We have two home exchanges scheduled this summer in County Donegal. This is the northern-most county in Ireland, and shares a border with Northern Ireland. Explaining to people that we’re going to northern Ireland, but not Northern Ireland can be tricky.
In researching our upcoming trip, I learned the following:
- Donegal was rated #1 on National Geographic’s Cool List for 2017.
- It was one of the film locations for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. My husband and eldest daughter will be really excited to learn this. My other daughter and I don’t really care.
- Enya is from Donegal. I feel calmer already.
- They love the “gh” combo: Dunfanaghy, Fougher, Loughanure. However I try to pronounce these places, I will be wrong.
- They love double letters: Meenaboy, Annagry, Crolly, Derrybeg, Muff. I don’t think Muff means the same thing there as it does here.
- They love the “gh” combo and double letters, like Falcarragh and Kincasslagh, which both sound like battle cries to me.
- Other places are just fun to say, like Burtonport and Gortahork. Try to say “Gortahork” with a straight face.
- Gaelic football and hurling are popular sports. I have no idea what Gaelic football and hurling are.
- A notoriously cruel landowner built Glenveagh Castle in the 1870s. He evicted over 40 families from his land because he was kind of an asshole.
- The area is known for manufacturing tweed.
If reading about tweed and Enya puts you in an Irish frame of mind, try a Guinness milkshake. In the meantime, I’ll be speculating on the pronunciation of Magheragallon.