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My jaunt around the back roads of Ireland begins in Dublin.
Heading north from Dublin's northern suburbs en route to Drogheda and my first stop, the Newgrange tumulus, I make the first of innumerable wrong turns.
Carlingford isn’t big enough in which to get lost but a derelict castle in prime position overlooking the loch evokes feelings of times lost to history.
Signage at this castle is scant, much of it is barred from exploration and local residents have used it as something of a trysting place, condom wrappers tossed into stony corners indicating that a lonely castle conveniently located close to the town centre also has advantages other than links to historical roots.
By all means stop for at least an hour at the excellent visitor centre (there’s a decent cafe here too) and read all there is about ancient Ireland in preparation for exploring Newgrange itself.
The tumulus’ (mound) history is entirely fascinating after greater understanding of its origin, purpose and importance to early inhabitants is clearly understood.
If only I’d paid attention to directions indicating all visitors must report to the visitor centre to visit the archaeological site, I would have saved myself an hour of lost time.Hilton Park has been in Madden’s family since it was built in 1734.