We drove off the main road at Dunlewey and took the road across the lough and stumbled upon the village which is situated literally at the end of the road. Well the road for cars that is, hikers can continue along signposted trails.
Dunlewey, the Poisoned Glen, is probably best know for it's stunning views from the foot of Errrigal (Donegal's highest mountain) across the valley and the lakes below. The old roofless Church of Ireland there, commonly called 'the old church' is probably one of the most photographed churches in Donegal, if not Ireland.
This one differs from the one at Port in that the houses seem to be of a later date and show evidence of having been plastered and some have slate roofs. The cottages at Port are simply stone constructions and would have been thatched.
There are about a dozen cottages all in a little cluster giving it a village or hamlet feel and along with the old cottages there are some beautifully made old stone walls. From the village you look straight across Lough Dunlewey to Errigal so it has a fabulous setting making the mystery of why it was abandoned even stronger.
Back on the main road and heading to Gweedore, I noticed that you can actually see the village from the road (see photograph below). I have driven this road many, many times and have never even noticed it which makes me even more positive that taking a wrong turn or even deliberately taking an old road off the main road can lead to treasures we miss if we stay on the main thoroughfares.
Regarding the mystery of the village, I will get to the bottom of it and will then update this blog post accordingly.
UPDATE (21st February 2014)
After seeking information I was given the following:
"Glentornan is the village. ... Betweem 30-40 people lived in the townland between the census of 1841-1881. The 1901 & 1911 recorded 55 (31 M & 24F)."
Many thanks to Josephine and folks from the facebook pages for Dunlewey: DUNLEWEY and DUNLUICHE
So the village now has a name: GLENTORNAN and we now know that about 30 and 55 people lived there between 1841 and 1911. My information helper also told me that most of the inhabitants moved over to the other side of the lake, possibly following their young who built homes over there and also a number would have gone the way of many Irish people and emigrated.
Click on any of the photographs below to enlarge.