countryside


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In my last post I hoped for better weather, well my wish came true, we really couldn’t have had better weather for Easter and with my Hb off for the week we made the most of our days.

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After a lovely lunch out on Easter Sunday we headed to Hillborough Forest park for a walk, where nature was beginning to wake up.

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We took a walk around the historic village of Hillsborough too, this is the Queen’s official residence in Northern Ireland.

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Divis Mountain, the highest peak in the Belfast Hills was our destination on another day out.

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And as you can see we made to the summit (that makes it sound like Everest!), not too hard really and the thought of the flask of tea and the chocolate Easter egg in my Hb’s backpack to enjoy at the top, spurred us me on!!

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The views of Belfast city from the top of Divis are pretty amazing!

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If you’ve ever flown into Belfast International Airport you will flown round behind this mountain and if you’ve never flown into Belfast International, then why not???? Come and visit us, it’s lovely here and we’re very friendly! :)

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On another daytrip we drove through Carrickfergus on our way to Whitehead, Carrickfergus has a brilliant Norman castle.

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Belfast Lough looked almost Mediterranean on that day!!

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In Whitehead they like to paint their houses pretty colours, some bright and ………………

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……………….some pastel.

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This is Portmore Nature Reserve which is run by the RSPB, it was on the BBC’s Countryfile programme a few weeks back where they featured Irish Hares which are flourishing there. We thought we would pay them a visit in the hope of seeing some. Sadly not, the hares live beyond the lapwings breeding area and no one was getting anywhere near that at this time of year and rightly so, I would have liked to have seen the hares though.

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On the way back from Portmore we drove around the shore of Lough Neagh, the grasses were very pretty in the sunshine.

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The gorgeous weather has meant some garden time too which has been great.

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There have even been opportunities for some stash enhancement over the past week too because you know how it is, I have very little yarn! ;)

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And of course I have made time for some bunny making as well, with a start made on the April Girls.

All in all it has been a lovely Easter with temperatures reaching 20 degrees C on most days, my favourite time of year was certainly everything I hoped it would be.

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The European Heritage Open Days were held here this weekend, it’s a time when all over Europe historical and famous buildings throw their doors open to the public.

We always like to pick somewhere we haven’t been before and this year we chose to visit the beautiful Florence Court, near Enniskillen in County Fermanagh.

Florence Court was the 18th century home of the Earls of Enniskillen.

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We started off our visit with a picnic in the grounds in the brilliant sunshine, the weather was very kind to us, big cheer for Indian Summers.

We then took a tour of the house.

Florence Court Collage

Now as is almost always the case with all these magnificent buildings there was no photography allowed inside the house except in the room that the tour started in.

So you’re just going to have to take my word for it that it was indeed magnificent.

There were many treasures from a trunk that belonged to William III to a chair that the Earl sat on in Westminster Abbey at the coronation of Elizabeth II. So many interesting artifacts and beautiful furniture.

I really loved the ‘downstairs’ it was so very Downton Abbey, the kitchen where the food was prepared, the rooms where the servants ate and where they filled hot water jars and oil lamps for ‘upstairs’, all fascinating.

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After the tour of the house we went back out into the sunshine to enjoy the grounds and gardens.

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Now at first sight this tree doesn’t look very significant. It’s an Irish yew tree which is a different species to the English Yew, this particular yew is the mother plant of every other Irish yew tree in existence throughout the world today. It dates back to between 1740 and 1760.

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I’m not sure how much of this plaque you can read but it explains the history of the tree.

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I was so jealous of their pumpkins, considering the fact that mine never got beyond the flower stage!!

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It was a lovely day out, Florence Court is definitely worth a visit.

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We’ve had some lovely days out during my Hb’s time off work!

There have been visits to parks, woods, the seaside, gardens, mountains and canal tow paths.

We’ve played in mazes and with sun dials (I liked the human one best), we’ve looked down on the city from on high and over the sea towards Scotland, we’ve walked through trees, up mountains, beside rivers and canals and the sea. We’ve had lovely meals out, picnics and ice creams, there has been sunshine and showers but most of all we’ve taken time to smell the roses (and other flowers too)!

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sun dial Collage

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black mountain flora Collage

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bangor castle Collage

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bangor castle 2 Collage

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I wish it could be summer all the time!!! :)

Photos taken at ~ Carnfunnock Country Park, Larne, Co Antrim : Black Mountain, Belfast, Co Antrim : Newry Canal Tow Path, Co Armagh : Groomsport, Co Down : Bangor Castle Walled Garden, Bangor, Co Down : Clare Glen, Tandragee, Co Armagh

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At this time of the year my husband always takes some time off work, it’s a stay at home holiday with lots of days out and about.

