Calm at The Castle

For the first few days we were in Northern Ireland, the winds were so calm you almost forgot you were at the coast. Although we were thankful there weren’t driving rains and high winds, a WEE bit of wave action would have been fun. Truly, no complaints and Dunluce Castle was spectacular!

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The Drive Into Glamis Castle

This was a wonderful castle and the drive down to it has been documented extensively on YouTube. So, of course, I just had to add my two cents. Unfortunately, the windshield (or screen as they’re called in the UK) was quite dirty.

If you listen closely at the end, I am finally giving it the correct pronunciation and it is given approval by Helen (who was driving) from Afternoon Tea Tours.

Too Many Castle Photos You Say?

Our last day in Ballintoy greeted us with more haze and clouds, but still warm and no rain! We’ve been very fortunate thus far.

This morning I tried the white pudding for breakfast and found I quite like it. White pudding is broadly similar to black pudding, but does not include blood; modern recipes consist of pork meat and fat, suet, oatmeal and breadcrumbs formed into a large sausage. It had a nice crunch and wasn’t as spicy as the black pudding from yesterday. Would I go out of my way order it again? I’m not sure, but I wouldn’t turn it down if offered.

 

We met a nice older couple from southern England over breakfast this morning and shared pleasant conversations about travel and places we’ve all visited. The O’Rourkes were lovely.

We shared our day’s plans with Theresa and she told us to take any of the breads and muffins we’d like with us for our lunch. I had just enjoyed a piece of what I believe was strawberry bread that was delicious, so I grabbed two pieces of that and two muffins. Theresa gave us a small container of butter and two plastic bags to take. Great idea!

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If you have tired of descriptions and photos of ancient castles, then look away, because this one is a doozy. Our last castle in Northern Ireland was Dunluce Castle. Even though it was abandoned in the late 1600’s it was amazing how much of this castle remains, especially with it’s ocean-side, cliff-top setting.

It has easy access and an easy-to-read map describing each area. A lot of archeological work has been done on the grounds and some of the photos and artifacts are on display.

I was fascinated with the “lodgings” or guest quarters where each room had their own fireplace. This was actually OUTSIDE the castle grounds. One of the two-feet thick walls had fallen over at some point and it has been left right where it fell.

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The views out every window and ledge were stunning. Dave and I both took so many photos from different angles and locations. We would rate this attraction high on our list of must-sees.

We kept seeing this spectacular sand beach while touring Dunluce and were able to pinpoint where it was. A short drive along the coast and there it was…just ready & waiting for us. It’s called White Rocks Beach in Portrush and it’s wonderful.

Dave and I settled into a nice spot on the sand, enjoyed the rolling waves and people watching and had our baked treats we had brought with us from the B&B. A terrific spot. And, yes, it does have white rocks,

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Our next destination was to  Carrick-a-rede rope bridge. Although both of us had already agreed we probably would NOT walk across this narrow, rope bridge, we DID want to see the way to get to it and enjoy the view on this suddenly warm, sunny day. The path TO the bridge wasn’t too bad, but it would have been a bear for both of us to complete on the way back. So we enjoyed the tremendous views.

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We went back to the B&B for a rest before dinner and the TV was on in our room. Really odd since we haven’t turned on the TV since our vacation started.

Then we went back to the Fullerton Arms for dinner. When we walked in to the place, it was noticeably quiet and dark. The power was out. Just as we were deciding what to do, the power came back on. I had fish n’ chips and it was fantastic. We then drove to Ballintoy Harbour for a final look. It was lovely being bathed with sun this time instead of haze.

We returned to B&B and the TV had come in again in our room. Then we learned there was s power outage here as well. I guess it’s not that unusual.

Dave andI go inland to Strabane tomorrow. I will miss Ballintoy, it’s scenery and the very friendly people. Thank you!

 

Day 9 Photos -Northern Ireland

Another cloudy, hazy day, but not cold and more importantly, NO RAIN!

Irish Breakfast and Basalt Columns

Unfortunately, Dave woke up not feeling well this morning with a cold. He rarely gets colds, so of course he’d get one while on vacation. He was a trooper and powered through the day as best he could.

Our room at the B&B is very nice and the mattress is terrific! The personal touches and decor make it feel like a home…which it is.

The morning started with a full-on Irish Breakfast for me. Two fried eggs, two fried tomatoes, potato scones, UK bacon (different than US), two sausages, and black pudding.

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I have tried black pudding before five years ago when we’re in Scotland the first time, but could not remember if I liked it or not. This local Irish version was quite spicy with a lot of pepper and I couldn’t finish it. We may try white pudding tomorrow. I ALMOST finished the entire plate. Almost. Dave made a lesser, but still hearty breakfast choice of eggs and bacon.

So much effort goes into providing breakfasts every morning at B&B’s and this one did not fail. Fresh jam, fruit, scones, rolls, and evens decanter filled with ice water with cucumber & mint fresh added.

It was a foggy, cloudy morning again so views aren’t as clear, but it’s not cold or raining. We have been very surprised at the calm seas and light winds. We were looking forward to some crashing surf. Nothing yet.

Theresa graciously offered to do our laundry from the first half of our trip for us. We gladly took her up on the offer! Just wonderful.

The first stop on our schedule today was to view the ruins of Dunseverick Castle. Despite being cloudy, the dramatic setting for this castle is terrific.

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Next stop was to the world-famously Giants Causeway. Steeped in local folklore and mystery, these ancient basalt columns were formed by volcanic ruptures over a period of time. It was all explained to us, but I truly don’t quite understand just how these very straight, tall, perfectly edged columns were formed, but they are VERY cool and truly fascinating to see in person.

We arrived very early, which was good because we missed some of the early bus loads of people. Our tour guide Amy was terrific and after taking the walk down to the columns, it was nice to get a bus back to visitor’s center. Dave bought me a beautiful necklace in the gift shop.

Dave was then in the market for some cold meds, so we drove into Bushmills to find a drugstore or chemist as they’re called here. Luckily, we found one and picked up some cold medicines to start kicking this.

We also stopped for a bite to eat here at The Copper Kettle and enjoyed sandwiches and soup. VERY good and it was nice to support a local establishment and not the regular bus tour place.

The Bushmills Whisky Distillery is also here. We drove to pick up a gift for people who are showing us around Ireland later in the week and I’m bought a lightweight t-shirt since I didn’t bring many cooler clothes. We did not do the tour, however. Neither one of us are huge whisky fans and after see all the tour buses there’s I’m glad we didn’t go any further than the gift shop.

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We stopped one more time at Dunseverick Castle as the sun had started to come out a little bit more and we were hoping better light. Lower tide and a little bit more light helped.

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Then we drove to view the ruins of Kinbane Castle. Our vantage point was high on a cliff looking down on what is left of a 16th Century castle built on a highly-dramatic outcrop. The steps leading down to it are very steep and the path is overly rugged. We chose not to go down to see it…mainly because it meant coming back up. Dave didn’t feel good and I was about to crash & burn…which I did.

 

We went back to the B&B and both went to bed to try and get some much-needed rest. I set the alarm for two hours. Amy had done our laundry, folded and ironed things and placed them at the foot of the bed.

We were slightly rested, then went in to town for a light dinner at the Fullerton Arms. I had fresh tomato soup with a side salad and Dave tried the seafood chowder and said it was the best he had ever had.

After dinner we came right back to B&B and the views from our room, although still cloudy, were lovely. Still light out at 9:30. I hope Dave is better tomorrow. 🤧

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