Muff (Irish: Magh) is a small town in County Donegal in the northwest of Ireland and is regarded as the gateway to Ireland’s most northerly peninsula, Inishowen.. It is located a few miles from the Historic Walled City of Derry on the road to Moville on the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. It is a village which has experienced great growth in population in the last decade, which has seen people from Northern Ireland move across the border.
Each Summer, usually during the first week in August, the village celebrates Muff Festival which includes competitions, competitive JCB driving, street partying, parades Céilidh dancing, amusements in the central park, night-time entertainment.
Quigley’s Point is located on the eastern shores of Inishowen and overlooks the wide expanse of Lough Foyle. To the south is the historic city of Derry and to the north lie the villages of Moville and Greencastle. The village and its surrounding countryside provide an ideal base for a touring holiday of Ireland’s most northerly county. Nearby amenities include the car ferry at Greencastle and, golf at Redcastle, Greencastle and the truly spectacular Ballyliffin links. The village of Quigleys Point is also known as “Carrowkeel” (pronounced “Kerrykeel” locally) as it is marked as such on Irish Ordnance Survey maps. However all local signage and the local post office give the name “Quigley’s Point” to the village.
Redcastle is located along the eastern shores of Lough Foyle approximately 12 miles from the Historic Walled City of Derry. To the north are the seaside villages of Moville and Greencastle and across the lough one has views of Magilligan Point and Benevinagh Mountain. The Redcastle Ocean Front Hotel is set among mature woodland and has its own health spa and 9-hole parkland golf course. Adjacent to the hotel there is a large indoor kids playground featuring an interactive play system, dodgems, ball pool, F1 cars etc.
The Inishowen Peninsula, which is regarded by many as the most beautiful part of Ireland, has a 100 mile scenic drive through breathtaking coastal and mountain scenery.
Moville is located on the western shore of Lough Foyle in the Bredagh River valley. Moville is known as “Bun an Phobail” meaning foot of the Foyle, or “Magh Bhaile” meaning Plain og the Ancient Tree. In 1768 Samuel Montgomery, merchant and Chamberlain of Derry took 800 acres on a long lease from Lord Donegall. After completing his residence, New Park House in 1776, he began to develop the town from 1780. The house was later inherited by Bishop Sir Henry Montgomery, father of Field Marchall Bernard Montgomery or “Monty2.
The first steam boat service between Derry and Moville began in 1832 and in the 1860s, Moville became a regular point of departure for emigrants on the Anchor Line ships from Derry to America and Canada. By the mid- nineteenth century, Moville was a busy market town, a centre from milling and a popular tourist resort. Moville’s popularity as a fashionable bathing place is reflected in the many elegant villas and bathing lodges in the town. Moville reached its heyday during the 1930s as a port of call for trans-Atlantic liners and as a popular seaside “watering place”. Since world war two, Moville port function declined especially with the withdrawal of the “Scotch Boat” in 1966 that operated between Glasgow and Derry. It has enjoyed popularity as a seaside resort since the Victorian period and it remains largely dependent in tourism to the present day. The urban morphology of Moville is the result of intervention and planning with a formal layout of buildings, typically around a square green. Moville retains its maritime connections through its traditional annual regatta. Moville was designated as a ”Heritage Town” by Donegal County Council in 2000.
Greencastle, Donegal’s second most important fishing harbour, is situated on the eastern side of the Inishowen Peninsula close to where Lough Foyle narrows at Magilligan Point. The village exudes the type of charm one would expect from a small fishing port.
Boasting many attractions including the Maritime museum and coastal walkways, sandy beaches and historical ruins. A ferry service operates from Easter to September back and forth from Magilligan point saving motorists around 50 miles off their journey.
On the north side of the village, stands a 13 Century castle ruins built by Richard de Burgo, the Red Earl of Ulster, so-called because of his florid complexion. It was captured by Edward Bruce in 1316, fell into the possession of the O’Donnells in the 14 Century then was granted to Sir Arthur Chichester in 1608; the adjoining fort (1812) was used in the defence of Lough Foyle up until the end of the 19 Century.
Greencastle played host to a fantastic festival to welcome the Clipper yachts in July 2012. Highlights included a Clipper Family Celebration Day to mark the arrival of the Clipper boats into Derry with parades, boat trips, music, food, markets and lots of family fun.
Shrove is a scattered village three miles north of Greencastle. A favourite walk is to Port-a-doris, less than one mile to the north along the coast. The natural door to the little bay is a strange freak of nature. It is natural, not artificial – a lovely cove. Inishowen head at Stroove boasts some of the most dramatic scenery of the peninsula and looks down upon the Inishowen lighthouse situated beside the beautiful sandy beach of The Big White Bay.
Lough Foyle has always been a busy channel for sailors and fishermen. During the mid-1800’s, it was used extensively by oceanliners carrying immigrants to America and Australia. The coast along Inishowen is very rocky and rugged resulting in numerous shipwrecks. To prevent further wrecks, on the 1st December, 1837, two lighthouses were built at Dunagree Point in Shrove. They were constructed of stone; the East Tower being 49 feet high and the West Tower 74 feet high. However, in 1870, the West Tower had 25 feet added to it bringing it to a height of 99 feet. The lamps were originally oil-powered but in 1961, the oil light was replaced by an electric one in the West Tower and the East Tower was discontinued. The new light was able to create an arc of 180. The lighthouse was originally manned by three keepers, but with the advent of modern technology, the light became automatically-controlled and now only one caretaker remains at the attached quarters.
The spectacular golden sands of Kinnagoe Bay and its dramatic setting make it a real hidden gem of County Donegal. On a clear day it is possible to get a view of the coast of Scotland from the headlands above the sandy cove.
The bay is also the final resting place for one of the ill-fated galleons of the Spanish Armada (La Trinidad Valencera) sunk in terrible storms in 1588. A plaque near the beach commemorates this event. You can see the recovered cannon in Derry City Museum and the bell from the ship was taken to a church in Carndonagh and is still in use today.
Inistrahull was once a thriving inshore fishing community. The island saw an almost 100% population increase between the years 1881 and 1901. However, a combination of factors in the early 1900’s meant that the islanders would eventually be compelled to evacuate the island. Leaving en masse in 1929, with only the lighthouse keeper remaining behind, most islanders relocated on the mainland, settling on the Northern side of the Inishowen peninsula. For a number of those islanders, and other emigrants before them Inistrahull lighthouse would have been the last glimpse they would have had of Ireland as they departed by ship from Derry City.
Inishtrahull is well known for its wildlife and is designated a Special Area of Conservation and a Special Protection Area by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. The island’s geographical location and lighthouse attract many unusual birds, as well as a population of Grey Seals. The island and its adjacent 90 metre depth tidal sound attract basking sharks and cetaceans in large numbers during the summer months. Many scuba-divers use the Islands Port Mór as a lunch spot while out surveying the hundreds of wrecks off its shores. Access to the island is limited by the dangerous tides and currents around Malin Head and the island itself. There are landing restrictions enforced by the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Commissioners of Irish Lights (present owners of the Island). Particular care is requested by visitors during the breeding bird period of May – July