Narin / Portnoo Beach

Narin is a sheltered cove beach approximately 2km long on the Atlantic coast of Ireland. Approximately 2km from Portnoo, 8km from Ardara or 10km from Glenties this impressive Blue Flag beach has safe waters for bathing and is attended by a lifeguard during the summer months. There are toilet facilities near the beach with ample parking also available. Local shops, bars and restaurants are within walking distance and there are three well-maintained caravan sites close to the strand area.

An extensive sandy beach in a rural environment. The beach is backed by an extensive and majestic sand dune system with a well defined primary dune ridge. The coastal area here is a designated NHA exhibiting a highly diverse range of both coastal and terrestrial habitats.

The beach at Narin can be found by travelling north on the R261 from Ardara and heading towards the village of Narin.

Lifeguard

Lifeguards are on duty in July and August everyday between 12.00 noon and 6.30pm.

First Aid

A First Aid kit is available at the Beach Lifeguard Hut-12.00 and 6.30pm or Cunninghams Pub

Although the village faces north into the Atlantic the hills to the west on Dunmore Head offer very welcome protection. The rocks on the shore near the pier tell the story of how this part of Donegal was formed, millions of years ago: you can see slates run through with veins of granite, and black crystalline limestone showing the effects of millennia of erosion by rain and sea spray.

Looking out to sea the first sight is the island of Inishkeel, Inis Caoil in Gaelic, which gives its name to the local parish, including the town of Glenties. Beyond Inishkeel one can see the estuary of the Gweebarra River and the southern edge of the Rosses. When the tide is low one can walk from Narin out to the island which is named after Conall Caol, the sixth century saint who is associated with many other places in the southwest of the county. The tide allows you around an hour to visit the sites, before walking back again. It is well worth a visit, with its early Christian churches, holy wells and beautifully decorated stone slabs.

Famine Graveyard

Directly behind Ard Patrick housing estate is the site of the Famine Graveyard. To enter the graveyard, one must drive up into the housing estate an d there you will find and entrance between the first phase of houses built and the new houses (which have a porch). In 1997 the grounds of the graveyard was repaired and a headstone was erected in commemoration of these people who died during the Great Famine (1846-1849). The Comprehensive school is situated on the grounds of the ‘Old Hospital’ and the ‘Workhouse’ was situated where the first phase of houses are built.

During the time of the Famine, this Workhouse was a very important place in our town.The Famine was due to the failure of the potato crop, by a disease called “Blight”. At that time the main food taken was potatoes, and bread if the flour was available. This also became a problem as the flour got scarce.

In 1847 the famine had got so bad and that there were men roaming the countryside begging for food. The “Workhouse” became so overcrowded, which made the living conditions dreadful, causing a fever to spread rapidly. There was no ventilation,no food, not enough straw to make beds on the floor, and because the “Workhouse” was built on low ground it sometimes used to flood, causing a dreadful smell. This led to the death rate being one of the highest in the country. When these people died they were buried in the “Famine Graveyard”.

Narin & Portnoo Golf Club

For over 100 years, golfers have enjoyed the superb links terrain adjacent to the magnificent Blue Flag beach at Narin in West Donegal. The view from the beach-hugging fifteenth hole encapsulates all that is magical about this most scenic of areas, with the arc of Narin Strand, Inniskeel Island, Portnoo, Dunmore Head, Arranmore Island and the majestic Atlantic Ocean filling the senses. The new clubhouse offers the ultimate in style and comfort, with fine cuisine and a convivial atmosphere.

A warm welcome awaits visitors and societies to the club. It has been selected by The Irish Times as one of the Top Ten Value-for-Money golf courses in Ireland. Green Fees and Societies are welcome seven days a week. Every men’s Sunday competition is open, except during Captain’s Weekend. Every Wednesday singles competition is open to both ladies and gents. The ladies branch host special reduced-fee open days during the summer.

The facilities include the newly-refurbished clubhouse, professional shop, professional lessons, practice area, practice net, locker rooms, putting green, shop, buggies, trolleys and club hire. A full menu is available from the caterers seven days a week.

