Every single year, EVERY year, without fail something goes wrong on my birthday with friends canceling either the night before or the morning of my birthday so it's always been a bit of letdown, and of course it happened again this year a friend who was meant to come with us canceled but it wasn't his fault and I was determined to not let it spoil my day so me and my boyfriend headed off early to enjoy our whole day there.
I can not speak enough words of how incredibly beautiful this place is. I really felt like I was in a completely different country (picture national parks in America) with huge stoney mountains outlining the breezy cool lake with trees covered in all of the autumn colors. That's what really popped for me was the colors, we were lucky with the time of year we went, autumn was everywhere.
What I mainly went there for was the castle, which is insane having this castle in the middle of nowhere... I mean hello Hogwarts. So we choose the 4km walk to the castle which says a lot about how incredible this place was as I hate walking with a passion but did not want to miss a second of this beauty by getting the shuttle bus from the carpark, although we did on the way back because we were so wrecked.
After the magnificent walk, we finally got to the INCREDIBLE castle and it was like stepping back in time as musicians played old medieval tunes and we walked the wall gardens, pleasure gardens and around the courtyards. Every corner of the gardens was beautiful from little Indonesian statues to carved wooden huts to view the grounds from above while we sat like the Lord and Lady we are. We took lots of little paths around the grounds including one that led up to 167 (more or less I can't quite remember) steps which was closed off but still you could walk around it and it gave an amazing view down on the castle.
Sitting in the wooden hut with my favorite person in the middle of the Donegal countryside surrounded by magnificent mountains, a chilly Autumn breeze, smoke billowing from the castle chimney and an accordion player in the glasshouse was one amazing way to spend my birthday.
After discovering the boathouse down by the lake on a map I knew I had to see it because (sorry letting out my inner nerd here) it just screamed the Harry Potter games where a lot of time was spent at the boathouse. This one was incredible as it looked out on all the mountains and it seemed like it was a rooftop swimming pool. Nearby there was also a bird display with a white Tawney owl... Hello! Hedwig.. for Halloween which was really interesting and incredible on the castle grounds (just like a Hogwarts lesson).
To make the day that bit more incredible, as we sat in a long wooden hut (just like the bridge that Neville destroys) a little robin sat directly in front of me for quite some time checking us out. I have always believed robins are your loved ones in heaven letting you know their nearby and my nan always used to sit and watch them so I believed this was her coming to wish me a Happy Birthday