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Ireland 2018 - Back into Ulster then the West Coast

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Back into Ulster then the West Coast

We spent an enjoyable morning visiting the Ulster American Folk Park, situated between Newtownstewart and Omagh in the county of Fermanagh and Omagh. There is a modern visitor centre with interesting displays recording the emigration of millions of Irish people to North America over the centuries, and the grounds are split into two sections. Firstly reconstructed traditional Irish buildings including a forge with guides demonstrating various crafts, then after passing along a street of typical Irish shops you reach the dockside and a full-sized sailing ship from the early nineteenth century. Passing through the cramped deck you emerge into a street of American shops including a general store and then farm dwellings and houses many built from logs and furnished with traditional interiors.

Ulster American Folk Park US covered wagon
American covered wagon

Folk Park emigrants sailing ship
Emigrants ship
Folk Park Irish cottage
traditional Irish cottage

Folk Park American street
American Street
Irish shops
Irish shops

Folk Park log cabin
Log cabin

After a detour around Omagh looking for a non existing LPG stockist we drove down to Enniskillen, finding a filling station selling autogas (but not signposted) on the main road. As it was late afternoon with busy roads,
we drove a couple of miles to the Riverside Farm motorhome site situated at a small marina. The next morning we drove into the town centre parking at a supermarket (unusually with no time limits) and walked around the main shopping streets and castle and riverside park. In the afternoon we drove south to Florence Court, a National Trust house with extensive gardens and woodland trails. The road map showed a picnic site on the banks of Upper Lough Erne at Knockninney Quay which we reached down some narrow lanes to find a small parking area with No Overnight Parking signs so we returned to the Riverside Farm site for a second night.

Heading west we took a detour to the Navar Forest Scenic Drive and the Magho Cliffs overlooking the massive expanse of Lower Lough Erne, the only place where we were attacked by midges, and drove along the coast road to the small resort of Mullaghmore. A walk around the grassy headland led us to a plain memorial to the many who lost their lives during the troubles, in particular Lord Mountbatten and his companions who were blown up in their sailing boat just off the rocks in August 1979.

Toubles memorial
Lord Mountbatten memorial

We were now in County Sligo and following the WAW signs stayed on the main road rather than the maze of narrow lanes leading to beaches and coves. We headed to Rosses Point, a small village at the entrance to Sligo Harbour. There was a large campsite and golf course but we managed to squeeze into a clifftop layby for the night with a several other motorhomes (no overnight parking was allowed in the large carpark). In the harbour entrance stood the metal man statue on a small rock.

Returning to Sligo town we got tangled in the narrow streets then on main roads west, diverting to Augris Head where there is a popular bar and restaurant and small campsite but not much else, so we drove down to Ballina, the salmon fishing capital, and on to the pretty town of Crossmolina where we stopped overnight at the small aire at Gortnor Abbey Pier on Lough Conn.
Enniskillen castle
Enniskillen castle

Florance Court NT house   Florence Court gardens
Florence Court near Enniskillen

Lower Lough Erne from Mahgo Cliff
Lower Lough Erne from Magho Clif

Metal Man at Rosses Point
Metal Man (and gull!)

Although shrouded in mist, Nephin (806 m) the second highest mountain in County Mayo, dominated the skyline as we drove on good minor roads to Newport and on to Westport on the edge of Clew Bay, which apparently has 365 islands, some very small. We parked by the harbour and walked into the attractive but busy town centre with many colourful buildings before heading down narrow lanes to Rosmoney Quay for a quiet night on our own.

Westport Molloys bar Westport colourful shop Westport bridge
Matt Malloy's bar colourful Westport shops Westport bridge

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