The course lies six miles northwest of Glenties, eight miles north of Ardara, through the village of Narin. Donegal International Airport at Carrickfinn is just 45 minutes away. Both Ardara and Glenties are within seven miles of the club and rarely a weekend goes by without some festival or other visitor attraction being organised. The Dolmen Centre in nearby Kilclooney is a hub of activity for all interest groups. Those with a taste for archaeology, botany, fishing, traditional music, hill-walking, bird-watching, water sports and more are well catered for in the local area.

The club has always been renowned for its hospitality, while the course itself has tantalised golfers of all handicaps with the variety of shots required to manoeuvre the ball to a respectable score. The par is 73 and the course from the back tees measures some 6,854 yards. Visitor tees are available to those who desire a shorter, though still challenging test. The jewels in the crown are the pair of snaking par fives that will beguile the enthusiast on the homeward journey.

Once ensconced in the cosiest and friendliest of nineteenth holes, the golfer will be hard-pressed to name a favourite hole, as there are so many contenders for the moniker of “Signature”. Some say the par five fifteenth, while others prefer the short, but treacherous, chasm-crossing, par three seventh.

The club hosts a popular Pro-Am each summer which attracts some of the best professional golfers in Ireland. Former Ryder Cup star, Philip Walton was runner-up to two-time winner, Damian Mooney in 2008.

You’ll be counting the days till the next time, once you’ve experienced this gem’s delights!

Head out to sea with Tor Mór charter boat

Kingfisher 31′ Sport, 500HP, custom built charter boat.

Located at Rosebg & Portnoo, south-west county Donegal, the Tor Mór charter boat has a P5 license to carry 12 passengers. The Tor Mór charter provides the perfect opportunity to explore the wealth of marine and coastal attractions in the clean, clear waters of South West Donegal.

Now available for full, half-day & evening mackerel charters.

Sea Angling

With a spacious aft deck Tor Mór is ideal for fishing. Donegal’s waters have some of the best fishing and angling available. There is a wealth of reefs and wrecks in the local area with a variety species including:

Mackerel, Haddock, Ling, Pollock & Wrasse, as well as Blue Shark in season from Mid-July to Mid-September and the possibility of Blue Fin Tuna from Mid-Sept to November.

Rods and Tackle are provided free on board.

SCUBA Diving

Donegal enjoys some of the clearest waters in Western Europe and outstanding underwater geographic features with rock faces, gullies and boulders fields.

Sight Seeing

Within easy access are; Sliabh a’ Thuaidh, with one of the countries largest Grey Seal colonies, Sea Stacks An Tor Mór and Gúb an Diabhail, and Ráthlin Ó Beirne island.

The Deep-vee hull provides a safe, smooth ride and easy planing. It has good load carrying capacity and is ideally suited to rough conditions; with good stability and excellent handling.

The comfortable cabin can provide shelter from the worst of the elements. There is a fridge and micro-wave provided that can be used to reheat food, though you must provide this yourself. Toilet facilities are available on board.

Tel: +353 (0) 87 2458514
Email: tormorcharterboat@gmail.com
Web: http://www.tirconnellcharters.com

Fishing on the Owenea

The Owenea River runs for some 13 miles, draining Lough Ea in the west of the Croaghs, into Loughrosmore Bay at Ardara. The Owenea is primarily a spate river taking around one to two days to run off after a good flood. The season on the Owenea runs from 1 April to 30 September.

The Owenea is one of the best salmon rivers in the county. The river has a run of spring salmon, grilse, sea trout and has a resident stock of small brown trout. The fishery consists of nine beats on the bottom eight miles of the river with good pools spread throughout the whole river. The river has a lot of nice fly water with the majority of fish being caught by this method. When in condition the river is one of the best in the country for grilse. The main grilse run starts in July with salmon right to the end of the season.

The fishery has access for disabled anglers along a section of beat 3. There is an ongoing programme of maintenance and upgrading of access, angling structures, habitat restoration etc. Additional funding was obtained from Fáilte Ireland in 2007 to improve facilities and access for anglers on the river.

N.B. Shrimp and Prawn are strictly prohibited.

Permits
Adult day permits €35
Juvenile (under 16) day permits €15
Weekly (seven-day) permits €175

Bookings/Further information
To book online go to the Donegal Angling Holidays website. Single-day and multi-day fishing products are available. Please ensure that you also purchase a licence if you book your fishing permit online. To fish on the Owenea you must hold a fishing permit and a fishing licence.

