On the Mourne Coast Scenic Drive
The last driving day has a splendid finale ready for you as a farewell gift: taking in both Northern Ireland and the Republic. You should set off early. From Newcastle, the Mourne Coast Scenic Drive and Mourne Mountains Scenic Drive lead you through the coastal mountain landscapes in the extreme south-east of County Down back to Carlingford Lough (A2) until you reach the border to the Republic, in silence, vastness and grandeur. Only at Newry do the road signs and codes of the modern age bring you back to the present, on the way from Northern Ireland to the Republic: A1 becomes M1, miles become kilometres, the British pound switches to the euro. Imperceptibly the route has crossed the internal Irish border: however you are on the right course to Ireland's Ancient East, straight into the early Middle Ages, towards Monasterboice. The car park is situated right opposite the splendid old cemetery. The monastery ruins from the 6th century have preserved their wonderful round tower. Three famous high crosses from the 9th century bear witness to the Celtic spirituality of the religious art of that time.
From the early Middle Ages into the Megalithic era
It is barely another 60 km to the capital of Ireland on the M1. So take the junction at Drogheda for a worthy end to this tour: to the magic of Ireland's most historic sites: the megalithic sites of Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth – to the heart of the Stone Age on the park-owned bus! (Incidentally, it is more convenient to park caravans in the back section of the narrow car park at the Visitor Centre – straight on from the entrance.)
A visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site is an impressive experience. The monumental graves are over 5,000 years old. Some of them date back to periods before the construction of the Egyptian pyramids. Meanwhile, not far away in Boyne Valley, the early Modern Age is present. The Battle of the Boyne in 1690 determined Irish history for over three hundred years, resulting in the British occupation and the subsequent division of the island, which is still in force today. Yet the people know how to meet the challenges of history and separation, time and space, residents and guests, newcomers and tourists. You will not forget Ireland.
Now you know the regions you would like to return to and which remain for you to discover. Whether it is Northern Ireland or the Republic: you are a hundred thousand times welcome! Céad míle fáilte!