Killybegs Harbour , County Donegal

Ireland being an island , fish is an important part of the staple diet of the people.

In times of scarcity and even famine , coastal dwellers have often been preserved by the abundant harvest of the sea.

According to an old Irish saying , ‘though every possession may falter , fishing will prosper’.

Why not visit Killybegs Harbour on your tours of Ireland and have a look at a real working harbour……its a hidden gem.

Given the unpredictability of the sea , however , misfortune and tragedy are never far away from the life of the Irish fisherman , especially along the wild Atlantic coast.

In folklore , the sea is compared to a great and powerful being which must have its will. A person being saved from drowning was a cause for joy and celebration , but the folk were wont to grow more cautious thereafter , as the vengeful sea might demand a substitute victim.

There are special beliefs , too , concerning the catch. If a fox is seen by a fisherman when going down to their boats , they take this as a sign that no fish are to be had that day. The fox , with its russet coat , is too much a symbol of the land and is thus inappropriate to the watery surroundings. Neither the fox nor a red-haired woman should be mentioned in a fishing-boat , nor should – for some reason – a priest be spoken of.

The blessing of a priest at the start of the fishing season is , however , highly valued.

In manifold ways of its own , the sea compensates , and few sights are more satisfying than that of the fishing fleet laden with silver herrings returning at evening under a slanting sun.

Killybegs (Na Cealla Beaga – ‘the small churches’) is one of the leading fishing ports in contemporary Ireland. Its fishermen are to the fore in efforts to protect this age-old Irish industry in the face of quotas and falling fish-stock.

County Donegal is a must see attraction and Killybegs is worth a visit on your Ireland tours.

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