Buncrana Parkrun: something for everyone

July 22, 2023

After a warm welcome from our team of volunteers, you're in for a treat along the most picturesque route in Ireland (according to many). The start is on the Buncrana shorefront beside a toilet block and children's play park. You can see a large part of the route from the start line looking across the estuary of the Crana river. The downhill start of the route takes you around the front of the disused Fruit of the loom factory. You then come to the historic quay side of the river crana and follow the salmon fishing river to the historic arched bridge over the river leading to the castle. Past the castle and end of swans park you head up a short hill beside the historic O Dougherty's  Keep. Built in the 15th century with characteristic Norman influences it was occupied by Sir Cahir O' Dochartaigh, The Keep is the link connecting Buncrana to the Doherty's around the world. https://www.odohertyskeep.com/
Down to the shore you continue along to the RNLI loch Swilly lifeboat station at Ned's point.
 Neds point is a popular local swimming spot.
Ned's Point Fort is one of several Napoleonic batteries built in 1813 along the shores of Lough Swilly, to defend the north west of Ireland. It was part of a scheme to fortify Lough Swilly and Lough Foyle against French Invasion during the Napoleonic war.
After rounding Ned's point you soon come the secluded beach at Porthaw, a favourite for swimmers and Sandcastle builders. The turn around point is beside the far end of the beach.

Another time you might like to continue along the coast path past the turnaround to Father Hegartys rock.
Father Hegartys  head was cut off by an English officer named Vaughan  in 1711. Local lore has it that Fr. O’Hegarty’s severed head bounced nine times on the rocky promontory on which it fell. It is said a rough cross formed by the lineaments in the rock face marks the very spot where his head fell after it was parted from his body. Further still you will reach the long wide beach of stragill. At 1km long, you can drive right across it so there is no need to unpack the car and repack. After the turnaround you retrace your steps along the coast path to the friendly group of volunteers at the finish line. If you want to have a cool down you can get in the sea at Lady's bay and shower off at the toilet block, before heading to the Fisherman's Wharf with the team for a well earned coffee and cake.
Thank you for Jason Le Masurie for contributing this piece!  

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