Weekend Idea: Sleep in an Old Cottage at the “Edge of the World”
Drive or take a bus to Malin Head, sleep like a baby in an old stone cottage and spend the time in between, reading, relaxing and walking the traffic-free tracks around a peninsula that feels like the edge of the world.
Malin Head is one of my favourite spots in Ireland. Nature is the main attraction but there is also something quite romantic about this tiny peninsula. If you’re tired of the city, you can find some quiet here. For desolate country roads with stone cottages and rugged cliffs next to the wild Atlantic Ocean, Malin Head is the perfect escape. Small rural pubs and cozy nights by the fire…it’s all here.
But why don’t I talk about Malin Head so much?
Malin Head: An Authentic and Wild Escape in Ireland
Honestly, it’s just so small and wild and beautiful that I wanted it to myself.
It’s true, when I first visited Malin Head, I wondered why there were so few tourists. In many ways, it was the quintessential Irish countryside experience but without any tourists. I found quiet roads that were more like farmers tracks and the tip of the peninsula was like the edge of the world. What’s more, I felt so well-rested during my time at Malin Head with little more than the sound of the waves to interrupt my sleep.
While I did plan on camping on Malin Head, most of the land is privately owned and within sight which put me off. However, if you wanted to wild camp, I imagine this would be quite easy anywhere next to the lookout tower.
Malin Head: An Authentic and Wild Pocket of Eire
Malin Head is situated on the Inishowen Peninsular and best known for being the most northerly point in Ireland. Featuring small coves, craggy cliffs and luscious green fields, this is also one of the more “authentic” places to visit in Ireland which tourists have yet to overrun.
As you may know, Malin Head was a lookout point in the 1800s when the British built a tower to spot incoming ships from Napoleon’s army. In 1902, a small signal station was built next to this tower which was used by Lloyds insurance company to communicate with passing ships.
Aside from nature and these remnants of the past, Malin Head has a small café, restaurant, country pub and convenience store. That being said, I highly recommend picking up supplies en-route as opening hours are limited and so too is the extent of supplies available.
Where to Stay and My Experience in Malin Head
You will find a small number of Air bnb’s in Malin Head and a couple of holiday homes which can be found through a quick online search. In most instances, these options are very old school and located away from other homes or buildings which adds to the appeal.
If you want something cheap, I can highly recommend the Sandrock Hostel in Malin Head. Although I stayed here previously for financial reasons, I was so happy to find such an authentic experience.
You see, the hostel is really just a country-style home that you share with other travellers. There is also a kitchen which I used to make my own meals with supplies I had picked up in Carndonagh. When I stayed at the Sandrock Hostel, there was only one or two others staying there at any one time and I found these visitors were always quiet and eager to sit by the fire, and enjoy the silence.
In other words, this is not somewhere to party.
As for location, I was able to walk out the front door of the hostel and either explore the nearby coves or walk a loop around the peninsula.
How to Get to Malin Head
Driving to Malin Head is very straightforward. Most people tend to head for Derry City and then continue north toward the peninsula.
For those without a car, it’s also possible to take a bus to Malin Head. In fact, I did this a few years ago and found the journey surprisingly easy to organize. After taking a bus from Dublin to Derry City, I stayed overnight and took a second bus to a small town called Carndonagh.
It’s really easy to reach Malin Head from this small town as locals share a daily bus to the Peninsula which is more like a taxi service. Wherever you stay on the peninsula, the drive will take you to either the front doorstep or the “end of the road” so that you will not have to walk very far.
- Take a bus to Derry City.
- Take a second bus to Carndonagh.
- Take a taxi/bus to Malin Head.
You could take a quick overnight trip to Malin Head , especially when driving a car. However, two nights would be more relaxing and a much better option when taking a bus to the Peninsula.