Atlantic coast of Donegal in North-West Ireland
Named the best holiday cottage in Ireland (Sunday Times), this traditional Donegal cottage on the Wild Atlantic Way provides privacy and huge open views over the lake in front. Walk to the beach. Dogs welcome. WIFI included.
  • The Escape, Donegal
    Budget and cheapest cottages
  • The Escape, Donegal
  • The Escape, Donegal
  • The Escape, Donegal
    this is Glencolmcille, the nearest village (take the bikes and ride down). There's a wild beach, famous pubs, cafe, Irish language/ cultural centre, few shops, PO, and some of the mo
  • The Escape, Donegal
    The Escape is above the lough, the building to the right is just a sheep shed, not a house so you have complete privacy
  • The Escape, Donegal
    miles of local unspoilt coastline - walk to the sea!
  • The Escape, Donegal
  • The Escape, Donegal
    Sheep often in the garden, or shut them out if you close the gate
  • The Escape, Donegal
    The Escape
  • The Escape, Donegal
    Donegal castle is open to the public
  • The Escape, Donegal
    You have access down to the lough (lake) in front
  • The Escape, Donegal
    The local pubs are about the best in Ireland for traditional music - many many famous fiddlers from here.
  • The Escape, Donegal
    your drive in
  • The Escape, Donegal
  • The Escape, Donegal
  • The Escape, Donegal
  • The Escape, Donegal
  • The Escape, Donegal
    front door view
  • The Escape, Donegal
  • The Escape, Donegal
  • The Escape, Donegal
  • The Escape, Donegal
    main room
  • The Escape, Donegal
    your lough - take the canoe down!
  • The Escape, Donegal
  • The Escape, Donegal
    cottage from rear
  • The Escape, Donegal
    this is Port beach - walk down to it from the cottage - great for swimming and you virtually always have the whole place to yourself
  • The Escape, Donegal
  • The Escape, Donegal
    Sofabed in lounge is more comfortable than most beds. Also a double bedroom.
  • The Escape, Donegal
    Dogs are welcome - we just ask never on sofas or beds. An acre of enclosed garden
  • The Escape, Donegal
Arrival at:
Depart by:
7 nights from:
£328.00 (based on two staying)
7 nights up to:
£590.00 (based on two staying)
Pets welcome (more than 3 contact us upon booking)
Bed layout:
Master Double (ground floor), Sofabed (double) (ground floor)

