BSW1 15. Tranquil shores?
Part of the Bluestack Way Part One playlist.
You'll be by the lough's shores by now. Out on the shore you'll see O'Donnell Island, which was once a home to the O'Donnells of nearby Donegal Castle. From here, one of the most famous journeys in Irish history began on the 11th September 1607. Rory O'Donnell and his immediate family left their castle on Lough Eske that morning to walk for three days through the mountains to Rathmullan on the north coast of Donegal. There they joined with the O'Neill and Maguire families to sail to Spain on 14th September in what has became known as 'The Flight of the Earls', the final journey of the great Gaelic chieftain society which had ruled Ireland for the previous fifteen hundred years.
On a slightly less poignant note, the national daily, The Irish Daily Star, published a story entitled 'Look out, it's Eskie!' back in the summer of 1998, claiming monster sighting in the lake. Staff and residents at Harvey's Point told the reporter that at 2.30pm on Sunday 28 June 1998 they saw an unidentified object moving about 300 m off the shore. Some people suggested that the Lough Eske Monster was a publicity stunt by local impresario, Zack Gallagher. He, however, has always denied this and has gone on record as saying he believes in the existence of such a beast - and will tell you so if you buy him a beer to discuss the harrowing event! The less fanciful version is that a lost seal swam the short distant up the River Eske from Donegal Bay that day.
Other locals interviewed, such as bed and breakfast owners Annabel and Kieran Clarke, repeated some of the local folklore when they told the paper that some lakes in Donegal are said to be connected by current to Scotland, trying to make a link with the much more famous Loch Ness Monster. A look at a map does give credence to this theory - Gweebarra on the way to Dungloe is said to be a continuation of the great fault line that cuts through Scotland's Lough Ness, in effect the biggest crack in the world. The late Kieran Clarke was Ireland's finest piano technician. Besides clients such as Brendel and Argerich, he was the man who ensured the piano in Abbey Road studios sounded good. Quietly salute him next time you hear The Beatles' 'A Day in the Life'.
Following on from our anecdote about monsters in the lough, Patsy tells us what exactly a dubh dorachor is.