Smuggler’s Creek Inn
Smuggler’s Creek Inn, nestling on the cliffs overlooking Donegal Bay and the Blue Stack Mountains in South Donegal, dates back to the early 1900.
If you travel from Ballyshannon, one of the oldest settlements in Ireland, you take the coastal route to Rossnowlagh, in the Irish language, Ros Neamhlach, meaning “heavenly headland” for 6 km, and then branch onto Cliff Road. You will feel the sea mist on your face as you travel along the cliff to the Inn where panoramic views of the wild Atlantic await you.
In the olden days of history, the scattered village of Rossnowlagh has a population of about 50 people in the winter, swelling to about 1000 in the summer. According to local folklore, the Smuggling trade flourished in Rossnowlagh in years gone by. Rumour has it that a notorious Sea Captain had a cottage on the Shores of Durnesh Lake, a tribal water which has access to the Sea. This cottage can still be seen marked on old maps. He was a smuggler and pirate, who roamed the seas with his nefarious cut-throat crew. When tides were stormy, they used the Creek, below the Inn, to land their vessel and they hauled their booty and their contraband up the old hidden path, hence the name “Smuggler’s Creek”.
Smugglers Creek Inn was originally built by the MacLaine family back in 1907. It was known as the Strand View Hotel. It proved to be the one place in Coolmore which made a considerable contribution to the tourist industry.
At the time it was built, Mr. MacLaine was a sergeant in the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC). He later became a head constable so the running of the hotel was in the hands of Mrs. MacLaine. She was a very capable woman and did a good job of running the hotel and keeping visitors. Many of her visitors returned year after year, so it looked as though they were well satisfied with their treatment in the Strand View. The name was no misnomer. It had a magnificent view of the Strand and the bay.
In 1991, it was bought by Conor Britton from Rossnowlagh. Major renovations were undertaken. The Inn known as Smugglers Creek opened its doors at Easter 1992 and has gone from strength to strength, winning many awards for its food, drink & craic.
In the depths of the economic downturn in 2009, Emily Browne, a Hong Kong Chinese business woman saw the potential of Smugglers Creek Inn and took the brave step of buying it from Conor and continued to run it as a successful bar and restaurant with accommodation. In 2014, a new extension was built and opened for business around Easter. The windows are so large in the new Conservatory Restaurant that nearly every table has a view, maximizing the true potential of the Inn.
A unique offering for the region, Smugglers Creek Inn is a vibrant bar and restaurant where all the locals get together and have some craic. It opens every day from May to September and weekends throughout the winter serving delicious food and refreshing drinks.
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