UP HILL and down dale: The Mourne Wall stretches for 22 miles around the Silent Valley reservoir in the Mountains of Mourne. PHOTO: EDDIE WILSON

Where the dark Mourne sweeps down to the sea

32 counties in 32 months: A short visit to County Down gives a glimpse of a beautiful county.

IT SEEMED like a good idea at the time. Why not visit a county every month until we had set foot in all 32. It should take about three years, allowing for the occasional month in which such a trip would not be possible.

We even drew a list of counties, in random order. Top of the list was Down, followed by … no, let that be a surprise.

Then all of a sudden the end of January loomed, and it was make your mind up time. With just the last weekend remaining, and the Percy French song on our lips, we plumped for Newcastle, the seaside resort in the shadow of Slieve Donard.

Because it’s there that the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea, inspiring Percy to write the song that became a hit for the American singer Don McLean in 1973, almost 80 years after it was written...

For more, pick up this week's The Tuam Herald or log onto our digital edition HERE.