The Maguire Castle was closed.
I could not visit New Grange, Knoth or Dowth; they were closed because of foot and mouth. They are some of the most historic wonders in Ireland. I was very disappointed. I had them all mapped out and they were all closed.
We were searched when we left Northern Ireland by the boarder patrol (Garda) although they clearly could see that we were tourists in a car rental. But they did want to know if we had anything dairy or meat products.
We made the mistake of driving southeast of Belfast to Newcastle, which is on the Irish seacoast. This resort town reminded me of Vegas – noisy, a complete mess with people everywhere. It took us an hour to drive through this town which was not that big. It was bumper to bumper, creep and crawl, dodging cars and trying not to hit people who just crossed the road in any spot they wanted to. They just walked right in front of us. We were probably going all of 5 miles an hour.
We passed through three areas going south toward Dublin where they disinfected our car; a precaution of the foot and mouth disease. They checked our trunk twice and I got so nervous that when the Garda asked me to open the trunk the first time, I pulled a lever in the car which opened the gas tank. He told me that I needed to open the trunk, not the gas cap. In first and second area, they just washed our tires but the third area, we had to drive through a machine which washed the entire car.
Several hostels that we tried to find had been converted into other places parts of the guidebook was not up-to-date – that of course is not Ireland’s fault though.