The Poisoned Glen

The Poisoned Glen
The Poisoned Glen

The Poisoned Glen lies at the foot of Mount Errigal, the tallest peak of the Derryveagh mountain range, in Dunlewey (Dún Lúiche) in the Donegal Gaeltacht.

The Poisoned Glen is one of the most renowned areas in Co. Donegal for its sweeping valleys, imposing mountains and shimmering lakes. It is very true to say the magnificent beauty of this area is such a capturing sight that it remains as a sanctuary in your mind forever of a very special place. Keep an eye out for the ghost of the Green Lady on the Guinness Estate across the tranquil Dunlewey Lough!!

The Derryveagh mountain range in Donegal, or as referred to by the locals as the ‘Seven Sisters’, includes the mountains of; Aghla Beg, Aghla More, Ardloughnabrackbaddy, Crocknalaragagh, Errigal, Mackoght (known also as little Errigal) and Muckish.  The Poisoned Glen is a renowned venue in Ireland for climbing and mountaineering and has Ireland’s largest continual rock face The Bearnas Buttress.

So why is this beautiful area named The Poisoned Glen. One story is that it was wrongly translated from Irish to English years ago and the correct name should be ‘Heavenly Glen’ (the Irish word for Heaven is neamh and the Irish word for poison is neimhe). Another story is that the king of Tory, Balor, had a very beautiful daughter who he kept closed away in a Tower out of men’s view. However word of her beauty spread and she was kidnapped and brought to Magheroarty. Balor followed and got her, he killed her kidnapper with a giant stone. At the entrance to The Poisoned Glen one such stone stands and it is said to be the poisoned eye of Balor.

An old ruined Church which was built around 1830 from local white marble can be seen at the bottom of Mount Errigal at the entrance to The Poisoned Glen. From this church, by following the right bank of the Owenabhainn River, you can go right into The Poisoned Glen. The picture of this ruined Church with Mount Errigal in the background is widely known.

Music flourishes here and it is an essential part of everything that makes this place so special. Clannad & Enya grew up nearby. Behind Mount Errigal lies Lake Altan at the foot of the Aghla Mór Mountain, the lake inspired the naming of the music group Altan. The Poisoned Glen is home place to the Lunny’s mother, and the brother’s regularly spend time with their mother’s people. The Glen has been very influential and inspirational to them. Manus Lunny and his family live here and he commutes to Scotland to play with his band Cappercaile. Daniel O’Donnell and his sister Margo live not far away in Kincasslagh.

With such talent it is not surprising Dunlewey is home to Dunlewey Theatre, a beautiful building situated at the edge of Dunlewey Lough. The theatre provides a space for local, national and international performers in all areas of the arts, from film, music, drama, comedy and cabaret. At the lake you can also find a tourist centre Ionad Cois Locha (Lakeside Centre).

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