A Northern Irish Adventure

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To celebrate James’s successful business trip in Manila, his coming home after three long months away and to give him a chance to spend some time with his family, we decided it would be fun to go on a little holiday up to Northern Ireland to visit his lovely aunt and uncle. And since he missed the dogs so much while he was away, we decided to take them along, too! We loaded up the car with our luggage, a puppy carrier and all our other dog essentials, and off we drove to catch the ferry to Northern Ireland.

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It was late when we arrived at James’ aunt’s gorgeous house in Island Magee, so we unpacked, gave the dogs a chance to bond (she had two of her own, bringing the total up to five dogs in one house!), had a little catch up over dinner and an ice cream each from the shop down the road and then called it an early night.

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The next day, we rose early and set out to explore the Antrim coast. Fun fact: a lot of the places we visited were where scenes from Game Of Thrones were shot! After taking the dogs for a walk on the beach and collecting pebbles and shells, we drove up to visit the rope bridge connecting the mainland to the tiny island of Carrick-a-rede. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to cross it, especially since I hadn’t planned on doing it on that day and hadn’t carried my trainers. The thought of losing my footing in flip flops and falling to my death onto the rocks and the icy blue-green water below me was terrifying.

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The 1.5km walk up to the bridge gave me a bit of courage, though, but when we were actually on the bridge and it started to sway with the wind, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t terrified. There’s no way I was looking down! I eventually did make it across, but what they don’t tell you is that you have to cross the bridge again to get back! I was a lot better the second time round, though, and made it back across fairly quickly. We were really hoping to get a selfie each on the bridge, but stopping on it is forbidden and so we just had to trudge on.

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To reward ourselves, we were hoping to stop at one of the lovely seaside towns we saw on the drive up for some fish and chips. Unfortunately, most establishments only accepted cash, and since there were no ATM machines around, we made our way back home, dressed, and went out for a scrumptious meal to the Whitehead golf course, which had the most breathtaking views ever!
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The next day we dressed and drove into the center of Belfast where we visited the Titanic Museum, the exact spot the Titanic was launched from and the Nomadic, the Titanic’s tender ship. I wish I had more pictures as the experience was absolutely amazing, but the inside of a museum doesn’t always produce the best photographs. Either way, I highly recommend going if you happen to be in Belfast.

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After this, we walked to the nearby Belfast Baking Company for a quick but heavenly meal, which I not only highly recommend (you’re missing out if you haven’t tried their steak and cheese grilled sandwich), but that I can definitely say I will be visiting again the next time I am in Belfast.
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When we got home, we were telling James’ uncle about our day, when he suggested something rather adventurous – a visit to a spooky old house he knew of nearby! I absolutely love things like that and jumped at the opportunity. So we poured into his van and drove to the creepiest, yet somehow most beautiful old house with a breathtaking view of the Antrim Coast. All the features in the house looked like they were a hundred years old  and the furniture was covered in dusty white sheets. The access road wasn’t really, well, accessible due to the overgrowth and the little shed by the house was so old, the roof had collapsed. And right behind the shed was a small old staircase leading into the overgrowth and eventually to an abandoned lighthouse at the top of a hill. It felt like something right out of the books I used to read as a child.

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Later, we came back home to tale after fascinating tale about being a police officer in Northern Ireland from James’ uncle, which we enjoyed thoroughly over glasses of wine before calling it a night.

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The next morning, we decided to relax and have a leisurely breakfast to prepare for the adventurous day that lay ahead. We packed some food, gathered all five dogs and decided to have a picnic at nearby Portmuck beach with the family. However, instead of going in the car with James’ mum and aunt, we went by sea in James’ uncle’s fishing boat! This was definitely one of the biggest highlights of my trip – I absolutely loved the wind in my hair, the salt water on my lips, the waves thrashing against my hand! I can’t wait to do it again whenever we visit next!

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Following our exciting afternoon on the boat, we came back home, rested for a little while and then headed out to dinner at Billy Andy’s in Larne – a 19th-century pub / restaurant offering locally sourced dishes which you ate while you listened to live traditional Irish folk music. It was amazing – the food, the music, the atmosphere, the company and, of course, my first ever pint of Guinness!

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On our fourth and last day in beautiful Northern Ireland, we drove down to Belfast to visit the famous St. George’s Market, stopping for breakfast along the way at cafe Creed in Carrickfergus that we liked so much, we went to twice in one day. The market was big and busy, filled with locally sourced food, produce, art, jewellery, homeware and fashion. We bought a couple of little trinkets for our home, and then James spotted a handbag that was just. so. me – a clutch in the shape of my favourite book, The Devil Wears Prada (catch a glimpse of it in my Chanel post here). I bought it immediately.

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We then went on a tour of the Crumlin Road Gaol, a beautiful old Victorian prison in Belfast that was working up until 1996. In fact, James’ uncle who was a police officer often went to the prison when he was on duty. The tour was exciting, educational but also fairly graphic towards the end, so I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re faint-hearted or squeamish about capital punishment.

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We returned home to a lovely home-cooked meal by James’ aunt and spent some more time with the family before calling it a night since we had an early start the next day. I couldn’t have enjoyed my trip to Northern Ireland more. I highly recommend visiting and really want to take my mum whenever she visits next. In fact, I think the Antrim coast is actually prettier than the Amalfi coast, which is considered the most beautiful coastline in the world.

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Would you guys cross a rope bridge and visit a spooky old house? What about riding in a boat and visiting a jail? Tell me all about it in the comment box below, or chat to me on social media. I’m @bombaybubble on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. See you at the next post 🙂

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3 Comments

  1. Joyce Lee
    September 3, 2016 / 8:12 pm

    Beautiful images! I’ve never knew Belfast has so much to offer. I’d cross the rope bridge but skip the spooky house! Anything but that! haha x

  2. September 3, 2016 / 11:17 pm

    I was born and bred in Belfast, so it’s lovely to see someone else appreciating it for what it is! I feel nostalgic travelling through your words and photos!

  3. September 6, 2016 / 2:25 pm

    I did Carrick-a-Rede when I visited Northern Ireland – terrifying but absolutely worth it!

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