November 2, 2016

2849 IRELAND (Ulster) - A traditional thatched cottage in Ballyness Bay


Located in the province of Ulster, County Donegal shares a small border with only one other county in the Republic of Ireland, the rest being shared with three counties of Northern Ireland. This geographic isolation from the rest of the Republic has led to Donegal people maintaining a distinct cultural identity. It was one of the worst affected parts of Ulster during the Great Famine of the late 1840s, many areas becoming permanently depopulated. On the other hand, the Partition of Ireland cut the county off from the city of Derry, which had acted for centuries as the county's main port, transport hub and financial centre.

Products of centuries of history and tradition, the Irish thatched cottages, durable and environmentally friendly, are still common in the county. Thatch remained the only roofing material available to the bulk of the population in the countryside, in many towns and villages, until the late 1800s. Gradually, thatch became a mark of poverty, and the number of thatched properties gradually declined, as did the number of professional thatchers.    

County Donegal has a long and deeply indented coastline, strewn with numerous bays and loughs, and its soil is not fertile. About 35% of the land is in pasture, and cattle, sheep, and poultry are raised extensively. The thatched cottage from the postcard is located in such a bay, Ballyness Bay, not far from Falcarragh, a small  Gaeltacht town and townland with only about 2,200 inhabitants. In the background can be seen Dooey Sand Dunes.

About the stamps
The first two stamps are part of the definitive series entitled Wild Flowers of Ireland, about which I wrote here.

The last stamp, designed by Steve Simpson, was issued on October 22, 2015 to mark the 1,400th anniversary of the death of St Columban. It features an image of St. Columban (Columbanus), taken from a stained glass window in Mount St Joseph's Abbey, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary. Columbanus (543-615) was an Irish missionary notable for founding a number of monasteries from around 590 in the Frankish and Lombard kingdoms,

County Donegal - Wikipedia
Thatching - Wikipedia
The magic of Ireland’s thatched cottages - Irish Central 

Sender: Arnold / Paulino (postcrossing) US-4303761
Sent from Dublin (Leinster / Laighin), on 19.10.2016
Photo: Liam Blake

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