Introducing Buncrana to Clonmany
There are two routes from Buncrana to Clonmany: the scenic coastal road via Dunree Head and the Gap of Mamore, and the speedier inland road (R238). The Gap of Mamore (elevation 262m) is a steep and narrow pass through the Urris Hills, with a sacred spring, St Columba's Well, on the north side.
The winding fjord of Lough Swilly is one of Ireland's great natural harbours, and has played its part in many historical dramas from Viking invasions and the Flight of the Earls to the 1798 rebellion and WWI.
Fort Dunree is the best preserved, and most dramatic, of six forts that were built by the British on the lough following the 1798 uprising of the United Irishmen (which was supported by France), when fears of a French invasion were at fever pitch. Huge naval guns were added in the late 19th century, and during WWI the lough was used as a marshalling area for Atlantic convoys, and as an anchorage for the Royal Navy's Grand Fleet. Unusually, it remained in British hands after the partition of Ireland in 1922, and was only handed over to the Republic of Ireland in 1938.
The original fort, built in 1813, now houses a fascinating military museum, while the surrounding headland is littered with WWI and WWII remains which you can explore at your leisure. There are several waymarked walks, and the sea cliffs are the haunt of choughs, jackdaws and fulmars.