Bookings are non-transferable. Rods are assigned to beats on a first come first served basis. Payment can made by credit or debit card, including Visa, MasterCard and Laser.

Bookings and in-season information available through:
Owenea Angling Centre, Glenties Hatchery, Glenties, Co. Donegal. Tel: (074) 9551141. Fax: (074) 9551444. Email: nrfbglenties@eircom.net

Off-season information available through
Northern Regional Fisheries Board, Station road, Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal. Tel: (071) 9851435. Fax: (071) 9851816. Email: info@nrfb.ie

Sandfield Pitch and Putt

A wonderfully challenging 18 hole Pitch & Putt course with spectacular views of Loughros Bay and the hills of Donegal. Once described by a regular visitor as “The St. Andrews of Pitch & Putt Courses”, this lovingly maintained course with carpet quality Greens, offers an exciting and enjoyable game to both the first time visitor or seasoned pitch & Putt. Player/Golfer who wishes to improve his/her skills. No two holes are the same in this unique setting, where you are welcome from 10.30am to one hour before sunset every day from April to September.


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Walk the Bluestack Way

The Bluestack Way, beginning in Donegal Town it takes the walker along country lanes to the magnificent Lough Eske. The main route take the road along the Northern shore of the lake while there is a circle route along the roadway on the Southern shore. Accomodation is plentiful in the Lough Eske area.

Finished viewing Lough Eske. Take the Path way to the east of Banagher Hill through the Eglish Valley and along the foothills of the Bluestack Mountains.
Take in the wonderful views of the main peaks in the Bluestacks to your right and the Sligo mountains and Donegal Bay to your left.

Take time to view the Greg Mare’s Tale water fall as you cross the Eany More water.
Near the foot of Carnaween take time to visit the ancient graveyard at Disert.

Crossing the mountain gives spectacular views into the valley of Glenties and the town of Ardara.

In Glenties take time to visit the local museum. This is the home of Patrick MacGill which hosts apopular Summer School every August in his honour. September 12th is the Harvest Fair Day in Glenties one of the oldest fairs in Ireland.

Leaving Glenties follow the Bank of the Owenea River to Ardara.

For more information see the Walking Ireland website

The Courthouse

Unusually for the small townships of West Donegal, Glenties has both a Market House and a Court House. The former seems to have been built about 1840 for the Marquis of Conyngham. It is a long low gabled two-storey building with two separate outside stairways giving access to the upper floor: today used as youth club, recreation room, stores and garage. In the lower storey, there is a single wide segmental arc and on either side an arched doorway: windows have been added rather miscellaneously from time to time. The quoins and dressings are of cut stone, as are the chimneys, otherwise the building is of random rubble harled over. Rather oddly, but endearingly, the upper walls are set back all round on the base furnished by the lower storey and stringcourse. The eaves of the Sables have cheerful little carved wooden brackets.

The courthouse is surprisingly sophisticated. It is a variant on William Caldbeck’s standard design, of five bays and two storeys, with hipped roof, built over a basement containing the bride well cells. The two end bays project, and the roof over sails the central bays. In the upper storey are five large round-headed windows, set in recesses and plain round-headed architraves, with their original glazing; the doors are set between simplified pilasters supporting pediment-shaped heads. The eaves have square modillions; the imposing chimneys form an integral part of the composition. The quality of the stonework is uncommonly high throughout. The original courtroom furnishings, including high box-pews, remain quite unaltered.

This building was the cause of acrimony between the Grand Jury and the Lord Lieutenant. The Grand Jury considered it “unnecessary and inexpedient” in view of the propinquity of the new courthouse at Donegal; His Excellency differed, and directed them to build it, at a cost of £900. This sum they resolutely refused to vote, on the advice of their Surveyor, who suggested that £650 would be more than adequate. After an exchange of stiff memoranda and resolutions the Grand Jury was constrained, with very poor grace, to give way. The building was in fact completed in 1843.

The Grand Jurymen of Co. Donegal were as parsimonious as they were stiff- necked. At the height of the Great Famine, they noted that Lifford Gaol (built for 113) was overcrowded by an additional 87 prisoners; to remedy this inconvenience and to discourage those who might commit offences in order to be fed in prison, they solemnly recommended to Government that the statutory minimum diet in the prison be reduced to accord with the current diet outside.

