I stood above the stunning Silver Strand at Malinbeg one very, very hot day in, I think, 2009. As far as I remember it was Easter time, possibly Easter Sunday.
I was taking photographs of the beautiful horseshoe shaped bay as people parked and walked down to the beach.
As I stood admiring the view this little tot came into view. The costume was very bright and drew my eye. I thought it would make a fabulous photograph and I was far enough away that no-one’s privacy would be invaded.
The trouble was there were others around and I just wanted the little one and the sea and sand.
So I waited. And waited. The temperature was going up and I most certainly was not dressed for the hot weather being out on a photo-shoot and not ready for relaxing on the beach.
Each time I got just the wee one into my sights another person would run and land in the shot. I know I could have photo-shopped anyone else out but I wanted to wait and see if I could get only the child.
Particularly so as there were the cutest little footprints left behind by the child.
My patience eventually paid off and I got the one shot where it was just the child, the sea, sand and the cute footprints.
Later I cropped it and made it into a large 6’ long print, cutting out much of the sea other than the little bit at the shoreline.
Now, possibly 14 years later, the child would be around 16 plus I imagine.
And I wondered if, with the power of social media, we could find the child, or the child’s parents to share the photograph with.
So, do YOU know who it is?
I will be making a presentation of the large print to the child/parents if we find him or her.
At Sliabh Liag, the highest accessible seacliffs in Europe, standing 1,972 feet, visitors must ALWAYS keep their dog on a lead.
The sheep there are free to wander the area and some of that area, by definition, is made up of steep cliff edges. The above photograph shows how near to the edge they can wander. Inches beyond where that young sheep is skipping along is a huge drop straight on to the rocks and ocean below.
Sheep are easily spooked and a dog running around, even when it is not chasing them, can cause panic.
When sheep panic, they run.
Panicking sheep will run. Just one sheep panicking will set off the others who run scattering around the place. Those in lamb may abort their lambs.
All will run to escape their percieved fear of a dog.
Some way too close to the edge.
And unfortuately some slip and fall almost 2,000 feet to their almost guaranteed death.
BUT THAT IS NOT THE WORST OF IT! ...
WHAT COULD BE WORSE YOU ASK?
The very worst of your dog being off-lead and spooking sheep at Sliabh Liag is the number of sheep and lambs that slip off the edge, not to their death, but who survive the fall and land on rocks below.
They are almost certainly in agony and will remain that way, abandoned on a cold rocky ground with no hope of resuce.
And there, after days of fear and agony, they will eventually die either from their injuries or from starvation.
SO KEEP YOUR DOG ON A LEAD!
This blog post is by way of an apology to the relatives and friends of those who hailed from the stunning location of An Port on the western coast of County Donegal.
When we first heard about it we were told that there was a village with abandoned cottages and of course our interest was piqued. Naturally we asked why it was abandoned and the man told us that he thought it was during an Gorta Mór (the Great Hunger or Irish Famine as some know it).
Once we got to it we were amazed and the beautiful old remains there and the stunning views out on to the wild Atlantic Ocean.
It was added in good faith to our site under the name Famine/Ghost Village.
And this name comes up first on page one of google for our site a lot of times so we take culpability in part for it becoming, wrongly, known as a 'Famine Village.
We removed this name once notified and after reading a lengthy facebook post from people who knew about the place first hand.
However the name as ascribed by our site was still coming up on page 1 No.1 slot of google so we have left the page name and directed visitors from there to the now updated page entitled AN PORT. (Click that link to go to it and view more photographs and information on An Port and directions to it).
COMMENTS ON FACEBOOK ...
Here are some of the comments we read on that facebook post (25th August 2023) which very clearly evidences the fact that An Port is not and never was abandoned during an Gorta Mór (aka The Famine).
“...it was never a famine village it was a thriving fishing community, lived in until at least late 50s. Younger generation just moved or emigrated. Sick and tired of this false image of ghost , famine village.”
“...My next door neighbour was from Port . She went every Sunday evening to visit her relations in Port and that was in the 1960s.”
“It's not a 'post famine village' ... there were fishing families living here in these houses until the 1950s. People then began to emigrate to England and Scotland to seek work in the post war boom in construction there.”
“Not a "Famine Village", so can people please stop that nonsense. Emigration and the need to be closer to schools, jobs and public services meant that people left these remote townlands for villages like Cashel.”
“Port is not and never was a gost Famine village I visited there often in the fifties.”
“Not a famine village my grandmother lived there.”
To further make amends we have arranged to speak personally with a person who has a great knowledge of the old place and we will be posting about that in the near future.
In the meantime, our unreserved apologies to anyone we upset.
We Love Donegal
We Love Donegal is a site dedicated to bring the beauty of County Donegal on the north west coast of Ireland to the world.