Woke up around 9:15am and had breakfast at the hotel. Drove through the border to Northern Ireland and up to Tollymore Forest – well, we TRIED to drive there. Google maps took us into the middle of the forest – NOT to the Car Park/Visitors Center. Helpful. After getting thoroughly lost and driving across an old stone bridge and past some hikers, we turned around in someone’s farm (sorry) and found the main road – which sensibly led us to the entrance to the park. Got a map and followed the River Walk, which was supposed to be 5k and take 1.5 hours, but we took some scenic detours and lots of photos. Took in some old cool bridges, huge trees, beautiful and bountiful shamrocks, two sets of stepping stones, a meditation hermitage, and small cascades! While trying to find the White Fort, we met a friendly couple (Jerry and Lisa) from Denver and chatted for awhile.
We were quite hungry and thirsty after our hike, but the fish & chip food truck at the car park only took cash – which we didn’t have yet since we just crossed the border. Drove into the next town, Castlewellan, and found a free (what?!) place to park. There was a guy (Jared? Maybe? His brogue was the thickest we came across) collecting money for something, just standing in the street with a bucket, so I asked him about the parking, finding an ATM, and someplace to eat. He pointed us down the road to an ATM and then a pub, and he wasn’t even from the town! Had a lovely dinner at Maginn’s Pub including some beautifully-poured Guinness. Walked back to the car, thanked Jared (?), and headed for…
THE DARK HEDGES! Nerd alert!!! It was getting late, so we couldn’t stay long. Walked through and back, and took lots of photos. Took some narrow (say scary) roads to Garron View B&B. We were warmly welcomed by our hostess, Rosie, who also took our breakfast orders – 2 “full Irish” please!