The northernmost point of Ireland
At the very northern tip of Ireland you will find a picturesque landscape, windswept and frequently rained, which is still unknown to most tourists. So if you have the time, your own car and the desire to get to know the real wild Irish nature full of green hills with sheep and the mighty waves of the ocean breaking on the cliffs, then the Malin Head peninsula is the right place.
Grianan Of Aileach
Not far from the Northern Ireland border you will find one of perhaps the oldest preserved Irish monuments. It is a stone fortress with a circular shape located on a hill 250 meters above sea level overlooking the sea bay and islands off the coast.
Grianan Of Aileach
According to archaeological estimates, the fortress dates from the 17th century. before Christ, and therefore also before the Celtic invasions of this territory. It is attributed to King Tuath de Danann, who ordered this fortress to be built at a strategic location as a burial ground for his son. The fortress has three stone floors, which are built without the use of mortar and have been partitioned by wooden floors. Remains from the Bronze and Iron Ages were found under the fortress.
Distant view from the fortress
The fortress is located on a strategic hill, which provides a good view of the entire wider area, both inland and the bay, from where there was a potential attack by invaders. For tourists, this historic attraction is very easily accessible by car along the path up to the parking lot at the fortress itself.
A short stop near the fort can take you to the Burt Castle ruins. It is only a 10-minute drive away and the road to the castle leads through a field, making it ideal to visit during the drier season. The castle dates from the 16th century and served to protect the southern end of the Inishowen area.
Our next stop was the village of Buncrana, where you will find a larger supermarket and the opportunity to stop for lunch in small traditional restaurants. Here you will also find historical monuments that you can visit during a pleasant walk. On the way along the bay, you will reach the Buncrana castle via a stone arch bridge, which is currently inaccessible, so you can see it at least through the gate.
To the right behind the bridge, a path leads to Swan Park and passes a majestic reminder of local history. 14th century O'Doherty's Keep Castle, also called Norman Castle.
Buncrana - beach
The path leads further to the beach, which is ready for walks. We were lucky that we managed to catch the west of the sun, which covered the whole landscape with golden light.
Malin Head - signal tower
At the very tip of the peninsula is the northernmost tip of Ireland – Malin Head. Here you will find a signal tower, the inscription Eire from World War II, public toilets, but most importantly the real wild Atlantic Ocean with stormy waves breaking on high rocks and a view of the rugged coast descending steeply into the ocean from green hill pastures.
Malin Head -Eire
Scattered throughout the west coast of Ireland are Eire inscriptions made of white painted stones. It is a remnant of World War II, when the German army bombed England. Their closest Irish neighbors thus defended themselves against the unintentional dropping of air bombs prematurely and thus created these inscriptions for German bombers, which indirectly say „not here yet, continue with those bombs further east“.
Walk along the cliffs
From the signal tower, a footpath continues along the edge of the cliffs to a promontory from where you feel like you are standing on the very edge of the world. All the while you are accompanied by a mighty roar of wild waves breaking on the cliffs and the screams of seabirds. I recommend waterproof shoes and a windproof jacket with a hat.
End of the world
View from the viewpoint at the end of the footpath.
View from the viewpoint at the Signal Tower.
Five Finger Strand
On the way back from Malin Head, you will come across Five Finger Strand, which would be a shame to miss. Here you will find a few kilometers of beach, perfect for long walks and one of the highest sand dunes in Europe, which reach up to 30 meters.
Dunree Head - lighthouse and military base
Our last stop on this northernmost tip of Ireland was Dunree Head, where you will find a lighthouse and a military museum with a base to see. There is also a small walking circuit to the hill, where there is an even better view of the bay and the surrounding hills.
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