What to see in Northern Ireland: Let the Fairies Roll Your Car Uphill at Spelga Dam

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“Did she really just say that Fairies would roll our car up a hill?” I asked my husband as we walked away, detailed directions in hand for a pleasant afternoon of driving through the Northern Ireland countryside. We had driven to Northern Ireland on a day trip from Dublin.  We had stopped in a tourist information office looking for advice about what to see in Northern Ireland.

What to see in Northern Ireland

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 name less 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.

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!


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The Mourne Wall at the Silent Valley Reservoir, created to enclose the reservoir catchement area

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 adventure (you, too can have your car rolled uphill by fairies!):

(we started our adventure in Newcastle and proceeded to the Silent Valley Reservoir and then the Spelga Dam, ending in Newry, but you could easily reverse the directions and start in Newry, ending in Newcastle.)

  1. From Newcastle, head south on the A2/Glassdrumman Road.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. Continue on this road until you reach the Spelga Dam.
  5. 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.
  6. Now, put your car in neutral and take the parking brake off.  Your car will roll, unaided, up the hill.
  7. 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

For more ideas about  what to see in Northern Ireland or the rest of Ireland, check out these other high quality posts:

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What to see in Northern Ireland: Let the Fairies Roll Your Car Uphill at Spelga Dam

2 Responses

  1. That’s an unusual story! I hope you’ll contribute to next month’s carnival too. 🙂

    Andrea May 1, 2012 at 4:47 pm #
  1. Carnival of Europe #1 | Destination Europe - May 1, 2012

    […] presents Unique Things to do in Northern Ireland: Let the Fairies Roll Your Car Uphil Spelga Dam posted at There and Back Again: Tales of a Travel […]

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