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From Diary 5 and the western part, I now enters North Ireland.
15/8 2021.
Accordantly to the forecast, the only sun within the next two weeks, will occur in the late afternoon. At least, the sun didn't pay attention, and I see quite some of it, during the day. The first site is just around the corner; St Eunan's College, which I just found fascinating, when I passed it yesterday.

Then I head back down south to Donegal town, which should be nice, and have a castle. Well, it is all right, and the little castle is found in a bend of the river. I take the minor roads, and they are so nice: Giant but gentle hills, covered in grass and trees. I try to make pictures, but the scenery is just too large.

Outside of town, the mirror fjord make a great motive, although the sun is missing. I stop breathily in Aigham, to see the round tower in front of the church. Now the sun is present, and any photo look great.
Then I turn into the narrow roads to find The Sliabh Liag Sea Cliffs. It is a lovely drive along the coast, sometimes high up in the hills.

I find a de-tour, along the coast, and it is awesome! It passes Muckross Head, and the views are great. Scattered white-washed farms, heather in flower, the blue sea and the - well, white sky. The hills start to gain height, and get more barren. In some of the coves, perfect beaches are found.

A small river meet the sea, penetrating some huge boulders, and it look great. Then I reach the parking-lot for The Sliabh Liag Sea Cliffs, and start on the long track to the viewing point. It is on the hillside, home to a lot of sheep and some interesting plants. Huge areas are completely covered in heather. Here are several species, even some white ones.

The cliffs do not really appear that big, but when a boat passes, it is tiny! I make a lot of photos, and they all look alike. Some areas look like snow, but it is just barren gravel. This is apparently a popular tracking area, especially on Sundays. I fail to talk myself into the peak-trail, mainly due to the cold wind and rain-forecast.

I am on a huge peninsular, and decide to do a tour around it. It seems like peat-harvesting is big around there. Some areas have two metres, perhaps 10.000 years of growth.
As I reach the main island, I pass through Glengesh Pass. It is not impressive, but the view down the valley is.

The narrow road continues down the valley, and the grass covered hillsides are steep. A few areas have conifers, but most are just grass. I follow the sea for some time, then I reach The Assarancagh Waterfall. It is quite impressive, and impossible to make a proper photo of.

The road leads through a almost marsh-area, with plenty of creeks and rivers and swamps. I see a few old houses which appears to have dry grass roofs. I make another huge de-tour, over the mountains and back through Glengesh Pass again. The giant hills seems to have their original cover of rocks, and her are only a few stonewalls. I see the Maghera Strand way down, but let it be with that.

Ardara village is fare from as interesting, as I had hoped, and I head homewards. I do a walk in Lower and Upper Main Street in Letterkerry, but fail to find anything interesting, except the old bank. It is well made, with its combination of grey granite and real red sandstone.

A few things I keep forgetting to write: I do see some road kills: Badgers, fox, hedgehogs and rabbits. I also see live rabbits and some Irish Stoat; Mustela erminea hibernica - or alike.
All kitchens I have used, have a switch on the wall for the stow - and people use it. Can't see the point...
Most people greats you outside the biggest cities - and even in them. I have seen quite some laundries, found in kind of containers at gas-stations and alike.
Day 14.

16. Another greyish day, but I head towards Glenveagh National Park anyway. It is a nice drive in the usual countryside, but with the lack of sun, it is just not the same to make photos. I drive the planed R254 and R251, but the last bit to the lakes are blocked. Apparently, they made this part of the national part into a theme-park. Along with the rain; they can have it!

I continue by the small and scenic roads through ferns, peat-fields, small lakes and heather country. The bedrock is exposed in many places, some fields are covered in small boulders and rocks. I am sure these roads are scenic, but in a glooming day like this they lack some. Even the deep fjords are a bit dull in this light - and drizzle.

I reach Crolly Waterfall, which is defiantly not commercialized! Actually, there are no path to it. And walking the soaked field, belonging to a farmer who have put up a sign; Intruders will be prosecuted, is not that tempting.
I turn around and head further up north by the narrow roads.

The road turns coastal, and here are a few, golden beaches. Then it climbs high into the hills, and I reach Horn Head. It is a huge area, dominated by endless fields of heather and the high cliffs. I do a long and chill walk around the area. At some points, there are a great view to the vertical cliffs and the blue sea. Despite the drizzle, I make quite some photos, knowing they probably fail - which they did. I might just be one step from the sea - but it is  big step!

