We were in Ireland last week, to see our new tweed yarn being spun by our friends at Donegal Yarns (much more of which soon!). It’s been a while since we were in Ireland, and it was lovely to revisit a few of our favourite spots, including Malin Head.

It has changed a wee bit since we were last here: some paths have been carefully restored to make wandering around the cliffs safer and more sustainable (since the headland was recently used as a location for a forthcoming film I imagine the human impact on the landscape is likely to dramatically increase) and there’s a partially constructed visitor centre half-way down the hill. The roads of Donegal are crowded, and managing this spectacular spot is evidently very necessary, but the chough still whirl about the tower at Banba’s Crown, and the Inishowen peninsula looks as glorious as ever.

It was interesting to see the old Eire 80 sign, which has been carefully restored by a local community group: originally one of 83 which defined the coast of Ireland during the second world war.

These lookout posts (LOP) served as a navigation aid to pilots, as well as an immediately legible sign of Ireland’s neutrality. Eight were positioned on Donegal’s headlands, and the one at Malin Head is probably the most famous, as well as the one in best condition (thanks to the recent restoration).

Having just driven across the Anglo-Irish border, standing next to a British-built Napoleonic watchtower and an Irish lookout post, while looking out into waters filled with the wrecks of countless submarines and convoy ships, it was hard not to think about the shared European ideals which emerged in the middle of last century, or to reflect on the pointless absurdity of our current situation.

Malin Head is a good spot for a think, especially on a beautiful still evening. A crazy fog-bow lit up the sky over Inishtrahull.

Inishtrahull is one of several lighthouses I’ve seen from the opposite direction in Scotland (they are easily identifiable by the number and duration of their flashes). I’ve seen many Irish lights from many Scottish locations and often thought of the way those beams connect our nights and our island coastlines together. Shannon. Rockall. Malin. Hebrides.

Tom took these photographs – some with his conventional camera, and some with a drone (it was an unusually calm evening at this frequently wild and windy spot).

Here’s my favourite of Tom’s shots from Donegal to close – taken a little further along the coast at Teelin Bay.

35 thoughts on “Malin Head

  1. Always inspiring, you transport me to a different place. Tom’s photos just get better all the time. And I truly appreciate your thought provoking words… You are right on. thanks always, I think you are just the best! all three of you!

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  2. Sometimes photos seem like inspiration for knitting or quilting and that first landscape at the top has me wondering if I’d be able to make something in your soon to be revealed tweed yarn that suggested that play of colors.

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  3. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing!
    ‘Someone’ really must make that top photo into a pattern and kit for a stole. Mohair/silk? Big needles? Short rows?

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  4. I’m so pleased that your visit to Donegal resulted in so many beautiful pictures to share with us all. I love Donegal and visit as often as I can.

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  5. I was intrigued by the title of this post – such familiar words from the shipping forecast I suppose, that I never really connected with a place before! Beautiful pictures and absolutely share your thoughts on our situation. A friend from Ireland was visiting over the weekend and I was remembering when I first visited her in Dublin about 30 years ago – in those days she was very reluctant to cross the border. So much has changed in the intervening years and now it’s all going backwards.

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  6. Tom’s photos and your commentary are just wonderful. There’s just something about your sky and clouds and landscape that I don’t see anywhere else.
    So much inspiration for knitting and weaving here!!
    Thanks so much!

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  7. “Having just driven across the Anglo-Irish border, standing next to a British-built Napoleonic watchtower and an Irish lookout post, while looking out into waters filled with the wrecks of countless submarines and convoy ships, it was hard not to think about the shared European ideals which emerged in the middle of last century, or to reflect on the pointless absurdity of our current situation.”

    So well put, Kate. Thank you. Gorgeous photos too.

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    1. There is so much of interest in this post, from the aerial signs to the lighthouses, but this thought of Kate’s is what sprang out at me as I read it, having just returned from a walk by the cemetery at Kilchoman on Islay where those who died in the wreck of the Otranto in 1918 are buried, and where we looked out to sea voicing very similar thoughts.

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  8. It is such a pleasure to revisit these places in Ireland through your thoughts and Tom’s photographs. The beauty of Ireland is truly awe-inspiring and magnificent! Thank you!

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