Sunday, 27 January 2019

Dublin, Howth and homeward bound

We departed Belfast after our black cab tour for Dublin, drove to Dunkeld, where we stopped for lunch, I got the opportunity to visit an op shop, farmers market and a couple of shoe shops.
I am still hunting for my red mid calf ankle boots, there are plenty of sales on 50 to 70% off, but all the red boots are higheels, not good for my old nursing feet.
I did manage to buy a burgundy ankle length pair of shoes in Spain, not what I was after as
 I requested mid calf red leather boots and a red leather jacket for my 40th (ruby) wedding anniversary present instead of a ruby ring.
Having difficulty acquiring both, time has passed and it will be a dim memory when I get back to the heat of Australia, that would be the last thing I need, at least until winter.
On arrival into Dublin, we parked the car, walked the short distance to our air B&B on Patrick St, right in the centre of Dublin, got comfortable with this beautiful decore, the boys took the car back to the airport and Cara and I went to an Oxfam op shop and a gorgeous gallery, drool, so want to bring some of the art home.

These little people are the work of an artist called Brigit Beemster, they are pottery and have bamboo legs, the feet that they stand on are also pottery. The other impressive work were the pottery animals.

This rabbit stole my heart,  artist is Ostenilli and Priest, if I had not bought my ice queen, it may have come home with me, dare not tell DH.

When the boys came back from dropping off the car, we all went out to an Irish pub that had traditional food, Irish music and some dancing.
On Saturday went on our exploration of Dublin.

The Temple Bar area, we spent an hour exploring this area, went to a fresh food market, the kids went to the trinity College and did the tour and see the book of Kells, DH and I went to have tea and do a spot of shopping.

The maze at Dublina

Women just talking, note the Arnott s on the bag, not biscuits but the actual name of a clothing store in Dublin.

More bars in Temple Bar, lots of bars and nice shops, not very busy in the morning, but later around lunch time, the place was humming.

Butlers chocolate, DIL, was keen to sample all the chocolates from Ireland, she only likes 
dark chocolate as well, where I prefer the milk or white chocolate.

The Dublina

More bars in Temple Bar

The Olympia Theatre 

Writers street

Cogarty and Joyce I presume, seated   At the
named pub

Whilst the 
kids went to visit The Trinity College and the book of Kells, I volunteered to cook dinner, rabbit was on the menu, two ways, one with a tomato based sauce the other with peas and gravy, cooked the  traditional Maltese  way

As bought from the butcher, good value for €11

Tomato sauce

On Sunday I visited Dublina, the exhibition of Vikings, the boys did the Guinness factory tour and Cara did the Italian quarter, we all then met and caught the DART out to Howth, apparently there is a good market and pubs.

Inside the Dublina at the Viking exhibition 

View from the grand tower

The Viking age

Lovely stained glass windows

More from the Dublina

Today was a cold windy day with a chill factor of-4, it was not a good day to visit a seaside area with the winds, we enjoyed the visit and the meal at Abbey Rd tavern.

Boats and sea

A very scary shark

An old graveyard in Howth

View from the grand tower

More sculptures around Dublin.

Dublin  sculptures

Shark cafe in Howth
Well Dublin it has been great, for tomorrow we start our journey home. We fly to Paris from Dublin to catch our flight home, it has been a wonderful and cultural 7 weeks travelling, Europe and the UK, visiting friends and travelling with our kids, until next time,  for now it is time to go home, recharge our batteries for our trip to South Africa in May..

Friday, 25 January 2019

Giants Causeway and our Game of Thrones hunt.

After our fun filled exploration day in Belfast, the next day we all packed into the car to drive up the Antrim coast and Giants Causeway. It was not one of the best days for weather, sleeting, fresh fallen snow and poor visibility, not great for sightseeing, but when in Ireland in Winter, you just have to take the good with the bad.
The roads are also quite narrow and not the best to drive on when it is slippery with ice, the temperature was 2degrees.
We were on the hunt for the Games of Throne, (GOT) film locations on our way to The Giants Causeway.
First stop was Dark Hedges, called the Kings Road in GOT. These beautiful beech trees were planted a couple of centuries ago by the  Stuart family, they wanted a magnificent entry to their mansion, Gracehill House, to impress their visitors, it certainly impressed me.
In 2016 there was a storm and some of these beautiful trees were blown over, so about 10 door were made from the wood, depicting the GOT iconic symbols.

 The Dark Hedges, also known as The Kings Road in GOT


This is one of the doors, No 6 at the Fullerton Arms in Ballintoy on the Antrim coast road. House of Targaryen, specifically Drogon, Daenerys most agressive dragon.

I thought it was a turtle, but alas it was a rock

The entry and visitors centre at the Giants Causeway.

The Giants boot at the Giants Causeways 

Part of the Giant Causeway

Alex on The granite  steps.

Rock formation on the coast road.

Our guide on the Giants Causeway, irelands 
first UNESCO world heritage site.

I did not walk on them, as they were very smooth as well as slippery.

 After our guided tour of the Giants Causeway we drove up to the furthest most tip of Northern Ireland to Bushrope, where again we stumbled upon another great restaurant, offering £5 lunches with the most amazing desserts

 I did not partake of this great display of desserts, very full from my shepherds pie.

My shepherds pie, for one it was two meals.
After lunch we drove to the famous Bushropes golf course, where the British open will be played in July.

The famous Bushropes golf club and grounds

The golf course.

Not a great day, but a beautiful  golf course 

and there was even people playing golf on this miserable day.

DH would love this red phone box

 We visited the Bushmills whiskey distillery.

We did not 
purchase any whiskey.

Carrick-a-Rede, this is where the rope bridge is, it spans 20mtrs and the depth is 30mtrs, we arrived a little late for us to walk across the bridge, I was not too upset about not walking across due to the inclement weather

 This beautiful cliff line is also in the GOT,  not sure which scene, lost my information brochure

After our visit to Carrick-a-Rede, we made our way back to Belfast, our visit is coming to an end, in the morning we will do the Black cab tour. 
We were picked up by the cabbie and he took us around to the peace walls, housing estates of the Catholics and Protestant ‘s, we looked at all the murals painted and dedicated to fallen heroes. And not so fallen heroes 
We were also taken to Bombay Street, where all the houses were burnt down and a memorial garden has been built.

Part of the peace wall.

Our black cabbie.

William of Orange.

 These murals are in the housing estates

Peace wall.

After this informative tour, we visited the Ulster museum to view the GOT tapestry, it is 253foot long, hard to get it all in the photo..

The GOT tapestry at the Ulster museum.

.unwanted woman sculptures in Belfast,  near the shopping centre.
Time to say goodbye to Northern Island and hello Dublin.