After a busy day of winding roads and a large fish ‘n chips dinner last night, I think we both slept very well. Dave and I did extra packing this morning because not only were we leaving the B&B, but because we were catching a flight to Belfast, Northern Ireland mid-afternoon.
Breakfast was lovely. I had French toast that was fantastic and Dave had yummy sausages, eggs, potato scone, and baked beans. An extremely nice couple from Switzerland was also staying at the B&B and soon joined us for breakfast. They were on their way to hike the West Highland Way and spoke very good English, so we had a nice conversation.
We said goodbye to our hosts and set out to find the elusive Buchanan Castle. It’s technically not a castle, but a rather large & imposing estate. They ran out of money, the roof was removed in 1955 so they wouldn’t have to pay taxes, and eventually the entire thing fell into disrepair after being abandoned.
After some exploration in the car, we finally discovered its hiding place amongst the trees on the grounds of Buchanan Golf Coarse. The remains are truly just that…remains and ruins of what used to be a beautiful estate. Dave wondered into the woods, explored, and took many photos. He said it was huge. I stayed in the car because I wasn’t wearing shoes appropriate for walking in muddy woods. Dave said it was sad to see it.
We had originally planned to go to one more castle today, but time was running short, so we decided to head straight to the Glasgow airport for our flight to Belfast. This would be Dave’s first try at driving in a larger city and on major routes. He did great though and we were successful in dropping our car off at the car return.
The flight was a very quick 20 minute trip and Belfast was sunny & very warm when we arrived. Our new rental car in Northern Ireland is a diesel Audi Q3. Pretty nice!
Our first night in NI would be in Carrickfergus, north of Belfast and there was a lovely drive to get there. Dave did a good job getting us out of Belfast,
We checked in to the Premier Inn. We received one of their newer rooms that had a great view of the Carrickfergus castle. Yes…the castle. However, the lift (elevator) was broken and the luggage had to be hauled up two floors. Thankfully we’ve done a better job of packing this trip.
The room is great! The bed was pretty hard, however. The bathroom was very nice as was the interior decor, but the highlight for me was the vanity shelving unit. I don’t know what else to call it, but it’s brilliant! A place to hang your khairdryer, outlets within the unit for electronic hair accessories, a shelf to place makeup and makeup lights built into the mirror. EVERY hotel should have one of these. And only in Ireland would you find a bottle cap opener hung in the business desk!
Since the weather was stunning and we needed to walk, we walk over to the castle and explored. What a fascinating piece of history. Parts of the castle are 800 years old and it is one of the most intact Norman castles in Britain and Ireland. We thought it was very well done and enjoyed it. Terrific views too.
We came back to the hotel for dinner where I had a chicken pesto pie and Dave had a burger. Then, we called it s night. So far, Northern Ireland has been very good to us, and except for one snippy guy at the car rental, everyone we’ve spoken to has been lovely. We’re looking forward to exploring the country!