Ireland day 0163. Thursday 10 March 2022- Dunany

Ireland day 0163. Thursday 10 March 2022- Dunany
Today’s summary Spent the morning dealing with car tax and registration then went back to the garage to get some minor rattles fixed then drove out to Dunany to try and find the Madman’s Chair (unsuccessfully!)
Today’s weather Bright, dry and sunny all day.   Strong southeasterly wind on the coast.  About 8C
Today’s overview location
(The blue mark shows the location of our route)
Close-up location
(The green line shows where we walked)
(Click button below to download GPX of today’s walk as recorded, or see interactive map at bottom with elevations corrected):
Mad Chair of Dunany

When you look at your map and see something called “Mad Chair of Dunany” marked on it, you just know that it is something that needs further investigation.    The “Mad Chair” is on the coast to the north of Drogheda – almost at Dundalk, in fact.   But as I was heading part way in that direction today anyway, it seemed like a feasible proposition to tack a bit on to the end of my journey and head up there to take a look.

But first things first.   Most of today had a car-based theme.   This morning, the postman had delivered the vehicle registration document for the new Yaris.   This was a bit of a relief for two reasons.   Firstly because I had visions of the thing going astray and I knew from my ill-fated dalliance with the 21-year old model (the CAR of course – what are you thinking of?   I’m not a Prince!) I knew that it would take upwards of fourteen weeks to get a replacement if it didn’t turn up.   The second more practical reason was that I needed the registration certificate number in order to renew the road tax – which was becoming urgent at it expires at the end of this month.   Anyway, all was well now that the valuable piece of paper had arrived.   I was able to renew the tax on line (€200 for 12 months for a car with the Yaris’ emissions), and the requisite piece of paper to stick on the windscreen will be with me in four days time.   Hopefully.

Once all that was done, I needed to get a couple of teething niggles with the car sorted out (a rattly exhaust and a faulty heated rear windscreen) and I also had to pick up the warranty paperwork.   So it was back to the garage at Ashbourne in the afternoon to deal with these issues.   It turns out that a whole new rear windscreen will have to be ordered (honestly you would have thought a drop of solder would have done the job but evidently not), and that will take a few weeks.   The mechanic fiddled with the exhaust but it still sounds a bit loose, so a return visit in a few weeks time to fit the new windscreen and get the exhaust fixed will be needed.   But they are only small issues and I can live with them for the time being.

Once these tasks had been completed, and the warranty paperwork collected, I headed off up the coast to look for the Mad Chair.   By way of background – the Mad Chair is a boulder the size and shape of an easy chair, situated on the beach at Dunany.   In times gone by, various myths and legends have grown up around the rock – all of which seemed to include as a common theme the chair as a treatment for madness.   Basically, it is held that if you were mentally ill but had an episode of lucidity, then if at that moment you sat in the chair, you would be permanently cured.   But the downside was that it a sane person sat on it they would go mad.

Anyway – it was a bit of a hypothetical question today as I simply couldn’t find the stone anywhere.   I walked right up the beach and round the headland and back down again in the opposite direction, but didn’t see anything.  Then I finally twigged that the problem was the tide.   It was exactly high tide as I was there which was well as submerging all the easily-walkable sand and forcing me onto the rocky bit higher up, had also temporarily drowned the madman’s chair.   So I never got to test for myself its madness-inducing qualities, but perhaps in retrospect that’s a good thing.   Though on the plus side, I could see right across to the Cooleys and the summit of Carnavaddy where I’d been yesterday (I’m trying to point it out in the banner picture at the top of this blog).   If only I had chosen today for the walk!   Still, that’s the price you pay for being impatient.

The beach walk, although hard going, was enjoyable because there was hardly anybody about.   I had a friendly exchange about the weather with a couple out walking their dogs, but that was about it.   I decided to walk down the beach a bit further then to vary things by returning to where I had parked the car along the road.   As was walking back, a farmer in a beaten up old Land Cruiser (lovely car by the way) pulled up alongside me.   He started gesticulating and shouting at me and for a moment I was worried I might be going to get shot.   Anyway it turned out he just wanted to give me a lift – which I gratefully accepted – and we had a mutual grumble about the price of diesel (or at least I think we did – as I couldn’t understand much of what he said, and I’m not certain he understood much of what I said either).

Talking about fuel, that reminds me that surprisingly the price actually fell quite substantially today – it was over 200¢ a litre yesterday, whereas today it had fallen to 180, I think as a result of a Government tax cut rather than because the price of crude oil fell.   For once luck was on my side as I had almost run out of fuel and meant to fill up yesterday but never got round to it.   So I did it today instead and purely because of my own laziness I saved €6.  By the way I did 540km on about 34 litres of fuel which in old-fashioned units is about 45mpg I think.   Probably if I was a bit less heavy with my right foot, I could do better, but it was a good start.   Once the novelty wears off and the reality of €2 per litre fuel sinks – I will probably have no choice!


Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

This is the “main road” to the beach at Dunany.   Obviously not suitable for shiny new Yarises – so I parked at the end and walked down In fact the road just runs into the beach and stops – and there is nowhere to turn round.  So if I had driven down, I would probably still be testing my reversing skills right back up the (long) approach road now.   Or else stuck there for ever
The approach to the Dunany headland itself is over a bouldery shoreline – at least at high tide it is.   It’s hard going so I didn’t go very far.   But once you get round the headland, the cliffs recede and a narrow path opens up on the grassy strip at the top of the beach.   I was tempted to see how far I could get along it but I knew that I would have to retrace my steps – into a strengthening headwind and gathering gloom – so I didn’t go very far.   At low tide – when the Chair (see below) is visible – there may be more sand to walk on, but not this afternoon The strong (and unusual) southeasterly wind was churning up the sea and depositing this foam, which behaved like wobbly jelly, in abundant heaps on the beach.   Goodness knows what is in the seawater which causes it produce this relatively stable foam.   Hopefully it’s something “natural” like seaweed alginate rather than unpleasant man made effluent.   After all fish (and people!) swim in this stuff.
Curious cows checking me out on the walk back from the beach.   This part of Co Louth is extremely agricultural – the smell fills the air – and bovine belches are probably the culprit The inland road back to where I had parked the car is optimistically called the “Scenic Route”.   I don’t really know why, as there isn’t a lot to see except fields and hedges, and the road is a dead end anyway
The Madman’s Chair is somewhere near here but I couldn’t find it – probably because the tide was in and it’s only exposed at low water.   I took the liberty of copying the image below from the web, which shows what it would have looked like, if I had found it (the green moss-topped boulder in the foreground):
Interactive map

(Elevations corrected at  GPS Visualizer: Assign DEM elevation data to coordinates )

Total distance: 5367 m
Max elevation: 15 m
Min elevation: 1 m
Total climbing: 82 m
Total descent: -82 m
Total time: 01:13:35
Download file: Mad Chair Of Dunany corrected.gpx

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