429 – Wednesday 27th July 2016: Carpet Bagging Fish
Roving reporter tonight – James:
Overnighting last night? And course the readers will know of “Lusty Beg”? Now we say ‘readers’ because we know there are at least 2 – Amelia being our reader and roving reporter based at Killiney Beach – and Mary Kate reporting from Banbridge assisted by Michael and Daniel (of the new fashionable first ever haircut…). Anyway, getting back to Busty Leg (oops, Chardonnay is not really busty – or busting a leg…). A stunning (that word again) small ferry crossing to a major party venue (conferences and weddings) – we declined to party there and settled for our own Chardyparty… We woke to heavy downpours 😦 No run and a damp enthusiasm.
Donegal Carpets have graced the Ambassadorial residences of countries around the globe, prestigious hotels, wealthy houses, Buckingham Palace and – “Aras an Uachtarain” – the official residence of the President of Ireland. Very sadly, this may be coming to an end… But on with our story…
I had a little prior knowledge of the Donegal Carpets business – Katherine had not really heard of them. So we journeyed to Killybegs town to find parking for our friendly beauty – Katherine! (Actually, I could be in a spot of bother here, so don’t tell her – she doesn’t weigh 4 tonnes – she’s a mere slip of a girl…). Anyway Chardonnay proved difficult to park (she’s not a difficult lass – neither is K (he quickly and diplomatically added…). K wandered across the road to the local TIC – and the nice chap offered to have us parked just off the main street right behind his office! He obviously spotted our 2 beauties – Chard and K!
Armed with maps and lots of useful information, we strolled up to the carpet factory/museum. As always the staff were friendly, professional and very well informed. Started by a Scot in 1857, it grew quickly (4 factories initially) – 3 closed after 10-30 years leaving Killybegs only. The photos show the immense skill and detail involved – every single carpet over 150 years was unique and completely to the owners individual design. K did some weaving and knotting of a carpet in progress…see photos – I was cameraman of the day. The wool for the weaving could only come from the local black-faced sheep – clearly, the sheep facial expression came out on the designs!
The competition from synthetic and mass produced carpets has taken its toll and the last carpet was weaved 3 years ago – with no present orders…
We can only hope that somehow this lovely piece of local industry and history can continue – who would like to buy a nice carpet factory?
The longest loom in the world.
1920’s pic all knotting away. The minimum requirement was 350 knots per minute, but some got up to over 600!
Our wild camping for the night was at Teelin Pier – another lovely quiet harbour – lots of activities during the evening – kids rowing classes, boat trips, fishing… and another gem from our neighbouring fisher folk. K perambulated to chat with some fishermen – and came back with 2 large mackerel – free gratis! Supper was the freshest of fresh Donegal sea produce. Later, our Katherine came upon a couple of Latvian/Lithuanian fishermen – conversing in Russian – K’s Russian is a little rusty – like “2 large vodkas please” – she somehow came away with some generously sized pollock… second free and fresh fish supper tomorrow evening! K: Honest injun … I did not set out to blag two lots of fresh fish … I did offer to pay!
The views out of our window at Teelin Pier …
430 – Thursday 28th July 2016: A New Wooly and an Inspirational Man
Guess what fell from the skies during the evening and night – a kind of soft mixture of moisture, vapour and magic mist! Some folk would call it heavy rain – but we prefer the mystically damp theory! It was so mystically magic the it crept vertically through the open roof lights and attached itself to some clothing – but not to our duvet! We slept peacefully, having enjoyed another (they are increasing) alcohol free evening…
The – lets call it ‘nice rain’ sort of decreased and we shot off (shooting off for us means a leisurely departure at 1030 am) to the area of Malin Beg – not Ballyseg…. We happened upon a Donegal knitwear outlet shop en route and we stopped ‘just to look’ at the Aran-style sweaters. Within a few nano seconds, K’s face lit up at one beautiful cardy-style item. We settled for an early K birthday pressie and the purchase was completed in lusty style … (K: my birthday is not till December!)
As we headed for the beach having been warned of the dangers of the mountain track – we fell into conversation with Pablo (injured toe) and David – Peruvian and Irish lads who were long distance walkers. We suggested they might take a lift with us to Glencolumcille – they were happy sandboys – they had camped overnight on the beach!
A LOT of steps down and back up (!) to the beach …
… proof that we did make it!
Glen Columcille Folk village was established in the 50’s/60’s by a true visionary – Fr James McDyer. A native of Donegal who worked in London initially – he was transferred to Glencolumcille in the 50’s. He immediately recognised the plight of the local folk – emigration, lack of jobs, etc. Under his leadership, they built a village hall, holiday cottages to let and many other projects. He lobbied government for electricity power supplies, water improvements – a saint – you don’t have to be formally canonised to be ‘saintly’. To attract more tourism he created a small village to show life through the ages.
Glen Garish pass en route to Naran beach – the next overnight stay – is the equal of the most spectacular passes in the Lake District!
Glengesh Pass … amazing views, just too misty 😦
Loads of peat cutting all around Donegal. J remembers wielding tools to do this as a wee lad, but nowadays it is is nearly all machine cut.
Glencolumbkille Folk Museum
Would that be an empty glass?!
Whilst Catholicism was repressed the Priests went into hiding and toured villages. If a couple wanted to marry, they poked their fingers through a ‘Promise Rock’ and became bonded. They could then live as a couple until the Priest arrived and performed a formal marriage service.
Naran beach is a popular resort but still not too busy – loads of youngsters on a 2 mile long white flat sandy beach – another Donegal gem! Not an amusement arcade to be seen. K walked the 2 km white sands whilst I had a minor nanny nap. Once the beach carpark emptied out, we move Chardonnay so we would awake with the sea and beach views … also right next to the left open all night toilet block … how convenient is that?
The overnight view of the 2km miles of white soft sand.
Views on K’s walk … layers of mountains and tones …one of those peaks is Mt Errigal, highest mountain in Donegal.
Someone’s hours of work that I photographed on the way out of my walk …
… to witness the joy of some other children then destroy on the return leg. I wondered if the creators would be upset when they came back to the beach tomorrow.
431 – Friday 29th July 2016 – Not Moving in Naran Beach
K rinsed clothes while we were right next to water and then we attempted to move Chard to a longer and less in the way parking space … only to be told by an unpleasant cafe owner that the whole car park was NOT for motorhomes and to read the sign. We’d read every sign … rubbish! No mention of cars only, but we gracefully moved out of his sight. K would have fancied an ice cream later today, but no way will she buy from him! The other locals in a different cafe and the life guards had all been really relaxed when she checked last night about where we could park up.
We ran for not too many miles on the beach – “Tra Mor” in Irish Gaeilge – large beach. Today, Friday – we decided to be still, spend another night in this completely unspoilt corner – and travel onwards tomorrow to where? Any where we call home.
We met Stephen and Christine – relatively new to motor homing and had coffee and cakes! Still working and thinking of going full time – our advice is – just go for it! We had a short walk along the coast until the path disintegrated. Donegal really has not got to grips with tourism … it could do so much more to attract walkers and cyclists, but I suppose it would spoil the uncommercial feel.
We shall be moving the van again tonight once the car park is empty, but not near the unhappy cafe owner!!!