Monday, 5 August 2013

Earlier This Summer ....

A very belated post about our holiday earlier this summer, just before the heatwave,  in north Antrim.
It was the first time in several years that we didn't go abroad and also the first time that Fudge, our three  year old Labrador, went on holidays with us.

Do you have a favourite place to go? A place which never disappoints?  A place which takes your breath away and leaves you feeling refreshed? That place for us is Ballycastle, a small seaside village with a beautiful beach and stunning views to Rathlin Island and the Scottish coast.

It's a place rich in history and legend, one of which, The Children of Lir, is recalled in this
elegant piece of public art. I love how the swans, Fionnuala and her brothers, appear to fly over Fair Head.

I love walking along the strand, catching glimpses of Rathlin Island or looking back at the stunning Antrim coast.

Away from the seafront, the village is quite charming and manages to cater for tourists without losing its character.

We travelled over the Rathlin Island for the first time this year - and thanks to Fudge we got talking to lots of other passengers on the ferry. Aren't dogs just the best conversation openers?

The only inhabited island off the coast of Northern Ireland, Rathlin has a small community of around 100 people which increases during the summer season.
The island has three lighthouses. It was near to this one, the East Lighthouse, that Marconi sent his first telegraph messages.
The dramatic coastline is home to thousands of seabirds, including puffins, and a colony of seals.
We had lunch at McCuaig's Bar, the island's only pub, and I had the tastiest panini outside of Italy!
We then walked around the bay to see the seals.

The old Manor House is now run by the National Trust and serves as accommodation for visitors. While we didn't stay overnight on the island, we enjoyed a cup of tea on the lawn outside the house.

Although the north Antrim coast is most famous for the Giant's Causeway, we've seen it so many times that we decided to give it a miss. Instead we visited the ruins of Dunluce Castle, where, according to legend, the kitchen, cooks, pots and pans, went crashing into the sea during a terrible storm.

We stopped off and enjoyed the tranquility of the tiny Ballintoy Harbour.

We walked along the magnificent White Park Bay, marvelling at the crashing waves, so big compared to  the ones that lap our secluded coast.

We drove down the coast to the pretty village of Cushendun and clamoured down to its 'Pudding Stone' caves.

Gaelic culture is alive and well in Cushendall in the heart of The Glens with its old watch tower.
The sun reappeared by the time we got to Carnlough with its quaint harbor
At the end of each day's exploring, we were glad to go back to the delightful cottage we had rented and Fudge made himself at home in front of the fire.


  1. I really enjoyed my visit to your post first thing this morning. Some beautiful pics - it seems a secret gem of as place - and just my type of perfect holiday destination.

  2. thanks for the visual tour of your vacation. Really beautiful place and it sure does look relaxing.

  3. The Antrim coast really is lovely...We were on a bus tour when I went and we did the Giants Causeway (amazing) and Dunluce Castle but didn't really get a chance to visit some of the small villages. Another 'note to self' when I come back one day to see these quaint villages and to step onto Rathlin Island and not view it from a distance! Thanks for the breath of North .Irish air this morning

  4. Gorgeous photos, it looks a beautiful part of the world.

  5. Really enjoyed reading that, Mairead - I've never been there, but have seen lots of pictures of Dunluce, and heard the legends. I love the sculpture of the children of Lir, and the small villages look picturesque and lovely to visit.

  6. What a wonderful post, thank you :) And I had no idea Rathlin existed so I've not only been entertained - okay, made green with envy thinking how nice it would be to get away to these places - but learned something new too :)

  7. Oh I loved this post! Cushendun and Cushendall! Looking just how I remember. Ballintoy - breath-taking. We'll be visiting NI soon - you've made me feel excited about going. Beautiful photographs. Thank you. :-)

  8. So much beauty up your way, you really have done justice to it on your photographic tour. Rathlin really interests me I have never been there....and Fudge....what a cutie!! Good to have you back!!

  9. Lovely photos Mairead. Now I've got more places to add to my list of places to visit!

  10. A fine blog you have there! Particularly enjoyed the glimpses of Rathlin Island, a place which rarely seems to get a mention except when there's an election and they say the votes for Rathlin Island still remain to be counted.


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