Thursday, March 13, 2014

Over the Glen Gesh Pass to Fintown

It's amazing how quickly a day can go by, you can see so much, and only travel about 50 kms. This is obviously just a taster trip to Donegal ... how on earth did we think we could get to know it well in such a short time! How arrogant we were :-)

Glen Colm Cille is a peaceful village at this time of year. In the morning, as we puttered through, on our way to find some cliffs, we spotted the Evie Hone stained glass window in the church.

Our little church in the Maam Valley is also the proud owner of an Evie Hone stained glass window ... I must pop by and photograph that one too soon.

Comparing them to the Cliffs of Moher in Co Clare, the Slieve League cliffs at Glen Colm Cille are quite awe inspiring. These cliffs are more "jaggedy", not falling straight down into the sea but rather sloping down with powerful-looking pointy bits!

Thanks to a fair amount of Furze burning in the area, the atmosphere
was rather smoky and not the best for photography.

I loved the contrast of colour, line and atmosphere ...
cool, blue, powerful, jaggedy cliffs and peaceful, golden, sheep-grazing fields

And I can never resist a few wave-crashing shots!

After a bit of soaking up the sun while we did a bit of cliff-gazing, we set off again.

Sometimes we can see huge similarities here in Donegal with Connemara in the golden, rusty and brown colours, the grassy vegetation and the mountains, and then a few minutes later, along a rather flat stretch of countryside, we're saying "Gosh, this feels like another country, doesn't it". Even the turf, although piled the same, is often covered in straw ... something we don't see in Connemara. I feel a need to stop and photograph these turf piles, thinking it may not be long before this picturesque method of cutting fire fuel is lost forever, but so far there hasn't been a convenient stopping place.

In our endeavours to get closer to Letterkenny for a Thursday car service at the Fiat dealer, we chose a route to Fintown over the Glen Gesh Pass. For some kilometres the road gently sloped upwards and we were duped into thinking this pass was even lower than our own pass into the Maam Valley ... and then suddenly, around a bend, we looked down to this:

Real first gear driving down that little hill! Stunning. Although, again we were reminded that photography has been rather hindered for a day or two by a bit of gorse bush (furze) burning, leaving the atmosphere a little less than clear.

Going through the village of Ardara a little while later, I spotted a sign to Stephen Bennett's art studio and gallery. Stephen and I were part of a group of nine artists who made up the Irish contingent at the 2005 Biennale art Exhibition in Florence. This was a must-do stop! Luckily the boreen to Stephen's house was just wide enough for Milly and we spent a happy time saying Hi and enjoying Stephen's gallery of work. Look him up on google ... it's worth it! Great work, great chap.

Not long after that, we found Fintown, where we spent a peaceful night, looking out across Lough Finn to mist-topped mountains. We couldn't have asked for a better spot to park, especially with a pub right across the road! Of course that meant a couple of pints for Alan and a glass of wine for me at The Railway Inn. Great pub. They encourage motorhomers to park in the spaces across the road from them and always offer oft-needed water supplies. Nice folk.

And today it's the outskirts of Letterkenny where Milly is getting a titivating service and we're catching up with a bit of reading and blogging. We're aiming for a quiet weekend with a lot of painting time for me (I hope) and a much looked-forward-to meeting with Facebook friend and artist Liz Doyle on Cruit Island tomorrow.

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