Legendary Glenties Footballer

The death took place of Columba McDyer, a member of the Cavan team which defeated Kerry in the 1947 All-Ireland football final in the Polo Grounds, New York.

A native of Glenties, Co. Donegal, McDyer was on the first Ulster team to win the Railway Cup in 1942 and also played in the same competition with Connacht.

His travels took him to Cavan in 1947 where he was a valuable member of the attack which defeated Kerry by 2-11 to 2-7, scoring a point in the final. Following his success with Cavan he returned to Donegal and his native Glenties where he coached the Donegal senior team for a number of years.

While in Cavan he worked as a carpenter with Elliotts, Church St. but in later years on his return to Donegal he took up a teaching career in Vocational schools in Donegal teaching carpentry.
Aged 80, the funeral takes place in Glenties today (Thursday).

He is survived by his wife, Peggy, sons, Paddy, Alec, James, Columba and Dan and daughters, Ena, Peggy, Deirdre, Patricia, Annie, Breege and Paula.

In a tribute to Columba McDyer, former Cavan star of the forties and fifties, Mick Higgins who played with him in that great All-Ireland year of ’47 said there was no yellow or red cards needed when Columba was playing.

“He was a gentleman on and off the field and was fortunate to have a midfield partner in Phil “Gunner”Brady who looked after anything that was needed to be looked after.
“I played against him when he was playing for Donegal. He came to Cavan at a time when we were having centre-field problems.

We found him to be an outstanding player and he solved our problems in this area of the field in partnership with Phil Brady.

“He was a great athlete with wonderful fielding. His chief asset, at least I felt, was his fetching. He was a fine fielder of a ball and never relied on punching, he always caught it.
“Columba was a genius too to launch an attack.

He didn’t play defensive football as was commonly understood and he always managed to get scores at vital periods.

Mick described Columba as quiet and unassuming. “You wouldn’t know he was on the pitch. He was a real gentleman on and off the field.

“He never resorted to rough play and was always skilful and naturally fit throughout his life. We used to train only for finals at that time and he would always be supremely fit. He had a tremendous attitude overall.

There are only five survivors from that ‘47 final – Mick Higgins, Tony Tighe, John Wilson, Peter Donohoe and Simon Deignan.

The following piece was written by Columba McDyer prior to Donegal’s victorious appearance in the 1992 All-Ireland final:-

As a link with the past and this year of historic success with the present record-breaking Donegal Senior GAA team, I have been asked to put on record, as a Donegal born All-Ireland senior medal holder – albeit with Cavan – my memories of that famous win in the Polo Grounds in New York in 1947.
Like everyone else, I am a very hopeful and aspirant spectator waiting cautiously and patiently to see our long overdue quota of 21 “Carruth” Gold (apologies to Olympic hero) medals coming to our illustrious Tyrconnell.

We all know and feel within ourselves what this will mean to us, and our faithful and popular scribe “The Follower” will, I am sure, adequately and fittingly describe this momentous sporting occasion, and I look forward to his contribution.

As for myself, I feel there will have to be some rumblings emitting from the distant past denizens of the Grianan of Aileach, recording their uncontainable approval.

However, to get back to what I was asked to do – to put on record a summary of my memories and experiences of the 1947 All-Ireland Senior football final at the Polo Grounds, New York, as a participant with the victorious Cavan team of that day.

I begin at the beginning – interrupting my honeymoon, saying farewell to my understanding wife, Peggy (music, Stand By Your Man) and joining up with my playing colleagues to motor from Ballyjamesduff to Shannon Airport (then Rineanna) and after a long delay and dispute with air pilots of T.W.A. plane, “The Moulmein Pakoda”, about luggage weight excess, we finally headed off for New York, landing first at the Azores and then on to Gander Airport, Newfoundland.

There we were served tea and muffins with maple syrup; reboarded the plane only to be told that one engine was not functioning correctly. Back to the airport for a long delay while the plane was being serviced; re-boarded again and on to Boston where we were all allowed off the plane to meet the Kennedy family and friends who were there to greet us. Finally, on to our destination at New York, where a bus awaited us to take us to our respective hotels.

Our hotel was “Hotel Empire” beside Times Square and a bus was laid on attached to the hotel for our collective activities.

