“Did she really just say that Fairies would roll our car up a magic hill?” I asked my husband as we walked away, detailed directions in hand for a pleasant afternoon of driving to the Spelga Dam magic hill in the Northern Ireland countryside. A daytrip from Dublin had brought us into Northern Ireland. We had stopped in a tourist information office looking for advice about how to spend our short time.
Continue on down for THIS post for more ideas about our favorite places to visit on a daytrip from Dublin:
- Ireland Itinerary: An Overnight Itinerary for Seeing the Best Neolithic Passage Tombs in Ireland
- Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin: At the Crossroads of History in Ireland
- Where to Find the Best Fish and Chips in Dublin
The friendly woman at the tourist information office had sketched out a route that would take us to the Silent Valley Reservoir for some hiking, followed by an excursion to a nameless road next to a dam somewhere past the Reservoir. Oh, and there is a cottage nearby. Great. SUPER vague directions.
We were directed to back our car in to this un-named road and take the parking brake off. “Do you think it is some sort of a practical joke that they play on tourists?” We were going to follow our directions as given, but were dubious about the outcome being as expected.
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Getting to the Magic Hill Northern Ireland
We enjoyed a pleasant visit to the Silent Valley Reservoir in Northern Ireland (just north of Dundalk, over the border) and we continued down the road, obediently following the directions. S curves…sharp left turn…cottage…I think we are close. Wait, there is where we are supposed to turn…on the left! We had found the Spelga Dam Magic Hill!
We were promised that if we backed our car in and took the parking brake off, it would roll by itself up the hill. She told us that she herself had done this recently, and it worked as expected. I was still skeptical. “We are not sure if it is the fairies, or something to do with the magnetism of the dam,” she explained to us.
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You can see for yourself the results in the video below. We had indeed not been led astray. For all intents and purposes, it really appears that the car is rolling uphill (and I promise that we were doing nothing to cause it to do such. The car was in neutral and the parking brake was off.) Definitely add this to your list of what to see in Northern Ireland !
Directions for duplicating our daytrip from Dublin to the Spelga Dam Magic Hill
(we started our adventure in Newcastle and proceeded to the Silent Valley Reservoir and then the Spelga Dam Magic Hill, ending in Newry, but you could easily reverse the directions and start in Newry, ending in Newcastle.)
- From Newcastle, head south on the A2/Glassdrumman Road.
- Make a right onto Quarter Road (you will see a gas station right before the turn. I believe it was called the Quarter Road Gas Station). The road will curve abruptly left and will then turn into Head Road. Continue until you see the pull in for the Silent Valley Reservoir on the right.
- When you are ready to leave the reservoir, make a right out of the parking lot and continue down the road. Shortly after pulling out of the reservoir, you will need to make a right turn. There was a sign at the turn for the Spelga Dam. It was very easy to follow. You will be staying on Head Road (the same road that you turned out of the reservoir onto).
- Continue on this road until you reach the Spelga Dam.
- On the left, just after the dam, you will see a hidden pull off (I believe that there was a white cottage just before this, like a dam keeper’s cottage). It is a dead end. Back your car down the road until it is at the bottom of the hill.
- Now, put your car in neutral and take the parking brake off. Your car will roll, unaided, up the hill.
- When you are ready to leave, continue on down the road. It will take you through Hilltown and to Newry, where you can continue on with your sightseeing.
View Silent Valley Reservoir and Spelga Dam in a larger map