In August 2014 we spotted a patch of Donegal wilderness available for sale online. The photos showed a rather murky boggy hill, not particularly appealing. It did have two lakes though, the ad’ claimed, which piqued our interest. We had been keeping our eyes open for a spot of land for a business idea and in the absence of any better or affordable places we decided, unenthusiastically, to check it out.
It rained non-stop the day we went to view it. The type of depressing day when you don’t want to get out of the car. Being heavily pregnant with twins didn’t help. Driving through the leafy Rhododendron entrance, along the drive following the lake shoreline and up the prettiest tree-lined boreen, we were utterly seduced. The rest of the site visit predominantly involved myself and my husband, Marcus, secretly lip-syncing “wows” to each other when the seller wasn’t looking. At their asking price it was a steal. Yes it is a boggy hill but it was actually a particularly beautiful boggy hill...as boggy hills go. It wasn’t just bog, there were wildflower meadows, old stone ruins, mossy pathways and wooded groves. At the top of the hill we gazed at the panoramic views sweeping across Donegal Bay to Slieve League mountain in the West, the Bluestack mountains to the North and around to the Cliffs of Magho and the Dartry Mountains to the South. And, as if this wasn’t enough, at the foot of the hill glistening up at us were the two lakes – Lough Achully and the larger Lough Mardal. We weren’t quite sure how we were going to purchase it but we knew somehow we were going to have to.
I’m fairly sure with the impending arrival of a new baby most sensible couples start taking life a bit more seriously – careers are invested in, better-paid jobs are pursued, homes are upgraded, stability and security are the focus. Not us. Fast forward 1 year and 2 babies later and we have both packed in our long term, well-paid stable jobs and told our landlady in Slane we were moving out. To Donegal, no fixed abode! Right so. But... we had a plan.