I remember the many meetings with callers and friends; the difficulty to get a peaceful period for rest before the game.

I recall that the game itself was a very close encounter, and I do remember Kerry’s whirlwind start, and our shaky one, but gradually our team pulled out and got control and eventually we won by four points.
I remember the excitement after – moving out of the Stadium to where our bus awaited us. The attendance at the game was about 44,000 but there were twenty or thirty thousand more outside who couldn’t get in, and mounted police had to clear a way for the bus to get going.

I remember after the match meeting my friend, John Joe Campbell of Ardara, who came rushing to me on the field to congratulate me.

We had a series of luncheon engagements then where many important celebrities of the day attended, including a special function laid on by Co. Mayo born Bill O’Dwyer, then Mayor of New York. I still feel the excitement of the ticker tape cavalcade through New York City where all traffic was brought to a standstill and where we were paraded for miles in police vehicles, through lined streets, again courtesy of Mayor O’Dwyer, who also arranged for us to visit the Precincts of some Police Department to view the call up of criminals and crimes of the night as various police handed over their unfortunate arrested clientele.

The Mayor also arranged a special police car cavalcade for teams and officials for a visit to “West Point” Military Academy and a viewing of the spectacle of the lowering of the flag there at eventide, with a special meal laid on for us at the famous “Bear Mountain Inn.”

I also remember a visit and an interview with the German manager of “Schaefers”, the world famous brewery – one of the actual owners – who arranged with his Burtonport publicity advertising agent in USA a team visit to his New York Brewery. He was at the game and was very impressed. He presented each player present at the Brewery visit with a beautiful commemoration book and medal struck specially for some big centenary occasion worldwide for the brewery.

He was also interested in engaging the teams for exhibition matches throughout the States at his firm’s expense – a type of sponsorship job, you could say, but this was not possible.

A second game also took place in New York where a mixture of the Cavan and Kerry teams played an American selection. We were altogether three weeks on American soil and it was a hectic time. I remember a visit with one of my friends to a film in one of the big cinemas where a “Grantland Rice” special feature of the All-Ireland was shown and it was lengthy, very well done and much better than the record I have seen in Ireland of the filmed game. I haven’t met anyone else who has seen this feature.

The highlight of the journey home on the Cunard Liner, “the Queen Mary” to Southampton was a special meal for our party where the Captain entertained us with a banquet and where he issued special menus in Irish
for the two teams with the names of all the players in Irish and decorated with Cavan and Kerry colours. I have my copy of the menu still.

From Southampton we travelled by rail to London, stayed one night, then on to Holyhead by rail, and back by boat to Dun Laoghaire on the then “Princess Maud” boat.

We were there joined by friends and well wishers and proceeded to a function and dinner in the Gresham in Dublin.

I conclude with thanks for patience and my good luck and good wishes to Donegal team and management for the history of the century, in our sporting life.

Naomh Conaill – A History of the Naomh Conaill GAA Club in Glenties

The year 1921 saw the formation of the Gaelic Athletic Association in Glenties. However the playing of a hurling match between Kilraine and Brackey (Ardara) in the summer of 1905 was perhaps the first time Gaelic games as we now know them were played in the parish of Inniskeel. This match was arranged by Alex McDyer, Kilraine and Charles McGill, Brackey.

It took place in a field called Tommy Boyle’s Holm, near Derries crossroads. Prior to 1921, Association Football as it was then, now Soccer, was organised in the area by the Glenties United Soccer Club. With the formation of the GAA Club in the parish in 1921 the Soccer Club disbanded in July of that year and its members threw their lot in with the Gaelic Club. History was made on Sunday 24th July 1921 with the playing of the first Gaelic football match on Dan Early’s field at the Curragh, Mullinard on the Ardara road. Teams from the town and Kilraine took part with victory going to the town side.

Bit by bit the club became more and more organised during its first year. It was decided towards the end of 1921 that Peter Gallagher the owner of a field on the Church road not far from where we are today be approached with a view to renting the ground for matches. This venue was used on special occasions and was last used in 1939 when the property was sold to the late Joe McLoone.

It was at this venue that Glenties played Bundoran in the semi-final of the 1921 Senior Championship in front of a very large attendance and emerged victorious by 1-7 to 1-5. The team went on to play Castlefin in the final at Ballybofey only to be beaten by three points. This was some achievement by the team in its first year. With the loss of this venue the Club leased a field from Peter O’Donnell at Stranaglough for a short period. The annual rent was £8.

