As it was rather
drizzly we pushed on to the large and busy town of Drogheda then
on to the coast near Termonfeckin where we filled up with diesel - and
picked up a leaflet to win a house in a raffle! Taking the coast road
alongside a bleak empty beach we reached Annagassan where a few
motorhomes were parked on the quayside, but decided to continue north
bypassing Dundalk to reach Carlingford, and pulled in to the private
aire at the marina. As it was now sunny again and we were parked by the
greenway overlooking the lough, we decided to stay for a second night.
The next morning was sunny and warm so we walked into the centre of
Carlingford which had several castle ruins and bars. Apparently it's a
popular town for hen and stag parties. We had a look at the Fairy and
Leprechaun park before returning to the van for lunch. In the afternoon we explored the
greenway cycle path which runs for several miles beside the lough with
fine views across to the Mourne Mountains. In the evening another
Weinsberg Caracompact motorhome turned up at the
aire. It was a rental van from a dealer based in Belfast and we
compared notes on merits of our van.
Leaving Carlingford there are no bridges across the lough until Newry,
although there is a recently resumed car ferry across the mouth of the
Greenore. We drove around to Warrenpoint and Rostrevor, taking the
road over the Mourne Mountains to Hilltown then up into the hills to
the Spelga and Silent Valley reservoirs and down to the coast at
Newcastle, a small seaside resort, for a walk along the modern
car parks at nearby Murlough Nature reserve had height barriers so we
drove on beside the coast to take a very narrow lane to St Johns Point
with its distinctive yellow and black lighthouse.
St John's lighthouse
Continuing through Ardglass where there was an aire (with a height barrier?)
we decided to head for the Delamont Country Park overlooking Strangford Lough,
and stayed at the C&CC campsite for the night.
We called in to Rowallane Gardens (NT) the next morning then across the
countryside covered in small rounded hills, known as Drumlins and
formed in the last ice age, to the towns of Ballynahinch, a Protestant town with
union flags everywhere, and on to Banbridge where we visited the modern
F E McWilliams art gallery and sculpture park. After a pleasant hour or
so we drove through Tandragee, famous for its Tayto Castle potato crisp
factory, which can be visited at certain times, and on to a Camping Club
weekend meet at Loughgall Country Park.
For our last day before catching the ferry at Belfast we drove through
Portadown, a strongly divided town where they were building massive
piles of pallets ready for the annual July bonfires. We headed for the
Oxford Island Nature Reserve and Discovery Centre on the southern shore
of Lough Neagh, the largest lake in the UK covering 151 square miles,
for a pleasant afternoon in the warm sunshine.
We discovered many towns both in the north and south had the familiar
Irish expression "Safe Home" on signs on their boundaries.