish-speaking parish with over 4,000 inhabitants. All schools in the region use Irish as the language of instruction. One of the N.U.I.G.'s constituent colleges, Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, is based in Gweedore. The version of the Irish language spoken in County Donegal is Ulster Irish.
An extensive rail network used to exist throughout the county and was mainly operated by the County Donegal Railways Joint Committee and the Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway Company (known as the L. & L.S.R. or the Lough Swilly Company for short). The Great Northern Railway (Ireland) L.t.d. (the G.N.R.) also ran a line from Strabane through The Laggan, a district in the east of the county, along the River Foyle into Derry. Even though the railways in Donegal are fondly remembered, the network was completely closed by 1960. Today, the closest railway station to the county is Waterside Station in the City of Derry, which is operated by Northern Ireland Railways (N.I.R.).
County Donegal is served by both Donegal Airport, located at Carrickfinn in The Rosses in the west of the county, and by City of Derry Airport, located at Eglinton to the east. The nearest main international airport to the county is Belfast International Airport (popularly known as Aldergrove Airport), which is located to the east at Aldergrove, near Antrim Town, in County Antrim, around fifty-seven miles from Derry City and around seventy-five miles from Letterkenny.
The variant of the Irish language spoken in Donegal shares many traits with Scottish Gaelic. The Irish spoken in the Donegal Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking area) is of the Ulster dialect, while Inishowen (parts of which only became English-speaking in the early 20th century) used the East Ulster dialect. Ulster Scots is often spoken in both the Finn Valley and The Laggan district of East Donegal. Donegal Irish has a strong influence on learnt Irish across Ulster.
Like other areas on the western seaboard of Ireland, Donegal has a distinctive fiddle tradition which is of world renown. Donegal is also well known for its songs which have, like the instrumental music, a distinctive sound. Donegal musical artists such as the bands Clannad and Altan and solo artist Enya, all from Gaoth Dobhair, have had international success with traditional or traditional flavoured music. Donegal music has also influenced people not originally from the county including folk and pop singer Paul Brady. Popular music is also common, the county's most acclaimed rock artist being the Ballyshannon-born Rory Gallagher.
Donegal has a long literary tradition in both Irish and English. The famous Irish navvy-turned-novelist Patrick MacGill, author of many books about the experiences of Irish migrant itinerant labourers in Britain at around the turn of the 19th to 20th century, such as The Rat Pit and the autobiographical Children of the Dead End, is from the Glenties area. There is a literary summer school in Glenties named in his honour. The novelist and socialist politician Peadar O'Donnell hailed from The Rosses in west Donegal. The poet William Allingham was also from Ballyshannon. Modern exponents include the Inishowen playwright and poet Frank McGuinness and the playwright Brian Friel. Many of Friel's plays are set in the fictional Donegal town of Ballybeg.
Authors in Donegal have been creating works, like the Annals of the Four Masters, in Gaelic and Latin since the Early Middle Ages. The Irish philosopher John Toland was born in Inishowen in 1670. He was thought of as the original freethinker by George Berkeley. Toland was also instrumental in the spread of freemasonry throughout Continental Europe. In modern Irish Donegal has produced famous, and sometimes controversial, authors such as the brothers Séamus Ó Grianna and Seosamh Mac Grianna from The Rosses and the contemporary (and controversial) Irish-language poet Cathal Ó Searcaigh from Gortahork in Cloughaneely, and where he is known to locals as Gúrú na gCnoc ('the Guru of the Hills').
Although approximately 85% of its population is Catholic, County Donegal also has a sizeable Protestant minority. Most Donegal Protestants would trace their ancestors to settlers who arrived during the Plantation of Ulster in the early 17th-century. The Church of Ireland is the largest Protestant denomination but is closely rivalled by a large number of Presbyterians. The areas of Donegal with the highest percentage of Protestants are The Laggan area of East Donegal around Raphoe, the Finn Valley and areas around Ramelton, Milford and Dunfanaghy – where their proportion reaches up to 30–45 percent. There is also a large Protestant population between Donegal Town and Ballyshannon in the south of the county. In absolute terms, Letterkenny has the largest number of Protestants (over 1000) and is the most Presbyterian town (among those settlements with more than 3000 people) in the Republic of Ireland. Some County Donegal Protestants (mainly those concentrated in The Laggan and the Donegal Town/Ballintra areas) are members of the Orange Order, a controversial religious and social society.
The Earagail Arts Festival is held within the county each July. It is considered to be one of the best arts festivals in Ireland, North or South. It is certainly one of the main arts festivals within Ulster.
Donegal has also contributed to culture elsewhere. One Donegal native, Francis Alison, was one of the founders of the College of Philadelphia, which would later become the University of Pennsylvania. The Rev. Francis Makemie (originally from Ramelton) founded the Presbyterian Church in America. The Rev. David Steele, from Upper Creevaugh, was a prominent Reformed Presbyterian, or Covenanter, minister who emigrated to the United States in 1824. He maintained a strict testimony for the Covenanted Reformation until his death, in Philadelphia, in 1887.
Places of interest
Glenveagh National Park.
With its sandy beaches, unspoilt boglands and friendly communities, Co. Donegal is a favoured destination for many travellers, Irish (especially Northern Irish) and foreign alike. One of the county treasures is Glenveagh National Park (formerly part of the Glenveagh Estate), as yet (November 2010) the only official national park anywhere in the Province of Ulster. The park is a 140 km² (about 35,000 acre) nature reserve with spectacular scenery of mountains, raised boglands, lakes and woodlands. At its heart is Glenveagh Castle, a beautiful late Victorian 'folly' that was originally built as a summer residence.
