Ireland day 0018. Saturday 16 October 2021- Carlingford

Ireland day 0018. Saturday 16 October 2021- Carlingford
Today’s summary Drove 1hr north almost to the border to visit Carlingford castle.  Discovered nearby Cooley Mountains and managed a proper hillwalking hike
Today’s weather Overcast all day.   Moderate westerly wind.   Dry till 6pm then heavy rain in evening.   About 13C
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Today’s overview location
(the red cross in a circle shows where Val and I are at the moment)
Close-up location

(Click button below to download a GPX of today’s walk)
Carlingford gpx


Having investigated many of the major landmarks in our immediate vicinity over the last couple of weeks, we decided to venture a bit further afield today.   I’d read about King John’s castle on a clifftop overlooking the picturesque Carlingford Lough and thought that it sounded like a suitably exotic destination.  So we duly headed 80km / 50mi up the M1 motorway, almost to the border with Northern Ireland, then headed east into slightly hillier territory to get to the castle.

When we reached Carlingford a bit of scope creep suddenly happened when I noticed that right on Carlingford’s doorstep were some real hills, and what’s more there appeared to be some real footpaths in them.   That was fortunate, as the castle itself proved to be a bit of disappointment.   It was built in the late 12th century, shortly after the Norman invasion of Ireland, but sadly although it was possible to walk round the bottom of the castle walls, you couldn’t actually go inside.   So we were denied the opportunity to learn more about whatever historic secrets undoubtedly lay within.

We had a brief discussion and a detailed look at the weather forecast and decided that an exploration of the Cooley Hills, which tower over Carlingford Village, was a possibility.  We hadn’t really come equipped for a hill-walk, so I looked at the map and plotted a route which took us up reasonably high, included a “real” summit, and would hopefully keep our feet dry.

Our circular walk up Barnavave turned out to be an unexpected success.   Excellent atmospheric views in all directions from the top, and a well maintained path underfoot.  The descent took us through the suburbs and heart of Carlingford village, which seemed to be an attractive and prosperous place.   It will definitely be worthy of a return trip, perhaps on a sunnier day.   And best of all, the walk turned out to be just the right length as well, because as soon as we got back to the car at 6pm the heavens opened and it started to pour.

We are now safely ensconced back in our cottage in Ardcath with the fire lit and listening to the rain pouring down outside.  It’s our first outing with the Dublin Walking Group tomorrow, so we need to get our gear together and be ready to put our best feet forward!

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

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Carlingford harbour with the castle on the cliffside to the left Yes!!! Some proper walks!
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Nearing the summit of Barnavave (350m / 1100ft) Val looking northwest over Carlingford Lough into Northern Ireland and the Mournes
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A lot of new and extremely affluent looking houses had been recently constructed on the hillside above Carlingford Carlingford village – busy, full of life and an interesting place
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Val on the ridge running down from Barnavave to the saddle.   On the right of the panorama is Carlingford Lough and then Northern Ireland; on the left is Dundalk Bay
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