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“Winter’s Touch on Altan Tower”


Lough Altan, Dunlewey, County Donegal, Ireland

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Lough Altan Shore, Dunlewey, County Donegal, Ireland

Finally! after 2 years of patiently waiting, the snowy conditions I needed to capture this scene arrived. Each winter past, there was either no snow or the roads were frozen solid which stopped me from reaching. However a few days ago a brief 1 day window of opportunity opened & trust me I wasn’t going to miss this one  I truly adore this old ruin & have always visioned it frozen over as I believe it aids in showing people how rural & isolated it actually is here. Especially hundreds of years ago during cold winters, such as the “big snow” of 1947 which sadly ended this farm forever…..

This stunning house, castle or tower is actually an old sheep farm that nowadays rests totally hidden away over 3 miles off any modern dwelling at the very foot of Mt Errigal on the small sandy shore of “Lough Altan” It can only be accessed via a 1 hour hike through miles of some very wet bogland as there are no roads leading to it

Nothing seems to be on record about the actual starting history or who built this amazing tower??? The records only start in 1844 by 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 he had 1100 sheep grazing in the mountains and they were said to have been remarkable fat as there was sufficient grazing for them. In 1856 for reasons unknown the Scottish shepherd was attacked, robbed of his watch and ordered to return to his own country

The house and farm was abandoned in the 1800s. It is said that Maguire & Patterson (match manufacturers) owned the farm in the 1930s & also 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 set foot on it once during all the years he owned it. This is why it now lays like this to this very day, steeped in history of tenants, evictions and stories from the “sheep war”

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