Faughill, stands at the northern end of the Gap of the North (or Moyry Pass) and is one of the many smaller outliers on the Ring of Gullion. Despite, it’s small size, it has seen more than it’s fair share of action down through history, not least at the once world famous Sunday market at Jonesborough!
Following Harry Goodman's advice I asked permission at the house mentioned and was also readily welcomed (once I didn't have a dog as there are sheep on the hill) and invited to park in their yard. They sell free range eggs at a good price, so it is always nice to reciprocate good will! The summit area shows little evidence of the watchtower that once existed on it and it is a very pleasant little summit plateau with great views of the area.
I can’t remember what was on the flagpole at the summit, I can however put forward a few possibilities for it. Until 2006 watchtower Romeo Two One stood on it’s summit, so the flag was planted after that. It could have been an Armagh flag, for their Ulster final appearances in 06 or 08. The local club are Dromintee, so it could have been for their Armagh Senior final appearance in 2010, (when Crossmaglen Rangers inevitably won!). Or it could have been a tricolour, given the politics of the area.
Long, long before the current border the hills, bogs, lakes and forests of this land created a natural barrier to Ulster, meaning that the only two places to gain access to the province were at Ballyshannon or the Gap of the North. One of the five ancient roads to Tara (oh no, he didn’t mention that hill again!) came from Antrim through the gap. While most of the action and events associated with the gap happened on the southern end of it near Faughart there was one major incident in 1690 at the foot of this hill, when Jacobites ambushed a patrol party of King Billy’s, who had set up camp in Newry. Many of James’ generals had wanted to face William at the gap, but the less than tactically astute James decided the Boyne would be a better spot! How history might have changed if the battle had of been at the northern rather than the southern end of Louth?
In more recent years this hill saw further ambushes. In fact three of the most significant incidents of the entire troubles happened within a 3.5km radius of this hill. The ambush spot for Superintendent’s Breen and Buchanan of the RUC was chosen because it was a “dead spot” (blind spot) from the aforementioned tower. Only two km away and in clear view of the tower Lord Chief Justice Sir Maurice Gibson and his wife were blown up. While Captain Nairac of the SAS is said to have made his final journey near the foot of the hill before being executed just south of the border, in the shadow of Feede mountain. Thankfully the peace process brought this list to an end and the likes of us being able to access a hill is one of the minor benefits it has brought in the overall scheme of things. Long live the peace. Linkback: mountainviews.ie/summit/1225/comment/15899/