RATHMULLAN ~ Population approx 500 Ráth Maoláin ~ Meaning "Maoláin's ringfort"
Along the shoreline at Rathmullan there is a laid out path called 'Batt's Walk'.
From the notice board at the entrance to the walk: “In Spring from where you’re standing, the scent of Ramsons or Wild Garlic will be drifting our way from its frlowers on either side. As you walk on you are struck by constant glimpses of Lough Swilly, a rare sight in modern Ireland, being able to see the sae through trees. A wide variety of deciduous trees are on both sides of the walk. One of the first to be encountered is the prolific, non-native Sycamore tree with its ‘helicopter’ seeds, dispersed amongst many native Common Ash trees, one of the most common native trees in Donegal. The Sycamore leaves carry black spots in late summer from the fungus ‘Tar Spot’. Its presence is a sign of clean, unspoilt air.
The smooth bark of Common or European Beech shines on rainy days. These grow side by side with the deeply-ridged bark of the Common Lime trees. Reach up and feel the softness of the heart-shaped Lime leaves, a feeling in stark contrast with the almost plastic feel of the tough Beech leaves. Watch out for the new all too rare Wych Elm with its rough-feeling leaves and deeply-ridged bark. Since the arrival of a fungal disease in the 1980s, this majestic native tree has been all but wiped out in Ireland. The Western shores of Lough Swilly once boasted large stands of this specimen. Jumping out as very different, is the vast Monterey Cyprus about half way along the walk. A coniferous tree from western America, this magnificent tree is thriving in our damp mild Atlantic conditions.
Further along, a gap in the trees, shows how native Willow and Birch are self-seeding at the edges of the walk along the dunes. Just before the path turns away from the Lough there are some native Irish Yew trees. They have horizontal branches and may be identified by their dark, glossy green needle-like leaves and soft outer bark. Their toxic foliage and longevity attracted the ancient Celtic traditions, as a symbol of both life and death.
This rich mix of tree species, along with the accompanying shrubs, ivy and woodland flowers, provide a safe breeding ground for small migrant birds such as the Willow Warbler and the Chiffchaff, both singing familiar songs that can be heard throughout the late spring and early summer. A healthy colony of Rooks and the smaller Jackdaws fill the evening air with their calls as they come back from their foraging grounds to the safe haven to roost.”
Approximately half way between Ramelton and Rathmullan you cross the old bridge at Ray.
The three arch bridge which is made up of one larger arch flanked by two smaller arches, was built around 1860 and includes rubble and stones from an earlier bridge which was built around the end of the 18th century.
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