The Last Of The Summer Wine

The return to school dread is starting to kick in – It’s a bit like that feeling you get when you are away on that much needed two week holiday and on Day 10 the unease begins….nipping away inside your head. The panic slowly starts with the mindful regret and knowing that holidays can’t last forever…the real world beckons…

Like most parents’ I’m starting to feel it this week – the call to the rat race. Early morning starts and fights to hurry up for school, the wee faces away off to their place of learning – be it of an academic or social nature – we have a mix in this house! Lol. The panic cry at the school gate – “Oh No…I forgot my schoolbag!!!”. (Or am I the only mother this happens to???), the dreaded race to get homework complete, study, attend activities, lessons, matches, etc. and if they are lucky have a spare half an hour to actually “play”.

I know there are some of you out there ready to let those busy little ones back to the routine but when I think on our summer spent, I begin to wish that it actually could last forever. The late nights spent playing outside, the long days spent on bike rides, running through neighbouring gardens, kids laughing, football, Buncrana Music Festival, The Foyle Cup, GAA matches, trips to Croke Park, days at the beach, Irish Weddings, BBQs, camping trips with marshmallow smores, Lough Swilly Ferry Trips, Clonmany Music Festival, Car Treasure Hunts, summer camps, playing outside, day trips – carefree living!


(For those of you who haven’t already figured it out – Yes -I’m a mother of 3 boys with all those activities at the helm!!!). But seriously…How lucky are we to live on this glorious isle?


With over 30 holiday homes in our portfolio and having greeted so many guests this summer I know I do not walk alone with these thoughts (Some of you would wonder how I actually managed to get any of the above packed in – but I did…always make time for living is my motto!). I’ve always appreciated our way of life here in Donegal but you hold that thought a little bit closer and dearer to you when you hear people from all over the world sing its praises.

I’ve heard so many people this summer comment on different aspects of Donegal life but there were a few main points that echoed through most of those conversations:

Our wonderful (real) sandy beaches, sailing, kayaking, scenery and surf (with Inishowen Surf School, Inish Adventures and Adventure One Surf School on hand to help the amateurs!);


Our fabulous restaurants and Irish pubs – too many wonderful places to name outright but my top favs being:-

Restaurants – The Red Door Country House, Ubiquitous, Sherpa Indian & Nepalese and The Tap Room, Rathmullan

Cafes – Tank and Skinnys Seaside, The Lily Rose Cafe, The Coffee Cup, Nancys Barn and Belle’s Kitchen 

Pubs – The Halfway House, The Cottage Bar , The Excelsior, McCallions and The Drift Inn

Family Friendly – The Inishowen Gateway Hotel, The Harbour Inn, and Ballyliffin Lodge


Our local points of interest – Grianan Of Aileach, Fort Dunree, Buncrana Castle and O’Dohertys Keep, Mamore Gap, Malin Head, Glenevin Waterfall, Doagh Famine Village, Fanad Head and Lighthouse, Sliabh Liag Cliffs, Glenveagh National Park, Errigal to name but a few.

For the kids, there’s Wains World, Lurgybrack Farm, Halfway Karting, Arena 7, the absolute gem that is Buncrana Cinema, the larger Century Cinemas, Brunswick Moviebowl, Crana Stables, Tullagh Bay Equestrian Stables, Oakfield Park, Leisureland Redcastle, Inishowen Maritime Museum & Planetarium, Fintown Railway, Tropical World and Waterworld Bundoran to name a few favourites…

Fresh air….

Small towns and villages with their slow pace of life; the friendliness of our people (chat is something that we love to do here yet it is so far removed from city life – I met a guest this year who loved our Donegal nature – she commented on how everyone greets you with a friendly hello and wants to find out who you are and has a genuine interest in the conversation. Something we take so much for granted…it’s good to talk!

And so – the rat race is due to begin again. However, I feel a whole lot better knowing that it’s a much better rat race to that of the people out there who live in the large cities with hustle n bustle, tubes n smog, pushing and shoving and no friendly hellos. Yes – we may have limited access to west end shows, high profile concerts, large scale tradeshows BUT….We “are” living in the real life holiday zone. So…between the jigs and the reels of the upcoming weeks…take time…slow down…have the walk on the beach…the picnic on the shore greens…take the kids to the park where the sea-breeze catches your sails.

Open the windows and doors and let the fresh air in cause this ain’t no practice run. This is the here and now…our one bite at the cherry. Luckily, for us – in Donegal we have it all.

For all of you visitors and ex-pats living abroad who have just spent your summer break in beautiful Donegal we await your return with open arms. As our very own local Greencastle native Patsy Cavanagh once wrote and Daniel O’Donnell, Nathan Carter and numerous others have sung – “My feet may wander a thousand places but my heart will lead me back home to My Donegal”

Up here it’s different…come and see for yourself….you won’t be disappointed.

Stay with Us and Feel at Home

Wild Atlantic Wanderer

An ode to Donegal summers...