On a cold, dark winter’s morning - faced with the temptation of one last box of After Eights and a well-thumbed Radio Times within touching distance - there was only one thing for it.
TO THE MOST NORTHERLY POINT IN IRELAND
Malin Head gained international fame in 2016 when Luke Skywalker (i.e. Mark Hamill) and the Star Wars production crew used it as a filming location for Episode 8: The Last Jedi.
For a number of weeks the area (and the rest of Ireland actually) went a little Star Wars crazy as set teams and trucks whizzed about while a replica Millenium Falcon was built at Ireland’s most northerly point, overlooking the rugged Irish coastline.
While the final scene above did use a lot of CGI, it’s easy to see why the astonishing location was chosen… the Atlantic Ocean battering the land for centuries to create epic towering formations.
HOW TO GET TO MALIN HEAD
Malin Head sits at the very tip (naturally) of the Inishowen peninsula in County Donegal.
The simplest route is to get to Derry~Londonderry first (just over 1.5 hours from Belfast). Cross the Foyle Bridge and head in the direction of Muff - where in about 10 minutes you will find yourself on the official Wild Atlantic Way.
Carry on for another 40 minutes of brilliant, typically-Irish scenery and you’ll reach the remote car park of Malin Head.
BRING THE ESSENTIALS
From here, the terrain is a mixture of stone and worn-down grassy paths - sports shoes are fine if you don’t have walking shoes/boots.
Definitely bring a coat, even if the weather’s looking OK when you set off. Although it’s only about 30 minutes walk to where you’re going, there’s a reason why they call it the WILD Atlantic Way.
As we headed off, the wind was starting to pick up.
…and then it got to the stage where it took your breath away, literally.
On top of that, keep in mind when the sun is setting.
With this being a last minute decision to go, we arrived with about 1-2 hours before the sun disappeared.
Not that we could see the sun to begin with on this eerie, grey day.
Hell’s Hole. You’ll hear it before you see it if the weather is anything other than super-calm.
A 250 ft long, 100 ft deep and only 8 ft wide chasm that just screams CLAUSTROPHOBIA!
More scarred landscapes as you continue towards you’re final stop…
THE NORTHERN TIP OF IRELAND
Carry on just a little further along the worn-down natural path and you’ll reach Banbas’s Crown.
Though you’ll see the headland stretch further on here, a small fence marks the end of public access.
It’s private property from here - though this is probably best for everyone. Even looking at the cliffs from this point as the giant waves batter against them makes the ol’ legs a bit jelly-ish.
Looking south-west, back down the peninsula…
(Yes, someone has a house all the way out here!)
With not much light left, we had about 10 minutes to watch the full force of the sea at work and feel the wind blow our breaths backwards.
It was then a dash back to the car with our phone torch lights unholstered.
Do we all agree food and drink taste ten times better after a bit of the outdoors?
Especially on a wild day!
Check out this drone vid of the area. The grey tower building (an old weather station) is where you’ll start your walk…
Enjoy! And don’t forget to tag us in any pics you post on social media! #NIEXPLORER
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