  • Relaxing, secluded,cosy, everything that's on the brochure. My wife and I stayed 3 nights with our 2 dogs and I think its fair to say we loved it. Its got everything from long walks, various rural towns on offer and trips and tours. Gerard F, 18 October 2016
  • This is The most Divine, charming, authentic Irish cottage in all the land. Like going back in time, to a better time!! I had the most wonderful 2 days, only wish It could have been longer (say forever). HEAVEN. Mary was lovely in every way. I can't wait to go back!! Slan 7 September 2016
  • This is one of the best places I have stayed at for a holiday! There are so many great things it's hard to mention them all, but here is just a few: a lovely cottage, very clean, charmingly furnished and decorated, the fire places to make it even more cozy , a well equipped kitchen, a bathroom with a bath tub, sheep roaming in the garden, lovely house-keeper down the road for tips and trouble shooting, quietness , also no mobile phone reception (don't worry , there's WiFi), superb view across the lake and little valley, great nature for walking, hiking and biking (yes, bikes included), and a lot of info available on all the activities in the area . So all in all, the possibility to stay here has given us a lot of joy and the opportunity to relax and quickly forget about all the stress of day-to-day urban life behind. - Hans from Zurich 4 September 2016
  • This holiday exceeded all our expectations. We loved the house, directions were great (but follow them to the letter!) and Mary was absolutely lovely. So much to see, for every beach or walk or pub we went to, we had to miss twice as many. I think best of all was sitting outside our cottage enjoying the views and the silence. Liz H, 12 August 2016
  • No radio, no television, limited internet - GREAT!!!!!! Sit quietly by the front window in early dusk and with some luck you'll see badgers and deer. Morning seems to be the time to see Irish Hares near the house. Late in the year you may see a Golden Eagle being mobbed by ravens. We've been here twice (October and June) and seen them all. Stand outside the cottage, close your eyes and listen.... no trace of modern life. Skylarks, sheep and the quiet sighing of the wind. Or a howling gale if you're (un)lucky! The cottage is simple, comfortable and contains all you'll need for your holiday. Read the Guest Books - apart from being very funny, they also contain invaluable information on, for example, how to light a pair of recalcitrant fires. Don't forget the wine and books. One last tip - be sure to be carrying a First Aid kit. The cottage is around three miles to the nearest village and thirty-plus miles to the nearest hospital. If 'very remote' is not to your liking then don't book this cottage; otherwise grab it with both hands. Dai G, 25 June 2016
  • The cottage is even better than it looks in the pics. Just perfect for relaxing and doing nothing. Mary the housekeeper is a lovely sweet lady who will look after you. 10/10. Niall 11 May 2016
  • Bliss just the noise of the wind passing by on its way up the valley a lovely location to relax unwind and be one with nature will return again for longer next time would recommend this location to anyone who wants the quite of no traffic just pure peace and quite Tony D, 5 May 2016
  • Location, location, location! Homely, peaceful, snug and chilling. A lovely way to unwind. Thank you. M wilkinson , 2 May 2016
  • We really enjoyed our weekend break to the escape. We had a few problems finding the cottage so we asked the lovely girl in the village shop and she had no problem directing us there. It was the ideal place to just get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Great for our pet Labrador as there were no restrictions as to where he could and couldn't go in the cottage. He made himself at home in no time although we couldn't let him loose in the garden as the sheep are able to climb the wall and get in. Mary the housekeeper is a lovely lady and made sure that we had everything we needed to make us comfortable. There was even an electric blanket and hot water bottle. There are lovely mountain views but the nearest beach was in Glencolumbkille about 7miles away. Make sure and bring all you need as the nearest shop is a bit of a drive away. A microwave oven would have come in handy but we managed without it. Would definitely return. Just a lovely holiday to go back in time when doing nothing wasn't boring just living life the way it should be with no worry or stress. Gladys R, 25 April 2016
  • A true get-away, this cottage is beautifully remote and surrounded by great scenery. Loved having sheep meander through the garden (this is optional!) and having real fires. Mary made us feel very welcome and was very helpful throughout our stay. Make sure you stock up on food en route, to minimise travel on the long and bumpy road to the cottage! A fun and quirky place to stay. Angie & Matt 10 April 2016
  • 10/10 for getting away from it all. Escape - it does exactly what it says on the tin! Sarah T, 14 March 2016
  • This cottage break was just what we needed. As we both have hectic working lives, myself as a mental health nurse and my partner as a joiner, it was the perfect escape away from everything. We had our 2 dogs with us and there were deserted beaches for them to run freely on 5 miles either side of the cottage. Perfect. Everything you could need in the cottage (apart from a television for the dark evenings ) and housekeeper Mary was always welcoming and happy to see us. Highly recommended ☆☆☆☆☆ Joyce W, 9 March 2016
  • 7th 13th November.. wow what an amazing place we absolutely loved it, beautiful scenery and walks, a real holiday from the busy lives we lead. Just amazing highly recommendable. Oh and mary the housekeeper was brilliant very welcoming and a wealth of knowledge be sure to call and say hello. All round first class experience was enjoyed at this lovely cottage!!!!!!!” Liam, Craigavon, United Kingdom 16 November 2015
  • Our host, Greg gave clear instructions to this remote paradise. However, we were late and dusk was setting in so a local lad kindly drove with us into the lane. We encountered that hospitality among neighbours and strangers alike. The next morning we met Mary who looks after the cottage and lives down the road bit. A warmer, kinder lady you'll never meet. We appreciate the effort that has gone into the sensitive conservation of the historic cottage and the lovely antiques that Greg has furnished it with, create a unique comfortable ambiance. The cottage, while privately situated is within easy driving of many attractions including Europe's highest cliffs at Slieve League. This is a great place for hikers as well.” Ron, UK 29 September 2015
  • This little house is lovely, inside and out. It had everything we needed for a great holiday - and was thankfully provided with a good set of maps and loads of information about the local area. We really enjoyed having the use of the bikes, that was a really entertaining ride down to Port, and a leisurely walk back..We had loads of great trips out and quite a bit of staying in lighting the fire and doing nothing in particular. We are missing Mary, and Croaghacullion, already. Alice pyper , 19 September 2015
