Of course the gorgeous sunshine & fluffy clouds had turned to drizzle by the time we got off the bus, but it wasn't too bad while we listened to our witty tour guide, and by the time the tour was ending for free photo time, the sun had come back. Lucky! Knowth was only recently excavated in the past 10 years or so, so the carvings on the rocks that had been buried so long were still distinct. Very interesting pattens, especially knowing they were made with such rudimentary tools. The stones are from 40-60km away with no wheel technology to transport them, which is amazing in itself, so the reason must have been very important to the builders. We weren't allowed inside any of the actual passages at Knowth, just a display room with a peek into the passage, but we could go to the top and see the stunning view around the countryside.
The bus coming to pick us up was late, so our guide showed us more carved stones even more distinct because their location is more protected from the elements. When the bus finally came, it started raining. Lucky again! Since so many people had bought both tours back to back, they held the other busses to go to Newgrange for us. Newgrange was discovered back in the late 1600s and left open, so there is historical graffiti carved into the stones unfortunately, but the original elaborate carvings are still intact inside the tomb, including the triple spiral. Our tour guide demonstrated with her flashlight how the winter solstice sunrise would illuminate deep inside the mound where we were standing. Very cool, even if no photos allowed inside. We were lucky again when it started raining, our group was spit in half to fit inside the tomb and we were the ones inside protected from the rain by the 5000+ year old stacked corbeled roof, then when we came out the sun was gorgeous again, just in time for great outside photos!
We left Newgrange about 6pm and made it to Carlingford by 7pm, missing our turnoff but for a really good reason...more rainbows along our road!
Missing the turn was a blessing in disguise, since we went around the bend & into the cute medieval town on the water with a castle, so we knew we wanted to go back into town for sure. Lucky again! Must be all the rainbows today! :) We checked in at the Mourneview B&B we had only reserved online the same morning before leaving Dublin, drove back into town, found the Carlingford Friary ruins with beautiful golden fluffy clouds and blue skies as a backdrop, then the menu looked best at the Carlingford Arms. It rained while we were inside the pub, but not when we were out walking to & from. When we walked back to our car, I took more photos since both the castle & the friary were nicely lit, plus the sky was so clear that this was the first time I remember seeing so many stars in Ireland!
The Mountains of Mourne we can see to the north are supposed to be some of the best scenery in Ireland, so our plan for tomorrow is seeing how long we can hike around Silent Valley and Ben Crom before arriving in Belfast for overnight. Hopefully we'll see more rainbows to keep up the weather luck!