northern ireland


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As mentioned in my last post during July my Hb and I have had some lovely days out visiting gardens, parks, castles and the seaside.

The weather didn’t always behave itself but in this country if you waited for the sun to always shine, well quite frankly you wouldn’t get very far.

So these are just a few photos of some of our days out.

The above photo is the lovely lavender lined paths in the gardens at Clotworthy House at Antrim Castle Gardens.

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Antrim Castle gardens are always well worth a visit.

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Another place well worth the visit is the walled garden at Bangor Castle, it is particularly well cared for with many flowers, shrubs, vegetables and herbs.

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These amazing sunflowers (my favourite flowers) were at the entrance to Ward Park, Banger, Co Down, for a moment I actually could have believed I was back in France, the sun was even shining that day!!

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Somewhere else we always love to visit at this time of year is Sir Thomas & Lady Dixon Park in Belfast for ‘Rose Week’.

The roses are stunning!!

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Just a shame I can’t share the scent.

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Of course no summer would be complete without a visit to the seaside (cue the not-so-sunny skies again).

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The seaside photos were all taken at Groomsport, Co Down.

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It wasn’t a day for playing in the sand and making sand castles but we did enjoy a lovely walk!

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Speaking of sand, I’d like you to meet my new little bunny….her name is Sandy and she’s a beachy kind of girl!

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Thank you to those of you who took the time to comment on my last post.

Just as I was about to publish it I realised it was my 500th post, so I had a little secret giveaway of all you lovelies who left a comment on that post and the number chosen was 13, who was Helen, so a little pack of goodies are on their way to you Helen.

Again thank you to all of you who so faithfully visit and leave me a comment, I really do appreciate them all.

Wishing you all a happy new week! :)

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This past week and a half we have had a few trips out and about as my HB has been on holidays from work.

We usually have our little holiday at home at this time of year and usually the weather behaves itself unfortunately this time it was a mixed bag of sunshine and showers but we were determined to still get out and about.

On one of the more showery days we headed to the National Trust property of Castle Ward on the shores of Strangford Lough.

Castle Ward has been the home of the Ward family since around 1570 and the most interesting thing about the building is its dual architecture, reflecting the differing tastes of Lord Bangor and his wife, Lady Ann Bligh.

The entrance side of the building is built in a classical Palladian style favoured by the Lord (above photo) and the opposite side of the building is Georgian Gothic which was the preference of the Lady of House (photo below). These differences weren’t just confined to the outside of the building either as they continued throughout the interior with the house being effectively divided down the centre with two very different styles.

If you are a fan of Game of Thrones, Castle Ward is used in the filming of the series, more information about the property can be found here and here.

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The view from the house overlooking Strangford Lough, in the rain, I might add!!!

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Castle Ward has beautiful grounds and gardens too.

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One of the things I really enjoyed in the grounds was the beautiful wild flower meadow!

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With so many buttercups!!

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I suppose this is as good a time as any to introduce you to…………..

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Buttercup!!

I actually had a real little bunny called Buttercup, she was a tiny little black Netherland Dwarf with a huge personally, I don’t know why it has taken me so long to make a Green Rabbit Buttercup!

Thank you so much for visiting and thanks also for your comments on my last post, so glad you liked Oceana!

Enjoy the rest of the week! :)

P.S. I’ve just realised this is my 500th post!!!

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I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;

from Sea Fever by John Masefield

Belfast had a visit from the magnificent Tall Ships this past weekend!

These wonderful vessels were enjoyed by thousands of visitors under both cloudy and blue skies.

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It really was brilliant having them visit.

So, inspired by these fantastic ships I’ve made a little nautical girl……

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I’d like you all to meet Oceana, who is my 200th bunny!

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She even has a little “star to steer her by” in her ear! :)

Enjoy the rest of your week and thanks as always for dropping by!

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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.

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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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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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On one of our days out this week we visited Rowallane Garden a Natioanl Trust property in County Down.

I thought you might like to take a stroll with me, bring your umbrella though as unfortunately the weather wasn’t kind!

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Despite the weather we had a lovely walk around the gardens, the walled garden is particularly beautiful!

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We also had the company of this little chap (photo thanks to my Hb with his many lens!!) who seemed very pleased that someone had turned up on a damp day, he was a very good tour guide, he knew all the best perches and places to shelter from the rain!

Thanks again for visiting and for all your comments on my last post.

Have a lovely day (sunshine has been restored here)! :)

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