Donegal – A Place Called Home

Donegal has always felt like home, despite spending the first 45 years of my life in Scotland.

It is a heart thing.

My childhood summers were spent here in Ireland, at my maternal grandfather’s or grandja’s home, which overlooked Mullaghderg Lake – far away from shops, in days when most people grew their own vegetables, and reared chickens and cows.

Although life was tough, everyone pulled together and helped their neighbours with harvesting hay, cutting turf, thatching…

Mullaghderg Lake

My three sisters and I learned to swim in Mullaghderg Lake – in all weathers.

I loved the feel of the cool fresh water on my skin, and I could happily have swum for ever…

Mullaghderg Mountain

Mullaghderg Lake with views to the Atlantic

If the sun shone, my mother and my aunt would escort ten of us children (myself and my sisters, plus six cousins) to Mullaghderg Beach. It felt like a very long walk, through peat bogs, and mossy banks, along ancient tracks and stone walls…

The Swimming Strand

The swimming strand is a little cove, set back from the main beach, sheltered from strong tides, with rocky diving boards that enticed the more adventurous of us children.

Although the water temperature was somewhat more refreshing than the lake, it did not hamper our enthusiasm for swimming.

My mother and my aunt were able to relax for a few hours, far away from housework and cooking, before we all enjoyed a picnic of sandwiches and lemonade – sustenance for the long walk back to Mullaghderg Mountain.

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The Swimming Strand

Reminiscing on Days of Old

I regularly return to walk the long beach at Mullaghderg, or to clamber over rocks at the swimming strand, reminiscing on days of old.

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“Bring the sky beneath your feet and listen to celestial music everywhere.”


Mullaghderg Beach is perhaps 5km away from my home, and outside the current 2km walking restrictions.

I look forward to returning when guidelines are more relaxed.

Meanwhile, I have a choice of other beautiful walks. My favourite takes me past the village car park, which skirts the mighty Atlantic:

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The Village Car Park

Past the hotel with views out to sea:


Sea Views

Stopping off to breath in the beauty of the Atlantic:

The Atlantic

Before sitting down to count my blessings, at the end of another day.


A Welcome Seat

If you enjoyed this post you might also like more of my posts on Beach Walks in Donegal.

Brigid P. Gallagher is a retired natural medicines therapist, passionate organic gardener and author of “Watching the Daisies- Life lessons on the Importance of Slow,” a holistic memoir dedicated to the art of mindfulness and healing from debilitating illness.

Categories: Beach Walks

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  1. These are beautiful snapshots of your childhood Bridgid…and it felt like i was there with you with your sister learning to swim in that been a lake actually..😊😊😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Brigid, what precious memories of Mullaghderg and it looks a gem of a place! Your post brought me such joy as I got to see the wonders of the ocean and coastline, both of a place you can’t visit just now and also of your daily walks! Such blessings indeed in the midst of so much turmoil … thank you for sharing with us here! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Annika. My grandfather’s home was a very special place, where we enjoyed carefree summers in nature. I think these childhood summers contributed to my love of wide open spaces. The local beaches remain unspoiled. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ahhh… Bridgid, what wonderful pictures and stories you share with us. You make me long so for the
    Sea. Atlantic is indeed mighty. Your swimming lake is equally a wonder, like a fairy tale.
    I have visited the area some years back and felt very drawn to the nature there.

    Keep well

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Superb and marvelous pictures, Brigid. Thank you so much for this beautiful trip with you. I completely agree with you, as kids it was so simple to go to beaches with cousins and enjoy with our mothers and aunts. Simple yet pleasant life we had.

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  5. I can think of no-one better places to thrive in this strange environment we exist in for now. Being the Queen of slow and all. But I do hope with all my heart that you get back to the lake soon and that you are able to drink in more of your beautiful homeland as the restrictions relax somewhat. You speak to my heart when you speak of ‘home’ because the heart really is what dictates to us where in this wide wide world home is for each of us 😌

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am forever thankful to live here, after so many years away from my true home. We are hoping for a relaxation of restrictions after 5 May. It looks like they will be in stages over the course of the summer… It is indeed surreal.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Stunning pictures Brigid. Thank you for sharing the beauty of Donegal with us. It’s amazing how the images I am imagining as I read your memoir, are so beautifully displayed here. Stay well.

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  7. So beautiful and peaceful – I echo the above comment, thank you for sharing Donegal with us. Mullaghderg Beach sounds like it’s so close & yet so far with the current restrictions. It’ll be something to look forward to once the coronavirus situation is over (as hard as it is to currently imagine it being over).xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Caz. I enjoy sharing Donegal. We love welcoming visitors. It looks like staycations will be the norm this year. I am looking forward to walking the beach again, but meantime I am happy to stay close to home. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Brigid,
    So happy for you that you can smell the sea air and see the ocean.
    Loved the views and tried to imagine how it felt to be there. An lovely imaginary journey.
    Love Gina

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Anne. I had not come across Emma’s art before now, but I do recognize some of the places in her paintings. They are lovely and uplifting. I have a growing collection of art on my walls.


  9. Beautiful sun, sky, and water, Brigid. I’m so sorry that it’s outside walking range. I love your memory of going there as a kid. It’s amazing how kids can tolerate cold water, isn’t it? Great memories. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      • Good for you! I think the US is going to be in trouble for a while. Most of us are free to spread the virus as much as we want. It’s going to be difficult to stay safe and keep others safe until there’s a vaccine. I’ll be thinking of you and looking for some beautiful photos. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  10. You are blessed to be able to take such wonderful walks, Brigid. We are now allowed out for walks between 6am and 9am, but there have been a number of muggings of walkers and joggers so I am to scared to go.

    Liked by 1 person

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