Southern Inishowen

Fahan Abbey

The historic town of Buncrana contains many notable features. In a peaceful woodland setting on the banks of the Crana River, just across an imposing bridge is “O’Doherty’s Keep”. This authentically restored castle (more correctly a fortified residence) is a godd example of this type of construction.

Just a few kilometers south of Buncrana by way of the coast road overlooking Lough Swilly, is the village of Fahan. Historically important, the early ecclesiastical site dedicated to St. Mura is lcoated right on the roadside.

Only “St. Mura’s Cross Slab” and the remains of the old church are still standing - the imagination must be used to reconstruct to its original glory this pinnacle of the ecclesiastical hierarchy.

Inch, another distinct entity within Inishowen, is visible from Fahan. Originally a island, this placid place is now connected to the mainland by a man-made causeway.

Green fields and a proliferation of trees and woodland create a pastoral mood. Right on the southern tip of the island is “Inch Castle”. Used by the O’Doherty’s, this castle, because of its relative isolation, conveys a striking mind picture of the during which it was built. A violent and charged time, the castle itself looks torn and battered, sitting on the banks of the Swilly with Burt and Aileach visible nearby.

“Grianan of Aileach” is one of the most important sites in Inishowen. A restored ring fort, it features strongly in the mythology of Ireland. This site was used during (if not before) the Celtic period.

On an exposed hill overlooking the entire area - Inishowen, Western Donegal, Lagan Valley, Derry and Lough Swilly all can be seen from its stone walls. St. Aengus’ Church in Burt, designed by Liam McCormack, echoes its circular form.

Almost 5km from Aileach is “Burt Castle”. It is deceptive in so far as, only until one is right beside the castle that the acrchitecture and the scale of this three storey castle can really be appreciated. Stone stairwells and passages within the walls are all features of this notable castle.

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