Thoughts on fitness, health, good nutrition ... and running.

Welcome to Bald Man Running, a blog launched by Frank Murphy on January 1, 2015.

In March, 2013 I was selected as a contestant for the sixth season of Fort Wayne's Smallest Winner. Through this amazing program, I learned about good nutrition, sound exercise and accountability. By October, I would lose over 88 pounds (almost 37% of my original weight)! One of the many things I acquired through FWSW was a love for running. You can retrace my weight loss journey and discover how I became a runner by reading those entries labeled "fwsw" ...

Note: Many of the blog entries on this website predate 1/1/2015. Prior to launching BMR, I had written articles for various projects, and I have imported many of them into this blog (labeled "retro").

Monday, April 17, 2023

Ireland - Day 8

Full photo album - https://photos.app.goo.gl/k5xASHNbPT9gMUdA6

Highlights: Clochafarmore, Dundalk, Cloughmore, Kilbroney, Knockbridge

Today's a big day! It's all about Cú Chulainn and Narnia!

Clochafarmore - This was one of my bucket list items ... it's where Cú Chulainn died. He was treacherously attacked by a doo-doo head named  Lugaid mac Con Roí. Wounded by a magical spear, he ties himself to this stone with his intestines so that he wouldn't fall over. After he finally died, Lugaid approached his corpse to cut off his head, but his sword hand spasmed and he sliced Lugaid's hand off.

The stone is called a menhir and Clochafarmore literally means "stone of the big man." FWIW, I was able to translate that by myself. I had all those words in my vocabulary. It is in a field known as An Breisleach Mór, which means "Great Carnage."

Next stop: Dundalk. The home city of Cú Chulainn. 

It's a nice city and a bit larger than I expected. Joe Biden has relatives from the area and he visited shortly before I did.

The site of Cú's home is Dún Dealgan Motte. There's remnants of a castle on the site, but Cú never lived there. That was built much later. But you can see the circular mound of earth that surrounds the site. That's the remains of his home.

Funny thing happened on my way to the castle ... I had parked about 1.5 miles away was planning on walking through town to get there. About halfway there, I got to a heavy construction site ... road graders, jack hammers, etc. I asked if I could walk through, and the foreman said, "yeah sure ... just don't get hit in the head." I walked through that zone without a hard hat (over half a mile long). I can't imagine that sort of thing flying here in the US.

Walking around Dundalk, and what do I see? It's sometimes hard to tell ... it's probably a rook, but maybe it's a crow? Morrígan perhaps?

To a lesser extent than Derry, Dundalk is still a city of murals. Here's Cú Chulainn with a camman and a sliotar. For all of his fame as a warrior, he was also quite the hurler. I enjoyed walking around town and exploring a bit. It's a neat town.

Kilbroney Park - this place was special in so many ways. C. S. Lewis visited here often as a child and it inspired his descriptions of Narnia. This is about as Narnia as you can get and not actually be there. There are a lot of trails in the area and I spent a few hours exploring. The influence of Lewis is apparent throughout the area.


The story goes that Fionn threw a huge rock from the mountain (a tip of which is barely visible in the fog) from across the bay onto this mountain. Clochmore means "big rock" and that's it below.


The Narnia Trail - the folks at Kilbroney have developed a short trail that features a number of Narnia landmarks. I'm not gonna exaggerate here ... this might have been my A1 place on the "must see" list. 

Entering Narnia right through the front door ... 

... and what do I see? A lamp post? Yes.

First stop? Let's see if Mr. Tumnus is home ...

The wolves were out ... but I showed this one who's boss.

One of the dryads ... take that, Trumpkin! Here's photographic evidence that they're real!

I have no idea who this is supposed to be. It wasn't labeled.

The Stone Table ... I'd expected it to be cracked, but it wasn't ... so I'm guessing this is a replica.

The park was beautiful in April ... I'm assuming it gets prettier in full bloom.

Aslan! Of course, it wasn't safe to give him a hug, but it sure was good!

The castle of the White Witch ... I didn't see Jadis around, so that's a good thing.

Sitting in the throne of High King Peter.

It's a very nice park with a wonderful little bistro. I had a nice lunch in Narnia with a beautiful view.

This is Old Homer. It won the 2016 Northern Irish Tree of the Year award, but only came in sixth for the 2017 European Tree of the Year. It's got strong "learning tower" vibes, so they've got to prop it up with a steel structure.

The nearby town is Rostrevor. I enjoyed walking around here too ... very nice Narnia-themed artwork throughout town. I saw a sign that said "bookmaker" and thought it would be cool to go into a bookmaker's shop on the outskirts of Narnia ... turns out it's an establishment for gambling. My bad.

Visibility was limited, so seeing from the Mourne side of Carlingford Lough I then went to the other side (the Cooley Peninsula) and hoped I'd be able to see things from side. No dice. The cloud cover and fog was just as bad.

I intended to hike to the summit of Slieve Foye, but I got up high enough that I was above the cloud line. Visibility was bad enough that I opted to turn around and head back down. It didn't seem prudent to do so while alone and evening approaching.

I capped off  the night watching peil (Gaelic football) and hurling in the city of Knockbridge. The teams playing peil were teenage girls and the hurlers were pre-teen boys, so I didn't take too many pictures.


I did want to watch these games in person, but it was hard to find scheduled games during my visit. I did find these kids games on the schedule on an evening that I was close and free. I contacted the coaching staff and asked if it was okay to visit the pitch, and they were very gracious. The fact that I don't understand the rules that well made it a little more engaging ... 

In a way, I think that was more rewarding than watching the big leagues. This is Cú's backyard ... he earned his name with a hurling stick in his hand before he was a teenager. To watch kids of his age playing his game in his homeland was really cool ...

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