I do the rest of the peninsular - in the car, with the heater on - and despite the rain, it is a nice drive. A sign show to Doe Castle, and why not? It is a little, rather intact castle at cove, built by some Scots in 1544.

The road eventually leads out on Rosguill Peninsula, with some summer-houses and more or less abandon farms. Her are some small, but perfect sandy beaches - except for the lack of sun. Then the road turns into the mountains, and the clouds are low.

I reach the little Knockalla Fort, but decide a photo from the road is sufficient. That include the program for the day, and the weather does not really make me look for more. Well, do do a walk on a sandy beach, where I find some Shellsrazor Clams, oysters, mussels and a few larger snail-encasings.

 I head home to Letterkerry, and make a stroll through Lower and Upper Main Street, once again. Most shops are open by now, but I still fail to find anything to buy.
Well, I call it a day at four, and catch up with other work - along with the usual.
Day 15.

17. The day starts in north Ireland with Grianán of Alieách; which is "closed to further notice" due to Covid-19. Well, I'm her all by myself, and it is outside in a fresh wind. I walk the 600 metres around the pointy hill. Here are no views today, as the fog dominates.
The ring fort have been restored in 1870, but was original build in the late eight of ninth century. It might have been the capital of the Cenel nEogain. In 904 and 939, the Vikings plundered the area.

I head on by the small roads towards Northern Ireland and Great Britain, and have to turn around, just to figure where the border is. Within the European Community, there are at least small signs, but leaving the EC does not come with any marker at all! Only the most discrete change of sealing marks the spot. Well, nothing change at all, except the speed limits are now in Miles.

My first stop is in the rather large city of Londonderry, which have some nice old and quite posh parts. Well, not really this early and drizzling morning. I do a long walk around the old centre, and see some of it. The most posh building, besides from the cathedral, is Danske Bank's building, right next to it.

A huge area is walled, and several buildings, dating back to then, are found within the area. I do a bit of the wall, among some huge black powder guns. The shops are closed, the drizzle persistent and I head on, after an hour.

The plan is not really to see anything special here, except a couple of lakes, mend for way-points. It is still rather misty, especially in the heights - which is 350 metres. The hills are huge but gentle, crossed by hedges and dotted with small forests. Here are just as many cows as sheep, and hardly any crops.

I find the North Sperrins Scenic Route, it clears up a bit, and I try some of the minor roads as de-tours from the route. It is a great drive, but the photos are a challenge, due to the lack of light. I pass a high area dominated by heather for miles. Then follow some conifers, some real huge ones.

A huge glazier tunnel; Spurs of the Rock, make a large gorge through the hills. On a clear day, it will look great! I pass a few small towns, but they do not look that interesting, despite the age. A few potatoes fields are found in the lowland, and they are flowering by now.

I reach the shore of the mighty Lough Neagh, looking like the sea. In Ballyronan, there is a marina, bigger than any I have seen so far. I walk a bit along the shore, and find a few freshwater mussels-shells. The entire area seems almost deserted - but is is not a summer's day.

As I head out the town, I spot a sigh to Beaghmore Stone Circles, and that sound interesting. They originate from the Bronze Age, around 3.500 years ago, and should be Northern Irelands finest prehistoric monument. They are not that impressive; I guess I could move all stones, except a handful. Besides from the circles, there are some rows and some piles. Well, they look nice on the perfect lawn, surrounded by heather fields in flower.

I find more minor roads, fields with cows and sheep, stonewalls and a lot of green grass. Then a sign show off to Archdale Castle, but is is fare from as impressive, as I had hoped.
A lot of cross-country driving brings me to Lower Lough Erne; the large lake in the west. I drive along it for some time, but only reach the shore in Ballycassidy. It is more-lake-like, but still big. It even have a ferry to an island.

It is getting late, and I have 100 kilometres to my hotel in Easkey; Ireland. I set the GPS for the border, and if not, I would have missed it. It is a small river, and the only signs are the "translation" of the speed limits: 50Mp/h and 80 Km/h.

BACK IN IRELAND, I find the cosy hostel, where a key is waiting for me in the letterbox. Day 16.
                                       The Diary 7 brings us back in Ireland, for the central part.

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