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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

Mountains of Mourne

“So I’ll wait for the wild rose that’s waitin’ for me Where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea.” Percy French

The Mountains of Mourne were my last stop in my three day tour of Northern Ireland. They are immortalized in a song by Percy French by the same name. In it the lyricist is in London and he is experience the artificial beauty of London, the artificial people, the hustle and bustle of the capital city–while waiting to return to “where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea.”

The Mountains of Mourne sweep into the Irish sea at Newcastle, a summer resort town. Kind of an Atlantic City or Mar del Plata, only on a much smaller scale. Just before you get to Newcastle, you can stop at the sand dunes and walk across the boardwalk to the beach. On a clear day you can see Scotland and the Isle of Man–we weren’t there on a clear day. We were there, however, on a grazing day. There are cows that graze on the sand dunes–wierd, but true. Cows with very curley coats and short tempers. We very nearly got chased by a cow across the sand dunes.

Back to the Mountains of Mourne and Newcastle. We battled the freezing wind to take a couple photos on the beach and then raced to the car and into Newcastle. We went to Maud’s cafe for coffee and ice cream. Hayden went with the super-popular Pooh Bear (possibly Poor Bear, but with the accent, I couldn’t tell)–a vanilla and honey based ice cream. I went with a chocalate brownie option. Yum. After we were warmed up, we crossed the street to go to Tip Top–a candy store where you can still buy it in “quarters.” I think that is a measurement, but I don’t know a quarter of what. Hayden was very impressed by this fact and I just nodded and bought postcards. Then we went to the furthest arcade from his car, at the other end of the road, so we could play an army video game. I make some pretty great shots, but never got promoted. After 2 quid, I decided I’d killed enough people. Hayden played one more quid and then switched to the sniper game to try and kill some terrorists. What a better way to end a day at a beach, than try out your sniper skills, right?

Then we were back on the windy road, returning to Belfast. Eventually, I nodded off. As anyone who has ever attempted a road trip with me, I would like to point out that this was the first time I’d fallen asleep while Hayden was driving us somewhere. This is a miracle, especially given how much sleep I needed. I woke up as we were in the last round-about before his house.

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