  • “Wer Ruhe sucht, ist hier goldrichtig. Wir waren 2 Wochen in Irland unterwegs und diese Region von Donegal hat uns am allerbesten gefallen. Unglaubliche Strände, einsam oder sehr dünn besucht selbst in der Hauptsaison, Natur und Staunen pur. Gregs Cottage ist sehr stilvoll hergerichtet - ein echtes Erlebnis, den alten Torfofen anzufeuern. Das Wetter war ziemlich widerspenstig und wenn es draussen kalt und feucht ist, gibt es auch im Cottage (trotz Zentralheizung, zeitgesteuert) frische Momente. Aber es gibt eine Heizdecke im Bett und ein guter Whiskey tut es auch. Wir wären gern noch länger geblieben! Achtung: WLAN ist nur theoretisch vorhanden. Man kann keine großen Datenmengen herunterladen, Musik hören oder Bewegtbild sehen, aber für simple Mailkommunikation reicht es.” Gunter, Berlin 25 August 2015
  • We loved our getaway to west Donegal, the house was just what we wanted, beautifully furnished, isolated and with a peat fire. Jamie M, 9 August 2015
  • “The cottage is the perfect place to get away from it all! It is quite remote, but a good base for visiting the area. The cottage was warm and quiet and we both slept very well even through a storm. Beware the low doorways if you are tall. Mary is very friendly and not far away if you need anything. Communication with owner was prompt and helpful. ” Judith from Adelaide, Australia 8 August 2015
  • This place really is outstanding. The most remote and idyllic location and a beautifully renovated cottage. Full of charm and character and with a wonderfully comfortable bed. Mary made us so welcome and was helpful with local information. We loved exploring the area and all it had to offer. Worth bringing something to play DVDs on if you fancied curling up in front of a peat fire with a good film (there is a small selection and good selection of books. though. We would love to come back someday... Many thanks. Caroline from Belfast 6 August 2015
  • “We loved staying at Croughacullion, very peaceful, the environments were very nice and the cottage was absolutely lovely!” Ellen from Mechelen, Belgium 2 August 2015
  • 'After spending three weeks at this magical and warm place we are definitely sure - this is the best vacation we ever had. We came here with the expectation to reduce speed and enjoy togetherness - and we found it at Croaghacullion. We haven't been bored once, and after 3 weeks we want to stay longer still and explore more of this stunning landscape, people, scenery...' Sabine & family from Austria 26 July 2015
  • “The cottage met all our expectations - it was quirky, welcoming, comfortable and peaceful. Owner's directions are super accurate - ignore them at your peril. Owner was fantastic at managing the booking process and Mary the housekeeper is a delight. The cottage is in an outstanding area of beauty and tranquility. An added bonus was UTT's book on Donegal Cottages which provided expertly researched insights into the architecture and social history of the cottage and vernacular architecture. We walked our Fox Terrier Alfie on some of the beautiful beaches in the world and curled up in front of the peat burning stove totally relaxed at the end of each day. Bliss. ” Hazel 5 July 2015
  • “This was the highlight of our trip. Utterly gorgeous. Mary, the housekeeper, is a treasure. We walked the road to Port, twice. Just can't say enough about the cottage and location.” Victoria from Minneapolis 30 June 2015
  • This was everything that I had hoped for - including the unexpected bonus of perfect weather. Thank you Greg - and Mrs Molloy! Sue thomas , 26 June 2015
  • “We absolutely loved staying at Greg's cottage! It was in the perfect setting and the landscape was breathtaking. We enjoyed making breakfast each day and looking outside at the sheep and green hills. The cottage is very clean and everything worked-heat, shower etc, but we unfortunately didn't get a chance to light the wood burning stove. It's a short and lovely drive to Glencolumbkille where there are a couple of breathtaking beaches and idyllic landscapes. And 20-25 minutes to Ardara where we ate and had a few pints at Nancy's (great veggie options). The neighbor Mary Molloy was such a sweetheart. We really enjoyed chatting with her and she helped us with directions! Greg was great about getting back to us within in a few minutes each time we had questions. There's a fantastic guestbook that he put together full of things to check out and local restaurants. It was really helpful. Make sure to check out Eddie Doherty's shop in Ardara for his handmade blankets, scarves, and jackets. Meghera Beach and Silver Strand beach and sunsets at Port are must sees! ” Lauren from New York 22 June 2015
  • “It really is as described. It's remote with fantastic views, comfortable cottage and with wifi! Great place to clear the head. Don't forget lots of tea bags and whiskey. It is conducive to both. A shame to read about the abandoned cottages like this one. You are doing great work for the cause. Thanks - glad we came!” Rachel from Rathgar 18 June 2015
  • 'We have enjoyed our stay in this little piece of paradise very much. I had fantasy about spending time in an Irish cottage (my friend called this a 'Ryan's Daughter' moment) and the last few days have been a dream come true! We enjoyed every minute. We toured the area and loved the scenery, the people and the wonderful atmosphere.' Sandra & Terry from Sydney, Nova Scotia 13 June 2015
  • 'Beautiful area! Enjoyed the scenery and fresh air. Will tell all of my aspiring writer friends that I have found the Mecca for poets! Thanks again for sharing your cottage!' Joe & Diana (California) 4 June 2015
  • “I can close my eyes and picture exactly what it felt like to stand with my forearms resting on the half door, looking out over the hills, the sheep, the lake. Romantic, lovely and charming in every way. All of the little details of the cottage are just right. Stayed comfortably warm even when the wind and rain were raging outside, and it was so cozy to sit by the turf fire and thumb through one of the many interesting books on Ireland or take in a movie from the DVD collection. Mary obviously takes great care with the cottage between guests - the place is spotless. Enjoyed walking around the property (you need boots) and finding scenic drives around the area - the maps at the house were very helpful to find a good route home after exploring. Didn't spend much time in the surrounding villages, but everyone I met was very friendly and welcoming to a solo traveler. Don't miss the drive or walk to Port if you go - so close by and great/interesting sea view. And do make sure you stop and meet Mary, I was nervous about just dropping by her bungalow but she makes you feel so welcome and is a pleasure to chat with. Absolutely recommend this place to anyone looking for a charming cottage in a rural location. Thanks to Greg for allowing people to come and experience a stay here!” Holly Phelps, USA 28 May 2015
