During lockdown, with the 5 kilometre restrictions, I decided to stroll around and take in the peaceful and historic sights of Donabate.
This Georgian Estate was built in the 18th century by Charles Cobbe, the house remained with the family until 1985, when Fingal County Council took over. Many visitors flock to this 400 acre site with its expansive parks, playground, farm and the house. Over the last couple of months the farm has been closed and nobody is allowed to enter the house, recently the farm has opened up and is welcoming back visitors.
Thomas, son of Charles, married Elizabeth Beresford, in 1751, daughter of the Earl of Tyrone and she provided a generous dowry that contributed towards renovations of the House. Their grandson Charles married Frances Conway in the early 19th century and they refurbished the house once more, with her money as whilst he was away for a period in Bath, the house had become run down.
Frances Cobbe, a descendant of the original Charles Cobbe was born in Newbridge House in December 1822, she became a social reformer, a leading women’s suffrage campaigner and an Irish Writer. In one of the rooms you can view the family portraits and Frances is a prominent figure.
After the house was handed down through a couple of generations, the last remaining family members were Hugh, Alec and Mary but Fingal County Council purchased it in 1985 and the Cobbe family sometimes stay there.
Newbridge hosts local events throughout the year, such as Halloween, Flavours of Fingal and Christmas with a visit to Santa. In the past I have taken my children to visit Santa and they have really enjoyed it. Also around the park, there are lovely walkways and forested areas with outdoor gym equipment and a kids playground. Whilst the farm has an entrance fee its fun too for the whole family.
Tower Bay – Lookout point
Swimming in Tower Bay has become very popular and all different levels meet here to either dip or to swim a distance. It has really nice views of Lambay Island and many people drive up to this popular viewing point to park and walk around the cliffs or watch the swimmers gliding through the water. Beside Tower Bay is Linders Caravan Park, where the band U2 once owned a caravan and recorded several songs for their album October. Over the rocks to the left of the bay you have a seal colony and many of the pups like to follow the swimmers, and look like they want to play. An episode of Father Ted was also filmed here in Portrane, “The Funfair”.
Carrs Mill was built around the 18th century, it once was three stories in height and is a fabulous monument overlooking Rogerstown Estuary, with its many wildlife. At the time milling was a very profitable business. It was only during lockdown, that I discovered this Mill and its panoramic surroundings. On one side is Carrs Mill housing estate and on the other side is Rogerstown estuary. Fingal are planning on building a scenic park around this area, which will also protect the wildlife but create a place for nature enthusiast to go to.
This picturesque pub was established in 1896 and has now teamed up with Dough Box serving take-away pizzas. I often go for a walk along the beach in Portrane and would see contented customers enjoying their coffees and ice-creams from Brooks pub. Beside Brooks is Pipers Fish and Chip shop, with famished walkers and swimmers forming a queue outside on a sunny day, waiting to purchase their salty bag of chips.
Donabate and Portrane have a lot to offer walkers, swimmers, cyclists and of course families.