A bridge in Poisoned Glen.

© Janis Apels/Shutterstock

Poisoned Glen

County Donegal

With a name like this – misnomer that it is – how can you resist its allure? Follow a rough walking path into the rocky fastness of the glen (4km round-trip) and watch out for the green lady – the resident ghost. Some 2km east of the Dunlewey Centre turnoff on the R251, look for a minor road down through the hamlet of Dunlewey, past the magnificently ruined Dunlewey Church, to roadside parking at a hairpin bend where you'll find the walking path.

Legend has it that the huge ice-carved hollow of the Poisoned Glen got its sinister name when the ancient one-eyed giant king of Tory, Balor, was killed here by his exiled grandson, Lughaidh, whereupon the poison from his eye split the rock and poisoned the glen. The less interesting truth, however, lies in a cartographic gaffe. Locals were inspired to name it An Gleann Neamhe (The Heavenly Glen), but when an English cartographer mapped the area, he carelessly marked it An Gleann Neimhe – The Poisoned Glen.

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