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Fanad Head Lighthouse, in Two Parts

Part one, the accommodations.

Drawing inspiration from a New York Times article about Irish lighthouses, Emily and I decided to splurge during our summer holiday and stay in one of Ireland’s many lighthouses that are now being rented out as self-catering holiday lets. Due to our itinerary and based on where we would be at any given time during our three and a half weeks in Ireland, the Fanad Head lighthouse chose us, as much as we chose it. It ended up being a perfect match.

To book the lighthouse, we went on Fanad Head website, studied the three different accommodations that were offered and decided on the one that fit our needs and budget the best. We selected the Dunree view, which sleeps two (as we were not traveling with four or more people), it seemed to be the logical choice. Once we selected the accommodations online, we were taken to a calendar to check availability and decide on our arrival and departure dates. There was a two-night minimum when we booked for June, but that worked out perfectly when we were there, because it gave us more time to explore County Donegal for the first time, which was a real treat. Fanad Head takes a 30% deposit when you book the lighthouse, and requires the full payment just before you arrive. Communication was via email, and it was easy to get any questions I had answered in a timely manner (especially when you take into consideration the eleven-hour time difference). We had the lighthouse booked shortly after we purchased our airfare, which shows you how eager we were to try something new.

Fast forward many months and we finally arrived at Fanad Head lighthouse in the beginning of June. The staff that works the lighthouse, giving tours and running the shop, welcomed us and showed us to our room. The Dunree view was unbelievably charming. As you walk into the cozy upstairs, you have a kitchen, a small table for meals, and a sitting area, complete with turf burning stove and lending library. The view out the two windows is of the Fanad hills, Lough Swilly, and Trá bán beach (which was empty all three days we were there). Going down the narrow stairs, you end up on the first floor where the bedroom, bathroom, and laundry are all located. We were not expecting laundry facilities, so this was a much welcomed bonus for the both of us.

The door stop outside our entrance (interior photos taken with my iPhone).

This clever vent hood, which turned on when you pulled the cabinet face out. The one laundry machine both washes and dries your clothes, which ended up being a lesson in patience and time management.

From the wooden floors to the robin’s egg colored cabinets, the Dunree view accommodations were quant, cozy, and super cute. The replica Carnegie Library for Lighthouse Service with its selection of books to read by the turf burner was the icing on the cake. When you check in, you get your room keys, as well as a clicker that controls the iron gate at the beginning of the driveway. After five at night, the staff goes home and the lighthouse is closed to the public, the exception being those staying as an overnight guest. This exclusivity gave me unlimited access to the grounds, which I took full advantage of to try some fun photographs of the lighthouse and the surrounding landscape.

Part two, the photographs.

As you can see from the photographs, the coast was hazy most of the two nights we stayed in the lighthouse. Unfortunately, I failed to get up in the middle of the night to get a few shots of the lighthouse in action, but that just gives me another reason to want to go back.

Our time at Fanad Head lighthouse was brief but memorable. We cannot wait to go back to Ireland and explore Donegal some more. The three days in and around the county were not nearly enough to see all of beauty it holds. I think if the opportunity were to come around again, we would gladly revisit Fanad Head lighthouse for another few nights.