Wednesday, September 28, 2016
One place on my list - coastal interest - was Mullaghmore, not far off the main road. And we got lucky. The sun broke through as we got near and we got a brief break in the drizzle to drive out and around the point.
It also has a castle. Well, a 19th century estate built sort of like a castle. I've seen (on the internet) that Dunluce Castle, near Portrush, might have been the inspiration for CS Lewis' Cair Paravel on the coast of Narnia, but this is much more like I always pictured it.
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
We did drive up to Grianan of Aileach, on the top of a hill not far west of Derry (we're back in the Republic of Ireland). This is a ring fort - the first one we'd seen on the trip. It turns out ring forts are all over the place - one thing I read said there were as many as 45,000 dotted around Ireland - most fuzzy stone rings and overgrown copses in the midst of sheep pastures and farm fields. But this one is impressively positioned on its hilltop and nicely restored.
We arrived in a squall, but we waited it out in the car and eventually it stopped. It was still gray and windy - although maybe not as cold as it looks.
We saw several more ring forts on the trip, including a great one in Kerry that I'm sure I'll get to as I work down through the stack.
We decided to check out Derry (also Londonderry) the day before we left Portrush, since we knew we had a lot of ground to cover the next day and this would make one less thing to do.
The walk, which generally follows the city walls, includes much about the Troubles, including Bloody Sunday, and provides a great view of the Bogside area where much of the Catholic resistance was based. As we found in Belfast, the recency of the conflict and the violence added an edge to the story.