  • 'I had no idea there were places like this in Ireland. Ireland is small and yet here you can easily walk into huge open landscapes and not see any evidence of people. It is truly amazing, I felt like I was entering scenes from Lord of the Rings. Who needs to go to New Zealand when we have this beauty in Europe.' Karolina from Poznan, Poland 16 May 2015
  • 'Great place for incredible scenery and solitude. Mary the manager is a delight, the weather was perfect and we made lots of four legged friends during our stay. The cottage was clean, cozy and had WiFi!! Was great to leave it all behind for a few days...thanks for a well needed rest!' Joe 8 May 2015
  • "Perfect, charming, reasonably priced getaway in the beautiful North-West of Ireland. Clearly lots of love went into setting this up for guests. It really is the best Irish cottage :) with lots of authentic little touches. My mom came for a last minute visit and we went to explore all the sights of Donegal and this cabin provided the icing on the cake. It had all the amenities including wifi [which, believe me, is rare in this isolated area] plus a lot of nice personal touches and decorations to give an authentic Irish feel. Best of all for me was the location - secluded but well within driving distance to the many sights of Donegal. It's the fairytale Ireland we learn about in Canada, complete with cute little lambs everywhere and turf for the fireplace. The guest book is bar none the best/most entertaining I've ever seen and they provide a nice binder with maps and information on all the local sights. The owner responded quickly especially given the extremely last minute booking and was helpful with directions. The kitchen had everything you need and the beds were comfortable. We cooked all our meals there for picnics to help with the budget. Bring food though as the larger stores are further away, treat it a bit like camping and bring what you need to eat and drink besides water. Also a good road atlas! There's lots of little treats for guests to use like many language, cooking, and guide books, and even some wellies. I was looking for something reasonably priced that had wifi and two bedrooms in a quaint nature setting and I got it all in this place plus a few unexpected niceties like Mary the caretaker, the lambs, and the guestbooks. Saw some real sheep herding, dipped my feet into the wildAtlantic, awoke to pristine nature and a clean, well appointed cabin. It is as advertised, we'll definitely be back [maybe for our honeymoon :)]. My best experience so far in Ireland!" Jessica from Canada 23 April 2015
  • The cottage surpassed my expectations in every way. Usually a description never quite delivers. It was truly the most amazing introduction to Under the Thatch. It was like stepping back in time you could feel the generations that had lived there, felt part of the history for a few days (loved the pictures on the wall especially the wedding photo felt like the family had just gone away for the weekend and let the house to us) Greg's sympathetic restoration seamlessly blends the original with modern comforts. Clarity of instructions and simplicity (one switch heating system) meant we settled in so quickly and wasted no time. I loved the visitor's book and the fact that Greg adds to it with useful advice and interesting story of the restoration. The location and scenery took my breath away. I just didn't want to leave. Greg's directions were so accurate. As we had a young dog who had never seen sheep before we appreciated the secure garden for him to play in. There was absolutely nothing I could find fault with. The good internet access blew my mind to be able to send photos to my family from day one was great. It was lovely to meet Mary the housekeeper just down the road and know she was nearby if we needed anything. Well done Greg in creating such a wonderful truly unique opportunity for people to experience first hand how Donegal. Kind regards Sharon Karen and Milo 5 April 2015
  • What a fantastic experience. We arrived in the rain and wind and stayed all through some of the worst storms Ireland has seen this year and to be honest, it only got more beautiful. You can see why these cottages are designed this way. Instructions to get there were great, place was really special and clean and comfortable, and the nice bottle of Redbreast 15 that we brought was the icing on the lime washed cake. Port, Slieve League and pretty much every part of Donegal blew our minds away, literally. Thanks for such a great restoration project and we hope to be back. - Colin from Dublin 3 April 2015
  • 'Absolutely beautiful cottage in an secluded romantic setting. Very well equipped and comfortable (warm!) accommodation. The housekeeper down the lane is lovely and helpful and the host very agreeable - we added an extra night with no hassle at all. Great for a cosy winter getaway. 5*' Shaw 22 February 2015
  • "WOW! What an amazing place to stay. Although I am from Ireland this really opened my eyes to how beautiful our country really is. We had a great time, sitting by the fire, cooking nice dinners, taking in the most beautiful scenery in Ireland. A great weekend away.. would love to come back in the summer on the to experience it again. " Dean from Dublin 2 February 2015
  • "Wow! What an incredible place! We've been in constant awe at the beauty of the majestic landscape around here. At times we were reminded of our travels through Iceland, the feeling of being on the edge of the world, in the midst of what seems like a lunar landscape. Our puppy has adored the huge, open sandy beaches, running wild for the first time." Keri, Paul & young Joe 30 June 2014
  • "Absolutely love the cottage, decor fab, wonderfully equipped and a great place to chill out! Walk down to Port beach and watch the seals, buy the 'Guinness Cake' down at Sheila's café'll soon be well rested." D & C 30 June 2014
  • "Absolutely love the cottage, decor fab, wonderfully equipped and a great place to chill out! Walk down to Port beach and watch the seals, buy the 'Guinness Cake' down at Sheila's café'll soon be well rested." D & C 30 June 2014
  • "A lovely cottage, we've had a fab. time and caught lots of mackerel! The beaches here were the highlight of the week - beautiful and breathtaking. Diolch yn fawr." Bethan, Huw & baby Megan 30 June 2014
  • "Amazing few days, 5 nights not enough! The scenery here is stunning, and the beach (Maghera) is the most beautiful we have ever seen. Enjoy the tranquility and peace!' Michele & Nick 30 June 2014
  • "Loved the cottage, really comfortable, and the local people so nice. The sea was surprisingly warm and the beaches won over my husband (from France!). The cottage seemed so much part of the local community - the nicest housekeeper and we got invited into the pub for some fiddle playing by people we met down the beach. We hope to be back next year!" Moira and Patrick 30 June 2014



