I couldn’t count the number of times I’ve driven past a signpost on the way to or from Dublin that says, ‘Bernish Viewpoint’, and thought to myself, “sometime I must explore that”. Well earlier this week on my way back from Dublin, I did. And I wasn’t disappointed.
Bernish Viewpoint is just a few miles off the main carriageway close to Newry, albeit it was a few miles of a single lane, twisty, steep and bumpy road. But it is manageable since the destination isn’t too far away and the local Council has provided a nice car park and other facilities to accommodate visitors.
The view was indeed rewarding. Of course, I wouldn’t have made the trip if I hadn’t been travelling with the camera on board. I had packed it deliberately that morning in the knowledge that I’d be returning in the afternoon, and although showers were forecast, so too was sunshine. From experience I’ve learned that sometimes days like this, between the showers, can reveal a spectacular quality of light on the landscape, even much better than a hot summer day with all sunshine and often an undesirable accompanying ‘haze’. Judging by the light I was observing on the surrounding hills as I made the journey between Dundalk and Newry, I was optimistic that the time was right to discover what this Bernish Viewpoint had to offer. I would procrastinate no longer.
This short detour on my way home made me realise that Northern Ireland has a number of ‘gems’ that we take for granted. As it turned out, Bernish, as good as it was, wasn’t even the highlight. Close by is an ancient Cairn, at Ballymacdermot – an extremely well preserved Neolithic burial site with three chambers, dated between 4000 and 2500 BC. The marriage of historic interest with scenic beauty make this a truly amazing location. Yes, I’ve got the photos and will share these later.
Driving home after this experience made me think of another roadside sign that I’d seen on the journey: It read, “Ring of Gullion Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty”. Yes, my appetite has been whetted. I know I’ll be back for a more thorough exploration of this whole area, and might even bring the camera.