We took the bus to Letterkenny, even though Steve in Derry had told us it wasn’t worth seeing. We went anyway. And it wasn’t. Steve is always right. Always listen to Steve.
Anyway. We were in Letterkenny, which is essentially a bus depot with some shops and a little shopping mall and a fish and chips place, and we didn’t want to be there. So we got on another bus to Dunfanaghy in County Donegal, which was much cuter, and was essentially one street, and was absolutely covered in green and yellow – flags, signs, scarves, the whole deal. Apparently, a major football (aka soccer) tournament had just concluded, and although County Donegal had lost, they were still enjoying making it to the finals. Major excitement for tiny Dunfanaghy. We planned to go to Horn Head, which Rachel had read was a good hiking place with excellent views, which are all things we like. But when we got to Dunfanaghy, not only was it spitting rain, we discovered that Horn Head was a good 7km down the road, and unless you had a bicycle, it was a very long walk. So to ponder that, we went into a funny little diner/cafe/restaurant, and shared an Irish breakfast and watched the only other people in the restaurant, two families with very young babies, also all having Irish breakfasts. Probably because it was an excellent breakfast, and the waitress gave us lots of information, which boiled down to ‘it’s not worth walking to Horn Head, and even if you got a ride, it’s not worth going in the rain.’ Excellent. Thank you, small town Ireland.
No matter. We investigated the next bus. Dunfanaghy, though the home of the famed Horn Head, really has nothing else, and is very tiny, and not very popular on the bus route. So the next bus wasn’t coming until very late in the afternoon, and it wasn’t yet noon. And we had very heavy packs and we were already damp from the rain. Unsure as to what to do next, we went to a very nice looking hotel and asked if we could leave our bags there. Although the woman at the desk looked at us like we were nuts, we’d gotten used to that on the beach, and she did agree to take our bags and keep them in her office until our bus came. While I was sorting that out, Rachel made friends with an older couple who were, of course, somehow related to someone in Canada, which naturally just made us neighbours, and they wanted to know our whole life story and what we were doing in Ireland and where we were going… it was all very Canadian.
We still had a great many hours to kill, and decided to walk in the direction of Horn Head, just to see if we could see what all the fuss was about. It was actually lovely.
We walked out on the mud flats, then back on the road, past the little school and a church, and finally away from all buildings out on a road with sheep and the occasional farmhouse.
At which point it started to rain. And just as we saw the sign for Horn Head, the rain started coming down in sheets.
Rachel was seriously unimpressed. So we turned around, decided to give up on Horn Head, and did hoped to get back to town soon. And just as I was sure Rachel was going to kill me for bringing her out here, around the corner came a little car, the driver of which took pity on us and stopped, and offered us a ride back into town. Perfect timing. She dropped us right outside a cafe, and although she was thrilled to have met Canadians, and to have been able to tell those Canadians about Donegal making it to the football finals, she could not have been more thrilled than us, for the rain had stopped!
Near the coastline was a cafe and gift shop, with all of the signs in Gaelic.
We shared a cup of coffee, and the best piece of chocolate cake, smothered in chocolate icing, homemade, and creme anglaise. The perfect conclusion to our wet day in Dunfanaghy. Every seat in the house was full until closing time, when we all crawled back out into the now-sunfilled streets. After picking up our bags from the hotel, buying a loaf of bread and some fruit and cereal at the small grocery store, we stuck out our arms to stop the bus (cause that’s what the cool kids do. Also, if you don’t stick out your arm, the bus driver thinks you aren’t interested, and just drives away, even though you’re waiting at the bus stop. Very tricky). We were the only passengers boarding at Dunfanaghy, unsurprisingly, and the last people left on the bus that night.