A strange happenstance above the Foyle

We’d had Escape Velocity straining up this mountain for quite some time now. But finally as we crested the summit, and just as Marce said, we found a long strip of a roadside parkup leaning on this side back down the mountain, and on the other side down the mountain the other way. However, balanced at the very top, were a few precious level spaces, occupied. As an RV driver I’ve learned that you can’t reconnoiter for long without offending the populace so I pulled into the first available space. Now we wait.

To pass the time I decided to climb the last bit of the mountain and to my amazement I found myself in Rio de Janeiro with Christ the Redeemer towering above us.

It was my own Twilight Zone moment. You can imagine my confusion. As I scrambled (age adjusted) up the path things started to come into focus. It’s definitely not the world famous 98 foot tall Art Deco Christ the Redeemer statue. We’re not in Rio de Janeiro, and this is not Sugarloaf Mountain. But what is it? Turns out it’s Manannan MacLir, regarded as the Irish Neptune.

It seems in Celtic times it was widespread practice to make votive offerings to deities like the Sea God of Lough Foyle. In 1896, two ploughmen stumbled across the accumulated precious offerings which became known as the Broighter Gold Hoard. To this day if the weather gets up on the Foyle sandbanks between Inishtrahull and Magilligan, the locals say, “Manannan is angry today,” while reaching for a trinket or two, at least something shiny.

My goodness, the views from this place are staggeringly beautiful and it’s easy to see why the massively eccentric Earl-Bishop always wanted to use this route to travel to his home at Downhill Demesne.

We found a path down the face of the summit that led to an observation deck and alternately a path to something called Hell Hole which I’m going to guess had nothing to do with the other Hell Hole in Russell, New Zealand. Further exploration revealed nothing more than a lumpy field chock-a-block with sheep poo. On the other hand, in New Zealand, Hell Hole was once filled with lonely sailors, and is one of the few places in New Zealand not chock-a-block with sheep poo.

Where was I? Oh yes, I think it’s time for photos.

Sweet dreams from high above Lough Foyle.

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