Named in the Sunday Times (Travel) as one of 'Top 20 Places for the Summer in UK or Ireland'. Watch this one minute video filmed very near the cottage to understand why we think this is one of the most amazing places in ireland/the world. Or see the village here. This is the perfect cottage for anyone wanting to explore the Wild Atlantic Way.

The Escape is a traditional Donegal coastal cottage that enjoys a remarkable secluded position overlooking Lougheraherk (lake) in this, the most traditional and picturesque part of Ireland, at Glencolmcille. You'll find more 'Blue Flag' beaches here than in any other part of the country. The cottage sits in the heart of the Irish-speaking Gaeltacht in what is probably the most traditional area of Ireland. You can walk down to the beach from the cottage and you're unlikely to see another tourist, maybe just a lobster fisherman or one of the friendly, farmer neighbours. If you enjoy climbing you're staying in he nearest cottage to this secluded bay. See more photos of this Donegal cottage. Just sitting on the bench in front can be lovely - you can usually hear the waves from the other side of the mountain.

Stay here to discover one of the most remarkable and beautiful landscapes in Ireland - we doubt you'll ever find better beaches than can be found locally, friendlier people, or such a sense of wilderness. These photos show the walk down to Port beach from the cottage, which feels like the very edge of Europe (9 times out of 10 you'll have the whole bay to yourself), or sit at home and enjoy the views over 'your' lough (lake). 

