Margaret and I loosely followed the Irish coast as we worked our way south from Ireland’s northern tip. This frequently put us on the Wild Atlantic Way, a byway of sorts that traces the entire western Irish coast. When we figured out what it was, we decided to follow it wherever we could.
This led us directly to Ardara, a town of less than a thousand in County Donegal. (See the pinpoint on the map.) Cheerful and tidy just like every other small Irish town through which we passed, we decided to stop and look around.
We found the tourism office, where a friendly and helpful woman told us of all that Ardara had to offer. But the one thing she didn’t need to tell us about was the church — there’s no way you can miss it as you drive into town.
The Church of the Holy Family is surrounded by a tightly-packed cemetery. Both Margaret and I like cemeteries. Neither of us knows exactly why.
The property leads up a hill, which was terraced to provide level ground for more graves. We’d never seen anything like it, and we’ve walked through a lot of cemeteries.
Concrete stairs took us to the top. The view is commanding. On the left, a bay that lets out into the Atlantic…
…and on the right, Ardara itself.
What it it about being at the top of the hill that makes a man want to linger? I stood up here for quite some time, breathing the air and considering the views. I concluded nothing of merit, but I still felt better when I came down.
But I didn’t come down before I looked behind me. Some horses were grazing in a field below me. The road into Ardara wound through the countryside just beyond
The Church of the Holy Family was built in 1903. It’s not as grand as the cathedral in Letterkenny, but Letterkenny has more than 20 times the population. This is a fine and lovely house of worship for the people of Ardara.
The woman at the tourism office told us about a nearby waterfall and also about a deep scenic valley called Glengesh Pass. We drove around for a half hour on frighteningly narrow back roads but never found the waterfall. Glengesh Pass, however, was impossible to miss. I’ll share stunning photos from there in an upcoming post.