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Showing posts with label National Trust. Show all posts
Showing posts with label National Trust. Show all posts

Sunday in Verse - 30 August 2015 | Castle Ward, Co. Down


The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


Accompanying this post are some photos from a trip to a National Trust property called Castle Ward. It sits on the banks of Strangford Lough and is actually the real-life location of Winterfell Castle in Game of Thrones. It's one of my favourite places in Northern Ireland, its grounds are so vast and so wild, there is ample space for hours of exploring. It's the kind of landscape I'll definitely miss when I'm in Spain.
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Sunday in Verse | Mount Stewart, Co. Down


The Rambler by Thomas Hardy


I do not see the hills around, 
Nor mark the tints the copses wear; 
I do not note the grassy ground 
And constellated daisies there.

I hear not the contralto note 
Of cuckoos hid on either hand, 
The whirr that shakes the nighthawk's throat 
When eve's brown awning hoods the land.

Some say each songster, tree and mead-- 
All eloquent of love divine-- 
Receives their constant careful heed: 
Such keen appraisement is not mine.

The tones around me that I hear, 
The aspects, meanings, shapes I see, 
Are those far back ones missed when near, 
And now perceived too late by me! 


I just finished 'Far From the Madding Crowd' this past week, my first Thomas Hardy novel, which I feel will be the beginning of a very long and very fulfilling relationship. I can't wait to get stuck into more of his work. As such, I thought it would only be appropriate to feature one of his poems in this week's 'Sunday in Verse' alongside photos of a recent visit to Mount Stewart, a National Trust property, with my mum. I know the photos and poem don't match up too well this week but the notion of only appreciating the beauty of a moment or place on reflection of it really resonated with me. Especially in the Age of Instagram when we're in such a rush to share our experiences sometimes we fail to fully appreciate them.

Hope you've all had a lovely weekend!
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North Coast Road Trip | Ireland

I'm currently writing this from my room in Spain and thus bring you another throwback post to around two weeks ago when my housemate, Carlo from uni came to visit me at home. At the time, with my departure to Spain looming and any excuse to explore some of the fairer corners of my tiny homeland being good enough for me, we decided to spend some time on the Irish coast.

I believe I've mentioned this before but my aunt and uncle own a holiday home on the Causeway Coast, an area which makes up the majority of Ireland's northern coastline, stretching some 130 miles. It's considered by many to be amongst the most scenic areas in Northern Ireland and thanks to the National Trust, many of its landmarks and beaches are kept in pristine condition. It's along here that you'll find the Giants Causeway, the area's namesake, as well as a vast number of Game of Thrones filming locations which Carlo was quite keen to see. So, with my aunt and uncle very kindly allowing us to use their house as a base, we decided to spend a few days exploring.


As it turned out, all of these photos were taken on our very last day, in a frantic attempt to squeeze in everything we still needed to see! Thankfully we did manage to fit in quite a lot in just a few hours.

Our first stop was Dunluce Castle, a striking 16th century fortress that sits atop a basalt outcropping, giving the appearance of it rising out of the sea. It had been a long time since I'd been inside the ruins so we decided to go in for a closer look.



There are plenty of nooks, turrets and secret hideaways to explore around the castle, not to mention some dramatic views over the castle walls of the cliffs and sea surrounding it, all of this, as well as some of the features that remain across the castle's sweeping expanse, such as window frames and alcoves are a reminder of its former glory. 


I actually found a really interesting article by the Belfast Telegraph containing '50 things you probably never knew about Dunluce Castle', if you'd like to hear more about the castle's fascinating history. There were plenty of things on there that I'd never heard before!

Our next destination was supposed to be Balintoy Harbour- better known perhaps as the Iron Islands and Pyke, home of House Greyjoy, to Game of Thrones fans- but decided to make an impromptu pit stop at White Park Bay, one of my favourite north coast beaches.


I was adamant that there were caves somewhere along this beach because I'd remembered exploring them when I was younger, so the first thing we did was to set off across the rocks to find them. To no avail, though, as it turned out. The tide was starting to come in at this point so the top end of the beach where I thought the caves were had been made inaccessible. All was not lost though, since the beach is still beautiful, even in its absence of caves.