If you are lucky you'll see the golden eagles that nest locally or wild deer that roam the mountain around the cottage. The land about the cottage is preserved as a European Special Area of Conservation and you have free access to roam hundreds of acres of land. In this area you'll still see farmers thatching hay-ricks and traditional Donegal cottages, lobster-fishing from traditional boats, and you'll hear genuine (not touristey!) local music played live almost every night of the week in the local pubs. It's the kind of Ireland that the touristic areas lost decades ago. These photos show what Donegal is like in summer or this tourist video amuses. These guest photographs give you a feel for what a holiday is like at The Escape including views on the walk down to the beach.

Although the cottage is private, and secluded, within a 15 minute drive you have a choice of two villages with great pubs, a Folk Village museum, shops, craft-galleries and cafe/restaurants. The cottage is one of a number of mostly traditional properties dotted around the lake, and Mary the housekeeper will surely invite you in for tea at her farm some 200 yards down the valley.

Considering a two-centre holiday? You may want to stay at one of our other Irish cottages en-route - thatched Geaglum and eco-conversion An Teach Eile. Or if driving over from UK we have a number of beautiful properties near to Fishguard and Holyhead in Wales.

In Detail

The cottage is centrally heated throughout, and has Wi-Fi internet. Every window enjoys mountain or lake views.

  • Traditional Kitchen - this, the main room has a wood/turf burner, dining table and antique furnishings
  • Living room- this room has a modern wood/turf burner, new very comfortable sofa-bed
  • Bedroom - with double bed, sofa with drop down arm (suitable for a toddler - bring own bedding)  & writing desk with mountain view
  • Kitchen - the small, modern kitchen has a cooker & hob, fridge (small freezer compartment), kettle, toaster, microwave and Italian coffee machine (bring ground coffee).
  • Bathroom - with shower over bath, basic hairdryer


  • thatched cowshed with storage if you're going to bring mountain bikes (ideal area for bikes), washing machine
  • about 3/4 acre of enclosed garden, access to open landscape (dogs on lead as sheep around)


  • renovation brought cottage back into fulltime use
  • cement renders replaced with breathable lime/ limewashes
  • natural paints and pigments used
  • low energy lighting
  • efficient modern boiler
  • modern windows replaced with tradionally-made sashes
  • let for holidays when not in fulltime use as main home

Local Area


Travel Info

You can easily fly by lowcost carrier but we prefer the greener (and nicer) route by ferry with your own car. Ireland is such an amazing country, and you'll find so much to do and see 'en route'.

Note Aer Lingus often have deals as cheap as Ryanair/ Easyjet and fly to 15 UK airports

Fly to:

Sail with either Stenaline or Irish Ferries to:

  • Belfast via Liverpool/ Stranraer (3 hr. away)
  • Larne via Fleetwood (3 hr. 20 mins.)
  • Dublin via Holyhead/ Douglas (4 hr. 30 min.)
  • Dun Laoghaire via Holyhead (4 hr. 35 mins.)
  • Rosslare via Fishguard/ Pembroke Dock (6 hr.)
    (Tip - ferries cheapest Mon>Thu)

Booking notes

Approached by a fairly bumpy council-maintained lane which is suitable for all but the lowest vehicles. Wi-Fi internet is provided free but is not suitable for substantial downloads (eg films or TV). Although we anticipate that internet will always be available we cannot guarantee this.

Not available
Special offer

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