The Donegal Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking district) also attracts young people to County Donegal each year during the school summer holidays. The three week long summer Gaeltacht courses give young Irish people from other parts of the country a chance to learn the Irish language and traditional Irish cultural traditions that are still prevalent in parts of Donegal. The Donegal Gaeltacht has traditionally been a very popular destination each summer for young people from Northern Ireland. Scuba Diving is also very popular with a club being located in Donegal Town.
Gaelic football and hurling
The Gaelic Athletic Association sport of Gaelic football is very popular in Donegal. Donegal's inter-county football team have won the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship title once (in 1992). In 2007 Donegal won only their second national title by winning the National Football League. On 24 April 2011, Donegal added their third national title when they defeated Laois to capture the National Football League Division Two. There are 16 clubs in the Donegal Senior Football Championship, with many others playing at a lower level.
Hurling, handball and rounders are also played but are less widespread, as in other parts of northwestern Ireland. The Donegal county senior hurling team has never managed a title.
There are several rugby teams in the county. These include Ulster Qualifying League Two side Letterkenny RFC, whose ground is named after Dave Gallaher, the captain of the 1905 New Zealand All Blacks touring team, who have since become known as The Originals. He was born in nearby Ramelton.
Ulster Qualifying League Three sides include Ballyshannon RFC, Donegal Town RFC and Inishowen RFC.
Finn Harps plays in the League of Ireland and won promotion to the Premier Division in 2007 following a 6–3 aggregate win in the playoff final. They are now back alongside their arch-rivals Derry City F.C., with whom they contest Ireland's North-West Derby. There are numerous other clubs in Donegal, but none has achieved the status of Finn Harps.
Many people travel to Donegal for the superb golf links—long sandy beaches and extensive dune systems are a feature of the county, and many links courses have been developed. Golf is a very popular sport within the county, including world class golf courses such as Ballyliffin (Glashedy), Ballyliffin (Old),both of whch are located in the Inishowen peninsula. Other courses to note are Murvagh (located outside Donegal Town), Portsalon Championship Course (Fanad Head) and Rosapenna (Sandy Hills) located in Downings (near Carrigart). The Glashedy Links has been ranked 6th in a recent ranking taken by Golf Digest on the best courses in Ireland. The Old links was ranked 28th, Murvagh 36th and Sandy Hills 38th.
Surfing and Kite Surfing
Bundoran is regarded as one of the best surfing spots in Ireland and Europe.
Because of some Donegal's hilly and mountain landscape, Mountain Biking has become a significant and growing interest. The Donegal Mountain Bike Club is the newest Mountain Bike club in Donegal, and held its first race on 31 August 2011. The 'Bogman Race' was entered by more than 50 people from different backgrounds of cycling. Due to the overwhelming popularity of their first ever race, the club plans to organize more races in the near future over different seasons, and aims to make it a major tourist attraction throughout Donegal.
Cricket is also played in County Donegal. This sport is chiefly confined to The Laggan district and the Finn Valley in the east of the county. The town of Raphoe and the nearby village of St. Johnston, both in The Laggan, are the traditional strongholds of cricket within the county. The game is mainly played and followed by members of County Donegal's Protestant community.
Donegal's rugged landscape lends itself to active sports like climbing, hillwalking, surfing and kite-flying.
Rock climbing is of very high quality and still under-developed in the county. There is a wealth of good quality climbs in the county, from granite rocks in the south to quartzite and dolerite in the north; from long mountain routes in the Poisoned Glen to boulder challenges of excellent quality in the west and in the Inishowen Peninsula.
Surfing on Donegal's Atlantic coast is considered to be as good as any in Ireland. The seaside resort of Bundoran, located in the very south of the county, along with nearby Rossnowlagh, have been 'reborn' as the centre of surfing in County Donegal. Indeed, these areas are renowned as the main surfing centres in Ulster.
Portsalon is a typically peaceful Irish fishing village bounded to the east by hills of the Inishowen peninsula, and to the west by Knockallagh Mountain (1200ft). It is on the western shores of Lough Swilly in beautiful north Donegal. An area of immense natural beauty the village possesses a superb blue flag sandy beach, which stretches for 2 miles and a picturesque little harbour, and which looks across at the Dunree Hills, backed by the Uriss Hills.
It is an area of some historical importance situated as it is in the Fanad district, the ancient territory of the Mac Swiney's.
In 1917 the bullion-laden ship Laurentic, was sunk off the coast by a submarine, and amongst the salvage the ship's bell was recovered and can still be seen in Portsalon Church.
To the north of the harbour there are some natural arches and wonderful caves which run along the coastline, the most notable of these being The Seven Arches, a series of caves and tunnels, accessible on foot, and the Doaghbeg Arch also nearby. There is a charming drive to Fanad Head, the site of the famous lighthouse, where the cliffs rise to over 300ft, facing the seaward end of the lough and looking across to Dunaff Head in Inishowen.
For the sportsperson Portsalon has a splendid 18 hold golf course and the shelter of its harbour makes the village an appealing spot for sailing and boating. It all makes Portsalon a very desirable location for a holiday.