From the Sperrins, we drove for what seemed like three or four times as long as we expected, stopping on the way to get fuel, empty the dreaded black water and top up on fresh water. Once we were about an hour over the border into the Republic of Ireland, the motorway became very picturesque, with enormous steep-sided mountains and passing through a pretty river valley.
Eventually, we were closing in on Sligo, a town that happened to have a 3 shop in it, so we could have internet access. It also happened to be directly on our route to Connemara National Park, conveniently. We picked an arbitrary road to turn down, in the vague direction of the coast. After one bad choice, we found a road that led towards a fine little harbour town with a lineup of motorhomes already parked up for the evening. We followed suit, then wandered along the coast a little way, in the dusk light.
The next day, we made a spontaneous turn-off towards some promising looking mountains, and found ourselves eventually at a rather crowded car park for a waterfall. It was lovely, but wow, so many people. Tourism is weird.
One remarkable sight that seemed to go unnoticed with the tour groups was a waterfall that went in the opposite direction; the water fell upwards. Crazy Irish.
Some time spent in Sligo, hooking ourselves up with Internet access and getting some groceries. Finding a park was an interesting exercise among Sligo’s narrow streets and motorhomer-hatingest-car-parks-we’ve-ever-seen. What is these peoples’ problem with us?! There was a particularly excruciating encounter with a street I turned down, only to realise how narrow the gap between the parked cars was. I tried to back out, only to be hemmed in by a car that turned in after me at the most inopportune moment (this has happened at least a dozen times now — they love to show up and force me to perform insane feats of manoeuvring). Ahead it was, with Katherine checking her side. We made it, by no more than half a centimetre, to the great amusement and hand-signed-congratulations of an onlooker. Bugger me.
At least an hour’s fidgeting around trying to get the Meteor mobile internet to work. I was thwarted at every turn, and even their support line didn’t get answered within the half an hour I waited. Bastards! So, not having a map, or Internet access, and thus not really knowing where Connemara National Park was, we set off in the general direction we thought it was, hoping to figure it out along the way.
We didn’t make it, and it was getting dark, so we drove around for a while looking for a place to park for the night. With nothing promising found within twenty minutes, we just pulled over alongside the road to have dinner and sleep (or try to — the traffic passing by generally put a stop to that. Damn.)
Next day, finally figured out Meteor’s stupid Internet, found the route, from which we had not strayed too far, and drove the rest of the way.