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.Hilton Park has been in Madden’s family since it was built in 1734.
I also visit County Leitrim and County Westmeath, two other counties virtually ignored by the majority of travellers.
I’ve been led to believe that here is where the ‘real old Ireland’ still exists.
Hustled on to a tourist bus which transports visitors to and from the official visitor centre and the site itself, it heads to the site by the road I had mistakenly used an hour before.
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.
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.