We visited Ravensdale forest park, located between Dundalk and Newry, yesterday. A beautiful place, which I hadn't seen since I was young.
While it took less than 20 minutes to drive from Drogheda to Dundalk on the new M1 motorway, the traffic around Dundalk was chronically bad, while the N1 road between Dundalk and Newry, which is the main cross-border route, was bumper to bumper nearly the whole way from Dundalk northwards. Luckily, we went to Ravensdale via the Cooley peninsula, so we missed most of the tailbacks. There's a beautiful drive from Jenkinstown up through the mountains. We went all the way up to the summit of the Black Mountain, on top of which is a megalithic mound, called Clermont Cairn. However, there are huge TV and communications masts up there and the whole area is fenced off, so I didn't get to see the cairn itself, which was disappointing.
I'm impressed at how diligent the builders must have been. Lugging huge boulders up mountains takes a lot of energy. Newgrange is a feat in itself, but thinking about Black Mountain and the cairns up on Slieve Gullion:
left me awe-struck about the gargantuan efforts these people made to connect heaven with earth. I got a similar feeling a month ago while visiting Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, France, another great wonder. Notre Dame was built 900 years ago. Amazingly, it stands today as an impressive testament to its builders.
While up at Clermont, we did get a nice view across to Gullion, which is further inland from the Cooley Mountains. There's some photos and information about Clermont Cairn online at:
The Cooley and Mourne area is really spectacularly beautiful. I'll have to go back there soon . . .