We left Edenderry early morning and headed for the east coast to embark on our counter-clockwise crusade of Eire. We had no accommodation booked, no firm destination. November in Ireland is not a popular time for tourists. We arrived at Warrenpoint around Guinness time and related our previous days escapades to the very friendly barman. He advised us to stick to the coast as, “there is nothing in the middle worth seeing.” Warrenpoint is in Northern Ireland, separated from the Republic by the Newry River. It was the scene of the deadliest attack on the British Army during the 30 year conflict between north and south. Eighteen British soldiers were killed and six seriously injured by two roadside bombs, aimed at their army convoy. The Warrenpoint ambush occurred on the same day, 27 August 1979, that Lord Louis Mountbatten was killed by an IRA bomb aboard his boat at Mullaghmore. The pervasive tranquility belies the violent history, the views across Carlingford Lough were stunning.
I wouldn’t mind living in one of these apartments.
The barman suggested staying the night at Newcastle, only twenty miles further up the coast. We called in at the tourist information office for some advice on accommodation. Most of it was quite pricey but there was one hotel that was awaiting star status so, for now, could only be considered one star. We were happy to have a look and found the Avoca Hotel, though not terribly attractive from the outside, was clean and comfortable and they served an amazing breakfast the next morning.
Overlooking Dundrum Bay and the Irish Sea, there were no complaints about the scenery, either.
Newcastle became a popular seaside resort in the Victorian era following the arrival of the railway in 1869. The gorgeous buildings along Central Promenade are testament to that time.
They all seemed well cared for, apart from one ‘renovators delight’ in the middle of the row.
The Mourne mountain range, home to Northern Ireland’s highest mountain, Slieve Donard, lends an impressive backdrop to the town.
As the sun was descending in the western sky,
our thoughts turned to refreshments. We had passed a place on the promenade and returned to ponder the menu. O’Hares had a welcoming, rustic atmosphere
and after a Guinness, we advanced upstairs to enjoy a superb meal. On second thought, there may have been more than one Guinness.