The Secret of Trá na Rosann


Here you can read the story of Roberta, an Italian girl who comes to Trá na Rosann Hostel every year to volunteer. She will tell you how she fell in love with the county Donegal and how she found home in Trá Na Rosann Hostel. Read, and just wander off for a little bit…

I first discovered Trá na Rosann through a Donegal girl named Fiona. I had been coming to Ireland several times a year since the late ‘80s. I shared a house in Dublin with Fiona. She was a strong and determined girl and she assured me that Donegal was the best place in the world. I didn’t even know where it was so she brought me there in 1989.The first thing I noticed were the summer light and the sky. It is different up there!

Aurora Borealis at Trá na Rossan
Aurora Borealis at Trá na Rossan

I fell in love with the place, the winding roads, the beaches, the rundown cottages, the accent of the people. Since then I kept going back: on the bike, with rented cars, with friends, on buses, with family, on my own. There were no hidden places for me in County Donegal. I wanted to explore every small boreen (the narrow roads), every lake, pub, community centre, shop and hostel.

Donegal Bay

During one of these journeys I decided to stay at Trá Na Rosann Hostel. I had already come across the place but never stayed there. I was welcomed by two lovely ladies called Patsy and Mary who were volunteering as managers. There were cakes, music, tea and the fire, which I loved since then and have come to understand as being a special feature of the hostel.

I had this idea that I would have liked to try and become a volunteer manager as well. I know the area very well and I thought I could do a good job. They told me how to enquire to be a volunteer so I first contacted An Óige Head Office, got some nice emails and then Frank took me on board.

I have been acting as a Manager in Trá na Rosann since 2012 and I love everything about it! Even when I could not change the gas tank or when it was so windy that I could not stand outside. I feel totally myself there and hope to be useful to the people. They turn up at any time and from all over the world. They are usually amazing. Trá Na Rosann Hostel is a “state of mind” and people keep coming back, some even bring their grandchildren.

People who stay in Trá na Rosann rarely write reviews on TripAdvisor. They do not spread the word too much as it would maybe be a different place if crowded. Nevertheless sometimes, the house is full. The fire is always warm and welcoming and there may be singing going on. With no internet connection or TV, people from totally different backgrounds can talk and share stories while playing cards, or have a look at the map, talk about the meaning of life or the weather. Maybe those evenings by the fire and the candle lights will be the ones they bring back home from Ireland, making them think about it as “the land of heart’s desire”.

If you have the feeling you have to go there, like right now, after reading Roberta’s story,.. Click here to find more information about Trá na Rosann Hostel.

Roberta, Italy 2015

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