Just one minute’s walk to the wild Atlantic, our charming, rough little cottage sits alone in an iconic location, above the wild, smooth-stoned beach and tiny harbour of Port, Donegal. It is a brilliant hideaway in a breath-taking landscape.
Please note, Port, Donegal is very popular, so please try to book early and send me a message, before you try to book here to double-check availability. From May to August we rent by the week only.
This ocean-edge home is offbeat, off-grid, and very nearly off the map. There’s only one rough road to Port, Donegal – and the nearest neighbours are three miles up the valley.
With no mains electricity, we generate our own, and keep warm with traditional stoves and ingenious hot water systems. Some might call it primitive, but we don’t - we reckon it provides some of the greatest luxuries you can have in an over-loaded, high tech world.
Holidays in Port, Donegal are wildly old-fashioned with no power to spare for electronic games or TV, but there's plenty of fishing, swimming, scavenging, messing in streams and waterfalls, walking, and getting really muddy. Lots of extreme sports too - rock-climbing, kayaking on the door-step - and surfing not far away- for those who've a mind to.
Port,Donegal follows its traditional lines, with a central room with a fireplace, cosy “granny nook” and long table for eating. A large hatch opens into a simple kitchen with gas stove, sink and running hot and cold water.
This is a simple, mod-con-free, and genuinely eco, zone. A small amount of power comes from the solar panels – enough for a few lights and charging the odd phone. Our water comes into the house from a hillside river, and we heat it at the back of a wood-burning stove. We have no fridge - food is chilled in the outside larder and milk/drinks in the stream. This is an important part of the simple charms of Port, but it wouldn't suit anyone too "power-hungry".
Bedrooms – we have a master bedroom and ensuite, and a double-bunk room with ensuite inside the main cottage. A third over-flow outside bothy (a little shack) has a further two beds, and its own stove, and a basic outside toilet. The bothys sometimes a bit damp as it doesn’t get used much, but it does for the hardy. – and the little morso wood-burning stove heats it up a treat.
We keep warm with two wood-burning stoves inside, but in the coldest times, it never gets to modern home temperatures. Also, the house is old-fashioned, without an even surface or wide door anywhere, so we're afraid the property is not generally suitable for the disabled or elderly.
Port,Donegal has a small grassed stonewalled area – and couple of stores - and to one side is a large traditional sink for cleaning fish, washing surf/snorkel gear etc. But the main outside is the rest of the valley, which surrounds the cottage. Streams, watefalls, rivers, immense cliffs, heathered hillsides - and not a single other house in sight. You can walk for miles along the coastline, through valleys people dont go into for days, or weeks on end.
Beaches: 15 minutes drive to Maghera's huge sandy beaches and caves, 35 minutes drive to the perfect crescent beach of Silver strand . 45 minutes drive to Tramore, and Bundoran, both surf beaches.
Glencolmcille, the closest village, is 20 minutes drive or an hour and a half’s brisk walk across the hills. Glen, as its called locally, has a lively pub, a cultural centre (music and Irish classes) and often great live trad music. It’s also a very spiritual place, with ancient standing stones scattered around the village.
Ardara - the closest town, half an hour’s drive away is really friendly, and good fun in the evenings, with loads of pubs, live music and the best fish and chip shop in Ireland (the West End Café). Great shopping if you like woolly jumpers or tweed.
At the back is the driveway, with room for a number of cars.
Most people would be glad of a car, because there is very little public transport round here, nothing at all from our valley. Buses from Glencolmcille, in the next valley () are irregular and seasonal. Airports – there are a few flights into Derry and Donegal airports, but most people come via Dublin or Belfast. Ferries come from Wales, Scotland, France and Spain to Dun Laohaire, Dublin, `Cork, Belfast or Larne.
Important facts to note :
The road to Port:
The road to the cottage is tarmaced, though rough and bumpy , but four wheel drive is not necessary, unless in the snow! It is also reachable by mountain bike or quad bike (thats how the shepherds do it!) over the hills. But, most people are glad of a car here, given how remote it is, if only as an extra charging point for phones/cameras.
Changeover days: Saturday- Saturday from June-August.
Friday/Monday from September to May
Long weekends and mid-week breaks are possible only from Sep -May
There is a mobile signal in Port, Donegal, from various odd spots around and in the cottage - and you can always invoke the Glengesh Rule (see in our house rules) if you prefer to be without :)
We spend more time further south in Meath, in another amazing home that’s listed here, but we visit Port, Donegal a few times during the year -usually spring and autumn - to get wild and woolly. We stay in good touch with our guests, if they like, by email and text, but as part of the enjoyment of Port is the independence and solitude, so we take the lead from our guests as to how much chat and support they require. We have the loveliest "neighbours" (in commas because, even though they're our nearest, they're not exactly close) who are on hand to help out with any emergencies, and keep a caring eye..
-As so remote, Port, Donegal is strictly a DIY holiday home with NO cleaner. We arrange for you to pick up our towels and linens from Ardara, you make up your own beds.
-You are required and expected to clean up thoroughly, and leave the cottage as you find it, or better!
-All perishables must be removed on check-out.
-All rubbish should be removed and recycled and dealt with as instructed on check-in info.
-Dogs are very welcome, but need to be kept off the beds and sofas please, and controlled outside as there are lots of sheep.
The Glengesh Rule. A family tradition - as you reach the top of the incredible Glengesh pass, on the way to Port, Donegal, all mobiles and electronics should be switched off , and remain so till you leave the cottage. It works (and our kids are now in late teens) - give it a try!