The alternative route up Slieve Donard, much favoured by the serious walkers-those with two poles each-starts from the Bloody Bridge carpark 3 miles south of Newcastle. The path in this image looks deceptively gentle and Slieve Donard (peak at top right) tantalisingly near. But the going gets rough and its a good two hours out of your life. The Bloody Bridge is so called after a massacre of Protestant prisoners in 1641 by a rebel leader Sir Conn Magennis who had news of the killing of some Catholic captives by a Protestant loyalist-and so the long century war on in a style to which Ireland got all too familiar. The old bridge is still intact (the main road crosses the new one)All very peaceful and no traces of gore remain to the disappointment of bus loads of Yuff who use the area for adventure training mostly involving wading up the Bloody Bridge River in wet suits and climbing hats-then having a good fag, a packet of crisps and a couple of lagers to recover after all that exertion.
Its a favourite walk for young couples wanting to get away into the mountains. Some one told me of accosting a pair heading for the hills. 'Are you going all the way?' he asked looking at the distant peaks. ' Hoy' said the bloke' Give us time. We have only known each other two weeks'