➥enjoyed a varied and sumptuous

breakfast before heading off for the days adventures! My only gripe was the slowness of the wifi, and it sometimes took over an hour to download a few pictures onto photo bucket, before I could post them for all to see on the XKEC forum. After a good breakfast, and being told by the landlady “You can leave your car here if you like!”, my car and I were soon rumbling along the pot-holed roads in continuous rain to Glendalouch. Some of the holes in the road must have been refilled time and time again. Why don’t they just bite the bullet and resurface them?

Nearly every vehicle we met seemed to be a 4X4 towing a horse box or covered livestock trailer, and I wondered if there was some farm show going on.

Arriving at Glendalough I saw the first of many monks towers. The tower of Glendalough is considered by scholars to be the most finely constructed and beautiful tower in all Ireland. Situated in the cleft of a steep and thickly forested valley, the 30 meter tall tower is built of mica schist with a granite doorway.


Glendalough was an ancient gathering place of pre-Christian hermits and the first Christian monastery was established by St. Kevin who lived in the enchanted valley from 498-618 AD.

Nearby the tower is the healing cross of St. Kevin. A local legend states that if one encircles the cross with one’s arms and makes a wish concerned with healing, that wish will be fulfilled according to the depth of one’s love of God. I took a two hour walk round Glendalough and followed a trail passing several waterfalls. Lovely scenery even though it was raining and I got thoroughly soaked. I saw my first thrush for years! Next took the M1 and headed Northwoods. Torrential rain passing Dublin so I decided to continue up to the Newgrange prehistoric site. This dome like site was built before the pyramids or Stonehenge! I joined a group of umbrella carrying tourists and before entering the mound stood outside in the wind and rain for at least 15 minutes listening to the guide telling us about the building. Some of the


Game of Thrones: This spooky mile long area is known as “Dark Hedges”

huge stones were brought there from over 200 km away – before the wheel was invented!

Once inside and in the dry, an extremely

effective light display was projected onto the ancient stones to show how the sun’s rays enter the place once a year. After another comfortable stay in an excellent B+B at Stabannon, I found a green letter box in which to send off some post cards, then we drove over the border into Northern Ireland and passed Newry then Warren Point. The only signs that we had gone over the border were the National speed limit signs that changed from km to m.p.h. We passed a good many Irish flags fluttering by the side of the road as we entered Newry. I then took the coastal route round to the ferry terminal at Strangford. I’d hoped to see the well known Mourne Mountains on this part of the drive, but as it

was raining so heavily, and the cloud base was so low, I am unable to ascertain if these mountains still exist!

As the ferry sails every half hour we didn’t have to wait long, and before we knew it, we had reached the other side and were driving from Portaferry to Belfast. There is much to see in Belfast, but due to the wet weather, and the time available, I decided to make my only stop there at the Titanic Museum. In my opinion for anyone visiting Belfast, this museum is a ‘must’, and I thoroughly enjoyed walking around the various floors of the modern building marvelling at the various exhibits portraying the ‘life’ of the famous White Star liner from her construction, maiden voyage, tragic sinking, and discovery years later, on the sea bed.

Having a nautical background, I have to say that this was the most interesting museum I have ever visited.

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