Driving in NI

Ice cream, I decided, having spent the day writing numerous informative articles about poison ivy. Ice cream.

It wasn’t much of a descision, as decisions go, in the world history of decisions. I mean, it certainly wasn’t up there with “abolish slavery” or “invent the internet”, for example. But I felt that it was the right one. I requested a companion on Facebook, and was soon on my way to pick up Billy (who – interesting fact – is one of only two of my blog “characters” who actually goes by her blog nickname in real life). We decided to drive to Newferry, it being near to where she lives, as she assured me that it involved scenery and water and walking and that sort of thing.

As it turned out, Newferry was very difficult to find. We stopped for ice cream in Toome, and my cone was long gone by the time we eventually reached our destination. I have to issue a complaint at this point regarding signposts in this country. They are almost always in the wrong place. What is this, a test of intuition? Punishment of tourists and/or those who don’t know their own country very well? If a signpost marked with your destination is pointing down a road, you immediately indicate and turn down that road. That’s just obvious, surely. When I did this tonight, I ended up first in a housing estate and then in a farm. It turns out that the sign meant to take the next road, not the one it was pointing down. Or, in the case of one sign, it meant nothing at all and was just there for a bit of a laugh.

I don’t think this is Newferry, we agreed solemnly each time, returning to the point where we saw the original sign saying “Newferry 3 1/2 miles” and starting again. Anyway, when we eventually arrived in Newferry, we discovered that it was, in fact, a large car park. If there was more, I remain unaware of it. It was a car park, and a jetty, and some people in boats and on water skis.

We were unimpressed, particularly since it had taken us half the night to get there from three and a half miles away.

So Billy, being the one with very little navigational ability as opposed to the one with no navigational ability whatsoever, suggested heading to Antrim to walk along a nice river path. Is Antrim close? I asked dubiously. It’s just down the road! said Billy cheerfully.

We went to Antrim, which, it transpired, was actually a half hour drive away.

By the time we got there, we had decided that aiming for specific destinations when neither of us really possessed an ounce of common sense nor a sense of direction was a foolish idea to begin with. Instead, we decided to look for brown signs and follow them, with a view to finding something culturally interesting, saying Ohhhh, how interesting!, and then going home.

That’s how we ended up walking round and round and round a very tall, very narrow round tower looking in vain for its entrance, and reading about suicidal witches gliding from windows. But I think that deserves a blog post of its own. ..


9 thoughts on “Driving in NI

  1. An early edition of the Rough Guide to Ireland stated that the best view of Antrim was the one from the back window of the bus as you left town never to return.

  2. Nelly says:

    The thing about Newferry is that it’s positioned on the side of a long narrow bridgeless lough and although the crow mightn’t have any bother getting from Toome to there the ordinary driver is best to approach it via the Portglenone road out of Randalstown. Of course a skilled navigator might get there via Ahoghill but it can be challenging.

    See you 2moro at aforementioned time, awfully big shopping centre etc.

  3. MoNkEy MrS says:

    who let you two out without an adult driving aimlessly?? You need my sylvie to guide you next time although I’m shocked you didn’t at least know how far antrim is from Ballymena/Toome!!!

  4. Ganching – Love it! I don’t know Antrim at all, as I only ever used to go there to swim at Antrim Forum. There seemed to be chavs hanging around. I am scared of chavs.
    Nelly – Hmm. Is Newferry actually on the other side of the water?! And if so, then really, the sign pointing to Newferry in Toome is more than a little misleading…
    Bevchen – Oh yes, we’ve got all sorts round these parts!
    Grannymar – I loved it! I’m very into this sort of thing, these days. :)
    MonkeyMrs – See, I know how far Antrim is from Ballymena. But you can’t expect me to know where Toome is, even if I happen to be there. And in that case, it’s unlikely I’ll know how how far it is to Antrim from Toome! For all I knew, Toome could have been right next to Antrim or on the other side of Ballymena. I am not blessed with geographical knowledge of NI. ;)

  5. Bert used to work for a guy who went everywhere via Randalstown. Imagine living in Ballymena and travelling to. say Larne, via Randalstown.

    I suppose it depends which side of the river you’d want to be on. You could go by Toome but personally speaking I’d not trouble myself.

    Oh sod it! I sound like some ould fellow boring the pants of everybody about how to get to places and not having any clue!

  6. I know how to get to Dead Horse Springs, Hogs Back, or Red Door, encase anyone is interested. Sounds like you are as directionally challenged as himself. He could get lost going to ….

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