By Aine McGlinchey
Just like the rest of the country, last year I was unable to go on holiday, so I embarked on a Staycation. I booked my family’s holiday home in Downings (Na Dúnaibh), packed up my bags and had one of the most enjoyable holidays I’ve ever had.
Downings is a village on Donegal’s Rosguill Peninsula where Derry people flock to every summer to enjoy the stunning ocean views and dramatic scenic routes.
As a child I spent all of my summers in Downings, playing with my cousins and all the kids who travelled there to holiday. But this holiday was different. I wasn’t here with my mum or aunts, so it made me feel like how my aunts would have when they were my age and came here to have fun.
Downings hosts many events throughout the summer including the very popular Downings Festival on the first weekend of August. The Downings windsurfing event has been hosted on the third weekend of July since 1982 and the event planners are hopeful they will continue this year.
It was very nostalgic being there. Even though the house had a complete renovation in recent years, I could still remember the old musty smell that reminded me of the old house and my childhood.
I did the same things I did as a child, jumping off the pier, walking along the beaches and people watching at the Harbour Bar. The Harbour Bar has an atmosphere like no other on a summer’s day with the sun splitting the sky, the smell of beer and sounds of laughter. It would make anyone feel like they didn’t have a care in the world.
I also went to places I’ve never been to in all my 22 years in Downings. Murder Hole beach and the boardwalks showed me the beauty of Donegal with views like you would see in a dream. Murder Hole Beach is one of the most beautiful and unique beached in Ireland. It has cliffs, hills, dunes, small caves and two beaches that merge as one when the tide is out.
For food I decided to cook a dish that I frequently had there as a child made by my aunts. It was chicken, onions, sweetcorn and gravy all in one pan with potatoes which I thought was quite delicious. However, I was shocked when the person I was there with couldn’t believe I would eat such a combination of food and made their own dinner.
As shocked as I was, that is what staycations are all about. Having fun and making memories right on your doorstep. They don’t have to be the most expensive holidays. They are holidays that are made with good food, fun activities and with people you enjoy being around.