Waking up to brilliant sunlight shining through the windows, we couldn’t believe it was only 5:00 AM. We took advantage of getting a head start to our day and enjoyed a very early cup of coffee in front of the fire.
Bundling up, we walked a block from our house to the beautiful Atlantic coastline. Birds and waves were our only company. A definite perk of being up and out so early.
Not far from the coast, we could see the small, tidal island of Inishkeel. In the 6th century A.D. a small community of monks established a community there that became a site for pilgrims to visit. Remains of some of the structures are still visible.
Julie, our host, told us that during low tide, the ocean parts just like the Red Sea did for Moses, allowing a two-hour window to walk from the mainland to the island. I couldn’t visualize how that would work until later that day. We could see the island from the golf course and the path was starting to appear. I really wanted to walk through the ocean to the island, but the timing didn’t work out. And Paul wasn’t convinced I would make it back.
Golf at Narin & Portnoo Links
Our main reason for coming to this area was so Paul could play the Narin & Portnoo LInks golf course. Ever since he read Tom Coyne rave about this hidden gem in A Course Called Ireland he has wanted play it. The locals kept telling us how lucky we were to have such a beautiful day for golf. And they were right-it was a perfect sunny day.
Links courses are the oldest style of golf course, and most are built on sandy coast land. More than half of the holes at Narin & Portnoo Links are along the coast and the views are spectacular. I think I spent more time admiring the beautiful scenery than focusing on my golf game.
I started off playing well and feeling confident. It soon became apparent that the first few holes were the easy ones. The course became more challenging and more beautiful as we got farther from the clubhouse.
I only lost one ball, but I must confess I skipped one hole. Tee to fairway was farther than I could hit.
Glenveagh National Park
Locals gave us such great suggestions for how to spend our last day in the area that it was hard to choose. We decided to make the hour drive to Glenveagh National Park, Ireland’s second largest park. It was a great choice! Admission to all six national parks in Ireland is free.
Once again, we got lucky with the weather. It rained on us going and coming, but while we were at the park, it was warm and sunny.
As the day went on, it got warmer and warmer and we kept shedding layers.
A castle built by John Adair in 1857-59 sits in the middle of the huge park.
Beautiful gardens surround the castle.
I love visiting gardens.
After hiking to the castle, we took the scenic hike to the top of the mountain behind the castle. The hike was steep and the view was stunning.
Tomorrow we say good by to this beautiful remote area and go to our next stop just outside Derry.