The Poisoned Glen


With one of the stranger place names in Donegal, this unique hollow valley in the Derryveagh mountains is anything but poison to the senses. How it came to be at the foot of Mount Errigal strikes visitors with awe; carved out by a mass of ice that melted away into Dunlewey lake and beyond. 

If you are lucky enough to gaze into the bowels of the valley you will wonder deeply about the origins of the name. Some say a whole army was poisoned here many moons ago. Legends claim that a giant cyclops called Balor, from nearby Tory Island, was poisoned through his eye by his grandson Lughaidh. Balor's tears spilled into the rocks and poisoned the glen as he lay dying.  

Walk into the valley and you will find a peace that defies the legend. The more likely story centres around what the locals used to call 'the heavenly glen'. A cartographer mapped out the place names of the area and misspelled 'An Gleann Neamhe' (Heavenly Glen) with 'An Gleann Neimhe' (Poisoned Glen).

We will let you make up your own mind as you snake your way down into the foot of the valley. Park you car at the hair-pin after the ruined church and chart your course along the stream. Drink the spring water if you dare!    

With special thanks to Diana Collins for the use of her image.