I WAS LURED into re-visiting Donegal with the intention of re-climbing Errigal – reputedly Ireland’s loveliest hill – by the happy chance of having co-tutored a writing course in Wales with Cathal O’Searcaigh, a very fine Irish-language poet. Cathal’s home in the Donegal Gaeltacht happened to be in the townland of Gort a’ Choirce, between the foot of the mountain and Horn Head to its north. He’d sung the praises of this remote place and its landscape pride of Errigal all week, and invited me to call on him if ever I found myself in that remote corner of Ireland. I’d been up Errigal once with the Irish mountaineer Dermot Somers, climbing it from the south, and on account of the mist had seen nothing all day. So with Cathal’s invitation in mind, and a few days to spare, with my first Jack Russell Terrier, The Flea – a feisty little presence and an excellent mountain dog – I took the ferry and threaded north and west through what was then, and soon may no longer be, an invisible border.
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