0871 granny chat
However, with budget airlines now offering regular flights to Belfast and Derry, it's easy and cheap to get there from many parts of the UK.
If we stopped by the shore, she would shuffle down to take a sup of the sea water.My mother came from Carndonagh, a small market town in County Donegal, and my family stayed with my granny there for three weeks each year. Sadly, my granny and their granny are no longer with us, yet it was memories of them that had drawn me back.Inishowen is a wild and beautiful part of the world - bounded by sea on three sides and featuring Ireland's most northerly point at Malin Head - yet it remains largely undiscovered by tourists.The route is easy to dip in and out of, and takes in all the best of the scenery: the secluded Kinnagoe Bay where the Spanish Armada ship Trinidad Valenciera was discovered in the 1970s; the twisting and turning Knockameny Bends; and the Mamore Gap, a steep, narrow ascent sheltered by 700ft-high hills on both sides that affords great views of the Atlantic.To get a real sense of the area's history and, indeed, its remoteness, it's worth stopping off at the Doagh Island visitor centre near Ballyliffen.It's a wonderful place to just sit and look, and to tune into a splendid soundtrack that intersperses delicate birdsong with the distant sound of waves crashing.
Someone wrote in the visitor's book that they felt so laid back that they were "almost walking backwards".
As children we loved it: the endless, sandy, mainly deserted beaches of Culdaff and Five Fingers are a far cry from Clacton and Southend, the closest ones to our home in Essex.
As we lined up in September alongside pals who'd been to Spain, we were, inevitably, the palest in the class - there's a lot of weather in Donegal - but that was fine.
We generally had the best stories to tell, like the one about the bullock that went berserk in our granny's garden, or when my brother inadvertently bid for a heifer at the market.
My mother was happy there, delighted to go home and spend time with my granny.
My son went so far as to tell me that he was glad he wasn't getting "all that silly stuff in my brain".