And Sho, as 2022 comes to a close it is safe to say it has been a good year for coastal rock climbing in Donegal. In general, an unusual summer being what my gran would have called a north-wind summer. This meant that sea conditions were a little bit bumpier than the previous few summers and any North West to North East facing coast took a little more planning and waiting than normal. Most of the new routes, new crags and general developments have occurred on the uninhabited islands of Iompainn, Tor Uí Arragáin, Inis Oirthir agus Na hOileain. The bulk of the developments have been on Uaigh with many teams out to play
This is the first of three new venues to be added to the online guide this year. Cionn Caslach was discovered and mainly developed by Derek Aherne. There is an excellent selection of routes at this new venue with most of them in the lower grades and off course, on excellent rock.
Cionn Caslach climbing in Cuan Rua
The other two new locations that have been added to the online guidebook this year are Mám an Leaca and Cró Bheithe. Both of these two locations are quite small with a reasonably high north-facing elevation. these are two of the locations developed by Nigel "Yorkie" Robertson over the last five years. All the routes were climbed as free solos with minimal to no pre-practice, I've been to both locations to repeat the routes, but alas very very dry conditions are required to find dry rock.
There have been a few developments on Owey Island this year with a good number of teams getting out to the island to play. Sile Daly and David Craig have continued to develop Selkie Wall and Buttress with a growing selection of three-starred extremes in this area of immaculate rock. Vicki Hau and Tom Adams added "Bláth Fiáin E3/4 6a" to the far right side of this wall. Whilst on the island Tom and Vicki added a couple of routes to the Flutted Zawn area.
On the sea stack Tor an Mhadadh Uisce, the line I tried to climb in the Owey-based film Feather in the West finally got climbed. Having made a couple of further attempts at the line over the last two years, I had to call in the steely-fingered Darren Ryan and Lisa Murdiff, "Vanquish the Demon E2 6a," was the result. Though XS 6a may be a more realistic grade. :-) Taking advantage of the good weather Lisa led "I’ll Take It VS 4c 20m *," which takes the high and deep corner groove in the Colossus Wall area.
On the Reaper Wall area Stephen and Lorrie MaGuire climbed "No Time to Recoil V. Diff 30m," this takes the obvious ramp line through atmospheric terrain.
Síle Daly and David Craig on Selkie Buttress
Darren Ryan and Lisa Murdiff on Tor an Mhadadh Uisce
On Iompainn three new lines were climbed around The Arch area on the seaward face. The first two were climbed on either side of the arch with "Trasna an Bhalla," being the better line and a little stiff maybe for the grade. Both these were climbed with Fiona Fhionnlaoich. The following month Lisa Murdiff climbed the steep and strenuous corner crack immediately to the right of the arch to give "Aici E2 5c **."
The Arch area of Iompainn
Fiona Fhionnlaoich on Trasna an Bhalla
A visit to Inis Oirthir from Derek Aherne and the team resulted in a collection of new routes up to E1 on both sides of the narrow zawn below the Lightbuoy.
A late summer visit to Tor Uí Arragáin with Lisa Murdiff and six new lines on a new wall. Tor Uí Arragáin is a rock island between Gola and Iompainn, its seaward faces have a good selection of routes on the same immaculate Granite as Gola Island.
Between Cruit Island and Uaigh lives an archipelago of perfect granite islands called Na hOileáin. These islands provide both trad-led and deep-water solo lines.
First up are Goose Fredrikson and Kate Boyle who climbed "Bealach Gé VS 5a," which takes the face and aréte to the left of "The Steps." Lisa Murdiff climbed perhaps the last independent deep water solo line on the islands. "The only way is up E1 5a **" climbs the steep main face starting as for “Céim Scoir ar Dheis.”
Lisa Murdiff playing on Na hOileáin
At the long-established venue of Málainn Bhig in the far south-West of the county, Warren Poots and team have been busy developing the southern end of this crag. So far, they have climbed 22 new routes in many different new and established crags with an update of this area pdf in process.
An anomaly this year to the general nautical theme of the development in the county was Patrick and Adam Tinney's new route "The Wonderful Wizard of Aus HVS 5a" high up in the Rafiki area of the Poisoned Glen.
Gola Island climbing in the twin zawn area
Climbing on Gola