In 1925 the Club was on the move again, this time back to the Church Road. A field was rented from Mr. Sproule adjacent to where we are today. This venue became known as Hollymount Park and was used extensively up to 1939 when the tenancy was terminated.

Our next home was again at Stranaglough, this time at Brennan’s Holm, rented from James Brennan whose family would become leading lights in the Club. This would not be the only time the club moved to this location.

This move coincided with the proposed development in Glenties of a sports field to cater for everyone. In 1940 it was decided to purchase land from B. McDevitt & Co. situated between the Church Road and the Tullyard Road for this purpose. Some four acres were purchased at the location now occupied by the Irish Oak factory owned by Michael Duddy. The property was held in trust for the people of Glenties.

The GAA Club moved to this venue in 1943 and remained there until 1968. The first match played on the sports field took place on 29th June 1943 with the Defence Forces taking on the S-W Donegal L.D.F.

The Club was so involved with this very suitable location that an effort was made by the club in 1952 to purchase the property outright but conditions attached to the sale meant it was not an attractive acquisition. The matter was not pursued and instead the club went about realising its ambition of owning its own grounds. In the meantime the sports field was used by the club up to 1968 when it was sold by the Board of Works as an industrial site.

During its years at the Sports field the club purchased land from the McDevitts at Stranakevlin in 1957. This land could be assessed from the Station Road and the Main Street by the laneway at what is now Colm Melly’s property beside the Bridge. However the land was deemed to be not economical for development as a football ground and the club sold it to James Kee (Butcher). As the Club had no debt on the property when it was sold, the acquisition of other property with the proceeds of the sale was most attractive and it was now made the priority.

A momentous step was made in 1963 when Francie Houston purchased land from Paddy Gallagher (The Mines) at Carrickbrack on behalf of the club. As Danny Boyle wrote in his book, “On the fields of Inniskeel”, this location had a strong sentimental value for the club owing to its use in the early years.

Francie Houston and the late Barney Campbell were appointed Trustees and the first Park Committee was formed consisting of the following.

Chairman: John McSwiggan, Ardconnell
Secretary: Thomas Brennan, Main Street
Treasurers: Charlie Cannon, Main Street, Danny Boyle, The Station

In 1969 playing activities ceased at the sports field and once more it was back to Stranaglough with Phil Brennan accommodating the Club with the use of Brennan’s Holm again.

This venue was used while development continued at Carrickbrack and in 1971 the playing surface was ready for use. The Club had a permanent home at last. In 1972 after matches were played at Carrickbrack it was decided to name the property after Davy Brennan who served his native club and county both as a player and official. During the early years of Gaelic games being played in the parish other pitches were used. Matches were played at Tullyhoniver, Kilraine. Both football and carnogie were played on a field along the river at Strasallagh. In the 1950’s local matches were played at Shallogans adjacent to where the wood factory is today. Parish League Matches were also played at Con McNelis’ (Clarkes) Holm, Kilraine in the late 50’s.

The administration of a Club needs a venue for meetings and in its formative years meetings took place in Phelans. A warehouse belonging to Hugh McDevitt that is now part of the Highlands Hotel was used by the club for a long period for many different purposes. However this premises had to be vacated in 1926 because it was to be used as an educational establishment. It was to become known as the “Tech” and it served the Parish and indeed the county well over its years of use.

The Market Hall became the focal point for Club activities, serving as a meeting hall, dressing rooms and used for social events to name but a few.

The first Officer board of the Glenties G.A.A. Football Club was installed at a meeting in the market Hall on the 29th August 1921.

The members of that board were as follows
Chairman: Denis Phelan
Treasurer: Thomas O’Donohue
Secretary: Patrick Maguire

A committee made up of the following was also set up:
T.P.P. Cannon,
Bernard Campbell,
Patrick Kennedy (Jnr)
Patrick Molloy,
Joseph c. Gallagher,
Joseph Gallagher,
Daniel Doogan,
J.J. Kelly,
Con Gallagher,
John Gallagher N.T.

Article compiled by Daniel McGeehan based on extracts from “On the Fields of Inniskeel” written by Danny Boyle.