22nd August 2016 from Armagh to Gortin, about 45 miles.

A very much sunnier day, allelujah! Great cycling weather apart from a persistent headwind which slowed us a little. Armagh Church of Ireland Cathedral had an organist practicing, probably for the upcoming choral festival – some national event, and so blasts of music swept around the building. There’s stained glass worth getting out of your pew for, and also the grave of the last King of all Ireland, King Brian. And also a funny little leprachauny thing in stone that was found at Tandragee – perhaps it is the Tandragee. A sort of imp. Usually Ireland has been divided up so King Brian was a bit of an event. Sets the north versus south troubles in context anyway. I mended my puncture of yesterday evening and we headed out circuitously to Navan, the site of the various archaeological remains, but perhaps most importantly where the King’s of Ulster had their base, a thousand years before King Brian. Well, it’s a hill fort so familiar stuff really though fascinating stories of archaeological reconstruction made the site come to life, evidently a religious site. The visitors centre is big and we were in awe of its high tech eco-ness. Almost worth a visit just for the cafe… Armagh is laying down pipelines and lots of roads seem to be up so we had to suffer for our history. Then on to Dungannon where we had a late lunch, we heard a lot of Polish there – I think it’s said to be more common than gaelic generally. Then on to Pomeroy, then squeezing past more closed roads and roadworks we went over the low moors on a tiny lane that got us to near Greencastle, then a lot of speedy downhill on a B road to Gortin, where we found our hostel easily because a local spotted us and found the lady that was in charge. It’s a lovely little hostel with the sort of sofas that are heaven to a bloke that’s been on a bike all day – soft with back support. We visited a pub but the range of beers is not good – Coors Light, Tennents, Guiness and Smithwicks… so we only had a half and retreated to tea and books.

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