On Saturday past we had a lovely picnic in a country lane among honeysuckle and wild roses and then visited the lovely Antrim Castle Gardens, a favourite of ours, which we enjoyed in a mixture of sunshine and showers.

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We have another nine days stretching out in front of us with lots of little outings planned, fingers crossed for lots of sunshine! :)

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I think if I were to be asked what my favourite month of the year is the answer would have to be May, all that greenery, all those blooms and blossoms and all that promise!

Nowhere better to see all of this than a walk in ‘my park’, would you like to join me for a little stroll?

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Beautiful cow parsley, loved by all!

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Still lots of bluebells.

Bluebell May14 Collage

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Wild garlic, not as pretty a scent as the bluebells but stunning all the same.

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Conkers in-the-making!

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Dandelions, before………………

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………………..and after!

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And the one arrival that says it’s definitely May, the beautiful hawthorn or mayflower, so, so pretty!

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How could that amazing blossom not inspire a new bunny!

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This is May, named after the month she was ‘born’ in and the gorgeous mayflowers that this lovely month brings!

Happy Tuesday lovely people! :)

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The fields of oilseed rape are in full bloom at the moment and I have to say they are quite spectacular, the road that this field is on has fields of the crop on both sides and the colour is quite breath taking.

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The smell of the crop is not quite as nice as the colour though, it has a strange scent and I have to say I’m quite glad I don’t live beside the fields.

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I am a big fan of the oil that it produces though and as a vegetarian I think it makes the best roast potatoes!

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Lots of yellow in the garden too, which is just as well as the skies are still grey!!

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I found plenty of yellow in my latest park walk too.

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So why so much yellow today, well over on Facebook this week the lovely Emma of Hole House has been having a rainbow week with each colour of the rainbow being featured on a different day. I was asked if I would like to join in and as much as I would have loved to have had something for each day, that wasn’t possible so I picked Wednesday which was ‘yellow day’ as I have had a little girl that I wanted to make in my head for a while now and this was her time!

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I’d like you all to meet Suzie Sunshine!!

If you’re on Facebook why not pop over to Emma’s page and join in rainbow week, everyone is welcome.

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So if you are like us and the sun has been missing for a day or two I hope this has brought a little brightness to your day!

:) Happy Yellow Wednesday!!! :)

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This is Slieve Croob, the highest peak of the Dromara Hills in County Down and the source of the River Lagan which starts there as a little spring and then makes it’s 40 mile journey mostly along the border of County Down and County Antrim to Belfast where it flows into the sea at Belfast Lough.

On one of our days out this week my Hb and I decided to take a walk up Slieve Croob to once again (we’ve been before) find the source of the Lagan and to enjoy the wonderful view from the top.

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This is as far as you get on four wheels from this point onwards it’s on foot.

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Lots of mums and babies on the way up!

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There’s always a little black one, isn’t there! :)

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And here we are at the top!!

Now where does the River Lagan start??

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Is it this little spring?

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Or maybe this one?

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This is a good one, maybe this is it!!

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Truth is I’m not sure which one is the actual start of the river but they all seem to make their way to this channel which is most definitely the beginnings of the River Lagan.

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You can the river channel zig-zag it’s way down the valley on the start of its journey.

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Being up Slieve Croob is not just about finding the start of the river though, the views are stunning! On the day we were up last week it was a bit hazy, so my photos are not as clear as I would have liked them to be. On a really clear day you can see the whole of the County Down coast from Belfast right down to the Mountains of Mourne.

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This view is looking south towards the Mountains of Mourne, the peak on the left is Slieve Donard, Northern Ireland’s highest peak, I’ve been up there too and the view from there isn’t at all as good as it is from Slieve Croob.

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This is looking out towards the centre of the province and towards Lough Neagh, which can’t really be seen very clearly at all because of the haze. I live over there!!!

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This view is looking out over Belfast, where the river eventually ends up!

We were also up the mountains in the distance in this photo this week too but we were in the cloud for most of the time and the photos weren’t great but we plan to go back there on a lovely sunny clear day in the summer because the view over the city is amazing.

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More woolly friends on the way down again!

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And evidence that they were there, in case we didn’t spot them!!!

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So a lovely day out, good exercise, lungs full of fresh air and wonderful views even though we’re still not quite sure where the River Lagan actually starts! :)

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