Back to the Wild North West!

Explorer Beastie’s been a bit quiet lately, hasn’t he? But he always likes to take advantage of the post-Christmas lull to do a spot of out-of-town adventuring, and last week found both of us up in Donegal again, treading a slightly different path from the one we took this time last year.

Actually, this breaking of new ground was thrust upon us by circumstances beyond our control. We had originally intended to fuel up with a monster fry at CafΓ© Donagh in Carndonagh, but alas! Some pre-trip research revealed that the owners had retired from the breakfast business, leaving us high and dry in the fried food stakes. We only had memories of last year’s feed to sustain us as we embarked on our quest for a new spot to enjoy Third Breakfast (the most important meal of the day).
Explorer Beastie, Eyeing up my Breakfast - CrawCrafts Beasties
Our first stop was the pretty little town of Ramelton. Surely there must be a good breakfasting spot around here?
Ramelton, Co Donegal - CrawCrafts Beasties
But unfortunately not – it being a Sunday, we had the choice of pricey gastropub fare or the diner in the local Eurospar. So Explorer Beastie Beastie-bombed my last photo of the river…
Beastie About Town, Rathmelton - CrawCrafts Beasties
…And we hit the road again. Several potential candidates were rejected along the way, until we drove up to Ripples Restaurant just outside Kerrykeel. We didn’t hold out much hope – we thought it might be a bit fancy for the kind of food we were craving – but the chef was happy to put together a plate of fried goodness for us while Explorer Beastie toasted himself by the fire!
Warming up by the fire - CrawCrafts Beasties
The meal itself escaped photographing, since it was half-eaten before I thought, “Hey, maybe I should have taken a picture”. Please be assured that it was very good, and feast your eyes on the glorious view outside the restaurant instead.
Mulroy Bay, Co Donegal - CrawCrafts Beasties
Well and truly refuelled and recaffeinated, we hopped back into the car and did the best thing you can do when in Donegal – drove to the extreme end of the finger of land we found ourselves on to enjoy some wild coastal scenery!

This time around, that meant heading for Fanad Head, where Explorer Beastie found some ruined houses to explore!Urbex Beastie at Fanad Head - CrawCrafts Beasties
Does it still count as “Urbex” if the buildings are in the middle of nowhere?
Ruins at the Lighthouse, Fanad Head - CrawCrafts Beasties
Post-road-trip research has revealed that this is an old coastguard station, which was abandoned after the Second World War. Back in the day, it would have housed four families, with sheds outside for storage (that’s the building in the top right of the image above). But hey, what’s that just around the corner?
First Glimpse of Fanad Head Lighthouse - CrawCrafts Beasties

Explorer Beastie did everything he could to get a little closer…
Can we reach the Lighthouse? CrawCrafts Beasties
…But we’d just missed the last tour of the day. Still, we enjoyed admiring it from a distance in the bright winter sunlight.
Fanad Head Lighthouse - CrawCrafts Beasties
Building work on this lighthouse started in 1815, and its light shone for the first time on St Patrick’s Day 1817. Its last full-time keeper retired in 1983, and these days it only needs a caretaker… But that means that us regular folks can now book a stay in the former keepers’ cottages! It’s lucky we didn’t know this at the time, or we might not have come home.

As it was, we thought it best to make the most of the remaining daylight – let’s head down to the shore!
Heading to the Shoreline at Fanad Head! CrawCrafts Beasties
One Beastie on the rocks, please!
Surf's Up, Explorer Beastie! CrawCrafts Beasties
We spent a while watching the waves crashing on the rocks – they were seriously huge, even though it was a calm day! Then, as the sun set, we jumped in the car and made for home.Sunset at Fanad Head - CrawCrafts BeastiesBut next time, we’re totally staying in the lighthouse.

Have your travels taken you anywhere interesting yet this year? Be sure to tell us all about it in the comments! And we’ll be back in a week with our first new Beastie of 2018, so join us again next Tuesday!

PS Explorer Beastie isn’t the only one who’s been out adventuring lately! Finn McSpool has been enjoying the benefits of an unseasonably warm start to the year in Portland, and we’ve a new monster face in the Blogosphere too… Take a moment to meet Slartibartfast, who’s just taken up residence on Escribble!

24 thoughts on “Back to the Wild North West!

