Ballyshannon ⇒ Donegal ⇒ Stranorlar ⇒ Derry ⇒ Strabane ⇒ Omagh ⇒ Ballygawley ⇒ Aughnacloy ⇒ Monaghan ⇒ Castlebayny ⇒ Carrickmacross ⇒ Ardee ⇒ Slane ⇒ Dublin... I was picked up by a red-headed Donegal family on their way to Derry. They remind me now of the Weasley's from Harry Potter. So this is where all the redheads were — Donegal County, Ireland. The Romans and Brits had driven them as far northwest as possible from their aboriginal home in France.

The Donegal family dropped me off in the middle of Derry, as the Free Irish call it, and Londonderry as we foreigners call it. The Irish dislike any name with London in it. Northern Ireland is a different country and was particularly scary back in '75. Black and Tan soldiers harnessing machine guns were everywhere amongst the barbed wire and a tank or two. Decided to get out of Northern Ireland as soon as possible. It was beginning to look too much like upper Manhattan. But there were no friendly faces anywhere and no cars stopped. Everyone was eyeing me suspiciously as if I were carrying a bomb or something. I started walking, hoping I could walk out of this unhappy country by nightfall.


At last, a courageous postman picked me up and drove me to the border where I exited the nightmare called Ulster. He explained why I had had no ride offers. People were frightened by my backpack. It might have a bomb in it, or something — like yesterday's kidney pie? Originally, I had planned to visit Belfast and hitch down the east coast to Dublin, but not now. Northern Ireland is about the size of Connecticut and I was in the western part of it. Did not care to see any of its other parts. Ironic that the most friendly country and the most unfriendly country both share the same small island. There is a long lecture full of blarney as to why this is, but I shall spare ye.


After 220 miles today, arrived in Dublin.
Thus ended my scariest day.
Soldiers with guns are scarier than oceans.