Remote Beauty on the Narrows of Trawbreaga
Figart Rock House, County Donegal
On three acres of remote and scenic coastline, just a couple of miles from the most northerly tip of Ireland, Figart Rock House is a thoroughly contemporary family cottage of interlocking geometry, capricious horizons, and sandstone walls.
Inishowen is the start of the Wild Atlantic Way and an excellent taster of what is to come, where the ocean and the weather are full of delicious serendipity.
A multi-dimensional interior
One wing of this contemporary cottage features a double height living area - a generic and spacious chamber that seamlessly absorbs the dining area with a cucumber and dove-grey kitchen, making one large common room.
Barefoot-warm and glossy, mottled marble flooring hides the ambient heating, while prudently placed windows frame panoramic views of big skies, whirling birds and sweeping tides outside whatever the weather.
A twirl of stainless steel and oak leads upstairs to a mezzanine double bedroom, where a glass block wall conceals the ensuite bathroom with walk-in shower - an arrangement typical to this home.
A semi glazed gallery links the living area to the remainder of the sleeping accommodation through the entrance lobby.
This informal seating area, has large sliding patio doors opening onto a magical north westerly sheltered courtyard, complete with cascading barrel fishpond.
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Pretty much everything you would expect in a quality home is here. There is an entrance directly to the utility room which has a walk in shower - great for getting out of sandy wet suits.
Please let us know if you will require additional housekeeping or laundry services during your stay.
Nancy's Barn in Ballyliffin cater for private dinner parties, will prepare meals at the cottage, or deliver. They will also provide picnics on request.
Figart Rock House is built on a strip of lawned land that falls gently to the shores of Trawbreaga Bay. Here you can watch the grey seals swim over the sandy narrows at BarMouth, and sun themselves on the Rock, or fish for small Pollock (pickers) as the fishermen tend their Oysters. There are terrific views north towards Malin head, and mussels a plenty to be plucked along the shoreline at low tide.
The recent addition of this all weather Pod to the front lawn puts you right in the landscape.
Smoking - No, sorry!
The owners regret Stag or Hen parties are not admissible.
Children - Please check with us if you are travelling with very young children.
No dogs, sorry - the bay is a designated wildlife sanctuary, and local farmers are very protective of their sheep.
Above the garage block, a cosy open plan self-contained apartment for two has been fitted into the loft space.
Out and About
Not only is Inishowen a fascinating and historical peninsula, with endless, empty sandy beaches and great golf, but for food and music it is unrivalled.
There’s so much to do and see, we just can’t list everything, so here are a few of our favourites..
Here are links to some of our favourite activities-
- Step back in time at Doagh Famine Village
- Listen in at Lilys
- Play a round at Ballyliffin links
- Get around on a hired bike
- Trek on a Pony
- Go back to Surfing school
- Climb a mountain
- Get in some deep sea fishing
- Feast on fish at the Rusty Nail
- Go Adventure Kayaking in the Lough
- Try a bowl of Nancy's chowder
- Get into some Donegal Tweed
- Dine out at The Beach House
About the Locality
Figart Rock House is on the Isle of Doagh, which lost its island status after the last ice age to the large swathe of sand that now form the Nick Faldo designed Ballyliffin Golf Links.
Twice a day the tide floods through the sandy straights at Five Fingers beach – home to some of the highest sand dunes in Europe - to flood the wild bird sanctuary of Trawbreaga Bay. This is a great spot to spin for sand eels or sea trout.
photo Patrick Mackie
More than two miles of golden strand – superb for surfing and windsurfing border the western side of Doagh. After that, Ballyliffin village is great for Coffee or Irelands best Seafood Chowder in Nancy’s Barn.
Inishowen is far enough north to catch occasional glimpses of the plasma light show that is the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. There are several websites that do forecasts of when views can be expected.
Just a 30 minute drive around the bay is Banba’s Crown at the tip of Malin Head - the most northerly point on the Inishowen Peninsula, itself the largest peninsula on the island of Ireland. Parts of the Star Wars movies were filmed in this other worldly landscape.
There is said to be the highest concentration of shipwrecks in the world off this headland, which attracts both divers and fishermen alike. The German U-boat fleet was scuttled here at the end of World War II. A short ramble from the car park is the deep and narrow cavern of Hells Hole.
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It is a 15 minute drive to the market town of Cardonagh where you will find a good selection of shops, pubs and cafes, and the famous 7th century St. Patricks Cross.
You may like to walk the four kilometres to the Doagh Famine Village and experience life in a re-constructed thatched village of the mid 1800’s – an all embracing and entertaining historical journey.
photo Heinrich Klaffs
The peninsula is renowned for its traditional musicians and singers, so it will be difficult to avoid coming across a session in one of the pubs or hotels of an evening.
photo Patrick Mackie
If you are visiting the magnificent City of Derry which is in the UK at the end of Lough Foyle, you might like to stop off to view the Grianan of Aileach, a beautifully preserved example of a ring fort, probably built in the seventh century.
Cycling is extremely popular in County Donegal, and the annual Inishowen 100 race attracts hundreds of entrants every August.
How to get there - Car advised.
By Air: Flights to Derry, Belfast, Dublin or Donegal airports.
City of Derry Airport - 1 hour from house, almost daily from Stanstead.
Belfast Airport - 2 hours from house.
Dublin Airport – just under 4 hours from house
Donegal Airport – just over 2 hours from house
By Sea: Ferry crossings
Larne to Stranraer is just over 2 hours from house
Dublin City Port/Holyhead has a fast crossing and is approx 4 hours from house
Gallery of photographs