Flagstaff, the Long Woman's Grave and Magic Hill

We cycled to the Flagstaff today. We took the easy way, up the Old Newry Road to the Sportsman's Roundabout. Then because we felt like doing a bit of work, but not too much,we went into Ravensdale Park and continued to Dromad. After the Carrickdale we turned right and were met with a sharp hill initially, but it was not impossible and we were soon on our way to Clontygora and the Flagstaff, without any difficulty. We got to the Flagstaff, comfortably chatting to each other, and 2 of the group went in to the viewpoint while we sat on the wall. 10 cyclists from Emyvale came up the steep side, from Cornamucklagh, looking disgustingly comfortable and smug. They smugly informed us that they had 80k clocked up at this stage while we had 20k and were flaked out on the wall. Everything is relative, I thought to myself.

View from the Flagstaff over Carlingford Lough

After the 2 came down from the viewpoint we went down that very steep hill that the Emyvale people had come up. It's a long 5 miles from there over to the Long Woman's Grave and the road doesn't do you any favours. Seemingly flat, if you stop pedalling for an instant you'll come to a halt. But the scenery makes it all worth while, Carlingford Lough on your left, Slieve Foye in front and Annaverna to the right. And I've seen the spot for my picnic - a wee bridge and a gorge running down to Omeath - Far from the Madding Crowd. But we may have to draw lots for the picnic bearer. At the Long Woman's Grave we stopped again, because we had to read the inscriptions on the various plaques. The Long Woman seems to be getting longer ever time I visit. Either the council or the locals are stretching that grave every year. In fact Cooley seems to be a mysterious place, with Magic Hills, Leprechaun Hunts and sheep that have the gift of bilocation,

After we had everything taken in we set off again on the last stage in Cooley. 3 little hills and then the descent down Jenkinstown. At the cross we continued to Bellurgan and on to Strandfield for our coffee. It was busy but we had our own little group, glowing with health (I like to think) while we analysed every mile of the road the way a golfer does every shot. In fact a game of golf would probably take less time because when I asked the time it was 1.45pm. So it was time to move, Racecourse, Point Road, Red Barns, and the Rock. Don't know what distance it was (must ask Rosemary) but it was 4 hours spent utterly alive. Thank God.

Views: 820

Tags: Bicycling, County Down

Comment by Alannah Ryane on January 14, 2014 at 9:43am

How wonderful!  If you could wear a helmet cam the next time that would be just over the top for me!!  Thank you for posting this.

Comment by Patricia Falvey on January 14, 2014 at 3:25pm

I love this view from the Flagstaff - the place where the three counties meet (Down, Armagh and Louth)

Used this scene as the cover illustration for my novel The Linen Queen.

Comment by Patrick Francis Deady on January 14, 2014 at 7:13pm

Thank you for this, from me, many miles away....

Comment by James McNamara on January 18, 2014 at 10:55pm

Thanks for the great view of the lough.  Awesome.


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