  1. Explorer Beastie, step AWAY from the fire!! Talk about tempting fate. The weather seems to have treated you a little nicer this time on your adventures up north….no sideways Beasties blowing in the wind this time. After looking at those abandoned houses I’m crossing my fingers that one of them isn’t the B&B I booked. I’m all for fresh air, but….

    1. Ah yes, but the views were stunning! And, thanks to the lack of window glass, completely uninterrupted πŸ˜€ Don’t forget that staying in the lighthouse is an option, too. I’m definitely going to start saving my pennies so I can that someday! We DID get good weather as well… Much better than in September, which took me by surprise a little! Cheers for joining us on our road trip, Tammie!

      1. The Night in a Lighthouse does sound peaceful. And hey, if you’re scared of the dark, you’ll always have a night light handy! πŸ™„πŸ˜œπŸ™„

        1. True… But SUPER unlucky if you happen to be staying there on a day when they need to use the foghorn! πŸ˜†

    1. Oooh, you lucky thing! Have a super time… Which part are you off to? If you’re heading out west towards Glencolumbkille, I’d really recommend stopping at Nancy’s pub in Ardara for lunch… Great food, and I think you’ll get a kick out of the decor too πŸ˜€

        1. Oooh, lovely! We passed by Rathmullan house on this latest trip… Looks great! I’m sure you’ll have a super weekend there, enjoy! πŸ˜€

  2. The Beasties are featuring two of my favourite travel subjects in this post: lighthouses and dilapidated buildings. We have not been anywhere interesting lately because the Pennsylvania winters turn us into hibernating hermits. I have itchy feet to get out and explore though.

    1. I hear you! There really should be such a thing as hibernation leave, so we could all just sleep through the winter months. At least spring is nearly here! And yes, I thought the lighthouse might appeal to you… Good to know that you also appreciate a good delapidated building! Thanks for stopping by, Laura! πŸ˜€

  3. Gorgeous coastal views! I can see why a return to the NW coast is warranted; those waves and the coastline are spectacular. Wouldn’t life in that light house be sweet? And I remember that fry up! (my memory always seems to serve me well when it comes to food). Sorry to hear that the old place was closed (I love a good diner!) but it sounds like Ripples was just as good. πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks, Shirley! Donegal is yet to disappoint in the natural beauty stakes… And it’s always doubly pretty when the sun is shining (and the bacon is sizzling)! Cheers for stopping by πŸ˜€

  4. All breakfasts (first, second and/or third) are my favorite meals of the day. Cheers to you for not giving up! The scenery looks spectacular. Clearly, I need to add Ireland to my list for 2019, if not before.

    1. Thanks, Maggie! And yes, I may be biased here but Ireland definitely deserves a place on your travel list… Plenty to see, and small enough that you won’t have to spend too much time on the road! πŸ˜€

  5. Huff, puff, sorry about my late arrival here! Perhaps Explorer Beastie has been ‘quiet’ because he’s been sulking about not having magnetic paws? Is minor surgery in order? As always, gorgeously stunning photos. I just want to curl up right in front of that fire and have a little sleep. It looks like you guys had an awesome time. And you can let EB know that making it all the way to the lighthouse isn’t always what’s it’s cracked up to be…. in my (customarily negative) experience:

    1. Ha! I WOULD have dozed in front of the fire, but then that much sought-after breakfast arrived and I experienced a near-miraculous revival of spirits! πŸ˜€ And don’t tell Explorer Beastie, but he is actually in line for a little surgery, as soon as I can get a suitably qualified Nurse Beastie on hand to attend him during the procedure. All will be revealed in a future blog post! Now I’m off to read how disappointing a lighthouse can be! πŸ˜‚

      1. It’s amazing what proper multiple breakfasts can do to raise explorer morale. Oh dear, I’ll keep my mouth shut, but I do hope you and Nurse Beastie will drug EB up reallllll good before the surprise operation! Can’t wait to see the results!

        1. Hahaha! Don’t worry, I’m sure Nurse Beastie will know all about the proper dosages of anesthetics and suchlike. Also, I’m now going to be super-careful not to refer to it as a surprise operation… That doesn’t sound like something anytime would want! πŸ˜†

        2. Hahaha! That’s not a good day, however you slice it.
          (Ooops, poor choice of words there! πŸ˜‚)

    1. Ooooh, enjoy! As far as I know, no Beasties have ever made it as far as New Zealand… So do let me know if you stumble across a previously undiscovered monster tribe on your travels! Have fun, and thanks for stopping by πŸ˜€

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