Then it was onward to Armagh (pronounced “Ar-MAH” instead of “AR-mog” as we had supposed). Finding this town proved to be more difficult. The signage became very confusing or petered out altogether. The roads were narrow — barely more than one lane wide, even though they were not back roads.
With no road shoulders whatsoever to pull onto, I kept the car as far to the right as possible, wincing against the screech of thick hawthorne hedges scratching against the side of the car. I honked as we came around tight, blind curves, not knowing when a large truck or SUV would come blasting upon us at breakneck speed. And yes, they did.
These road conditions were unnerving, made all the moreso by the lack of signage. We finally had to stop along the way and knock at some random house to make sure we were heading in the right direction. The woman who answered the door was very friendly and helpful, pointing us down the right road.
As the day and miles ticked by, we were delighted to come across a welcoming-looking restaurant. We were starved and thankful to slip into the seats of a comfortable booth. As we ate, local kids ran about while parents gave their full attention to the hurling championship that blared on the large TV. Dad was sorry to pull himself away from the game. He was just starting to figure it out.
Although we technically cross an international border when leaving the Republic of Ireland into Northern Ireland, the border is indiscernible. These are truly two separate countries with a different government, money, and stamps. Without having realized we had entered Northern Ireland, we arrived at Armagh and found ourselves by some miracle on Cathedral Road where our B&B — Desart House — was located.