Nostalgia in the Nostrils

Well I did get one whiff of the old Donegal today.  I was cycling middle child’s teenage mountain bike [not one of your aluminium-frame jobs – more like a five barred gate on wheels] back to Blogstead Na Mara from Dunfanaghy Village.  Suddenly I got this overwhelming whiff of turf smoke.  If you have never smelt it, it is extraordinary.  It can be blowing a gale – and it often is – and the smell is so pungent you will get it anyway.

But then it was gone.  And I wove my way through exhaust smoke of the serried ranks of BMW’s, Merc’s and Four by Fours [same guy as was picking the flowers in Perth, I am sure] queuing up to buy the new houses.  Two sets on offer here – 5 ‘energy saving houses’ just down the road.  That means two solar panels on the roof and no view.  Meanwhile the three houses across the valley from Blogstead are almost complete.  The price is 675,000 euro – for a holiday cottage – where it rains a lot – I know it has a view of Blogstead but ….  For those who find currency exchange challenging, that means that you could put five children through Glenalmond College for the same price.  Or buy 70 red VW Golfs just like the bishop’s wife drives.  [The Pope’s grey one is more expensive] Now which would you choose?  I think what I find most astonishing – but I didn’t point it out to the flash car drivers – is that it is  unlikely to the point of inconceivable that they could hope to get their money back should they decide to sell.  That’s what they call a bubble.  Meanwhile, the earthen floors, straw mattresses and oil lamps of Blogstead Na Mara will do us for now.


  1. Yes I agree. And it should be part of our thinking about rural issues both in Ireland and in Scotland – the struggle to maintain viable and reasonably age-balanced communities. This raises issues like education, transport, planning permission etc

  2. David,

    At least earthen floors are authentic! You might refer them to:

    There are serious ethical and pastoral issues in our property boom and bust, the weakest and most vulnerable will inevitably suffer the most. Unfortunately, the churches are so fixated with sexuality that the daily struggle of ordinary punters, (both of them commuting two hours to Dublin, kids in creches, debts mounting, and so on) doesn’t figure in anyone’s thinking.

Comments are closed.