Malin Head

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.