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‘The Lonesome Tower of Altan’


Altan Lough, Meenagopog, County Donegal, Ireland
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Altan Lough, Meenagopog, County Donegal, Ireland


Standing lonesome on the rural boglands of Donegal can be found this misplaced fortified stone tower. Designed in the style of a small medieval castle it was actually an old sheep farm house! Totally hidden at the foot of Mt Errigal on the small sandy shore of Lough Altan. Miles away from any modern dwelling, it can only be accessed via a 1-hour hike through miles of wet bogland as there are no roads leading here.


Nothing seems to be on record about the actual starting history or who built this amazing tower? The records only start in 1844 stating that John Obins Woodhouse (Formerly a solicitor in Dublin) Had purchased this property in 1844 along with other properties in other counties in Ireland. The land was then leased by a Mr Wright and in September 1849 who had 1100 sheep grazing in the mountains. In 1856 for reasons unknown the Scottish shepherd was attacked, robbed and ordered to return to his own country.


The tower house and farm were abandoned in the 1800s. It is said that Maguire & Patterson (match manufacturers) owned the farm in the 1930s and used it for sheep farming. Unfortunately, the “Big Snow” in 1947 wiped out the entire herd and the farm was finally sold to a Swiss industrialist. It is said that the businessman never even seen it nor once set foot on it during all the years he owned it. Therefore, it now lays like this to this very day, steeped in the history of tenant evictions and tales from the Big Snow of 1947.

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