In the 1840s, the Andrew Nugent set sail from Sligo carrying butter, eggs, bacon, and sugar to England. In particularly stormy weather, the ship was tossed about in the torrid waters of the Atlantic and stranded on a rugged promontory. The ever watchful men of Aran Island witnessed the shipwreck and rowed out to help. They boarded the fateful ship and agreed to stay on board until morning when others from the island would come to their aid. But during the night, a violent storm sank the mighty ship. All aboard were lost to the sea.
At daybreak, another group from Aran rowed out to the wreckage, saw the disaster, and found one particularly jagged rock, close to the shores of Dungloe, covered with butter. From that day, the craggy rock has borne the name Butter Rock.
The Butter Rock Restaurant serves as a local gathering place for those who want a cup of hot tea, a delectable slice of homemade apple pie, a lunch of freshly breaded haddock, or a bit of friendly conversation with owner and chef, Ann Boyle and her industrious helper, Kathleen.
With a no-frills country cottage look, Butter Rock is comfortable, cozy, and loaded with local charm. Visitors are greeted with a warm hello and a glass display counter filled with the day's homemade goodies: lemon cheesecake, mandarin gateaux, chocolate fudge cake, and muffins of every sort.
Chef Ann Boyle says that Butter Rock is famous for two things: fresh haddock and homemade éclairs. But with a full menu of daily specials, an a la carte of a variety of soups, salads, and sandwiches, it is not easy to decide which tasty delight is best.
Butter Rock serves generous portions of food and ample portions of friendly conversation. Pull up a chair. Sit a spell. You'll be glad you did.
Sample menu and prices:
Starters €3.75 Haddock €9.25
Soups, salads €3.75f Desserts €4.75
Lunch specials €8.95 Bottle of house wine €10
Hours: Monday thru Saturday 10:00-6:00/ Sunday 11:00-5:00
How to get there:
From Dublin: 3 hours, take N3 and A509 to Enniskillen. Then A46 to Belleek (scenic route) then N3 to Ballyshannon where it joins N15. Most direct route is N4 to Sligo Town, N15 to Donegal Town, N56 to Dungloe.
From Belfast, A6 to Derry, N13 to Letterkenney, R250 to Fintown, R252 to Dungloe.
Butter Rock Restaurant
Dungloe, Co. Donegal
T: 074 956 1738
Written by Joy Davis - Summer of Travel 2007