For some reason I can't find any photos of Ballintoy though I did take some, so unfortunately we'll just have to move swiftly on to the last leg of our journey, a stop at the Dark Hedges in Armoy, a long pathway lined on either side with intertwining beech trees, which once featured as the Kingsroad in Game of Thrones.


Apparently it's the most photographed natural phenomenon in Northern Ireland which is surprising since surely the Giant's Causeway would be the most photographed natural phenomenon? In any case, it really is a sight to behold and photos really don't do it justice. We made it there in the last hour or so of daylight so the light was absolutely stunning. It's one of my favourite places on the north coast for sure.
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Easter Monday Walkies | Murlough Beach, Co. Down

Just a pre-warning that this post features a bit of an overload of photos of my dog, Heidi- yes, I'm one of those dog owners! haha- to be honest I just love watching her run about and doing her thing because it makes me so happy to see her happy and enjoying herself!


We had unusually good weather this Easter Monday, particularly considering how cold it's been recently. It just suddenly went from rain to glorious sun in the space of a day, so my mum and I decided to take advantage of it while it lasted and take Heidi down to the beach.


Murlough Beach is one of my favourite beaches in Northern Ireland. It's maintained by the National Trust so is always beautiful and clean and I think one of the best parts about it is the fact that it's also set against the magnificent and imposing Mourne Mountains. They looked especially gorgeous and misty on this particular day with the sun out.


All of us had a lovely time but I think Heidi probably enjoyed it the most! She's a real bundle of energy so loves having the space and freedom to run about. 

After our beach walk we headed back to the car, but not before picking up a tea and traybake to go from the tiny cafe at the entrance. If anything's true of the Farrelly clan it's that we will take up any excuse or opportunity to stop for a cup of tea and a traybake. It's like an obligatory part of a day out, as well as the reason why I'll probably never be skinny! haha

I hope you all had a lovely Easter Weekend whatever you got up to! Though I know I'm a little late in saying that at this stage. In any case, I hope this week is treating you well so far.
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A Snowy Sunday | Heysham, Lancashire

Recently I've been feeling as if I've been spending a lot of time indoors, just lazing around, especially at the weekends. I know at the minute I'm very lucky to be a student and have so much time at my disposal, but I'm starting to feel more and more like having too much time on your hands definitely isn't all it's cracked up to be. This term I've really struggled with trying to be at all productive, especially because I have so few hours at uni right now, and being quite an "outdoorsy" girl, for me it doesn't take long before too many duvet days and not enough sunlight begin to take their toll.


So, last Sunday my housemate and I decided to break the cycle of lazy weekends and take  a little trip out to the village of Heysham, about 6 miles outside Lancaster. It's actually only a 40 minute bus journey from Lancaster city centre- a little bit longer than it would take by car but in any case is still a relatively short trip- and the route is conveniently included on those I'm able to travel using my student bus pass so it's really a shame that I don't go there more often.

The weather forecast that day had prepared us for rain, yet as we stepped off the bus it began to snow quite heavily. However, despite the fact it turned out to be absolutely freezing, the snow still made for some unbelievably beautiful scenery.


On my past excursions out to Heysham I really fell in love with it's strange charm and diverse landscape. It kind of looks and feels like a mismatch of other places and different times that come together to give it a kind of other-worldly feel, as if you've just stepped into a parallel universe.  For instance, a stone's throw from the centre of the village is St Peter's Church which sits high up overlooking the bay below. It's being refurbished at the moment so I didn't take a photo because it was basically just surrounded by scaffolding but usually it's a lovely quaint little church built from sandstone. It actually vaguely reminds of Shell Cottage from the Deathly Hallows films. In its grounds is a graveyard that stretches down a hill towards the sea, containing a mixture of new and old graves, with some dating back hundreds of years. It may be a little strange but I actually really like graveyards, especially if they're really old. I find it really interesting to read old headstones and imagine what life was like for people at the time. For me, they feel like a tangible connection to the past that encourages me to reflect.


There are actually a lot of things about Heysham that would inspire reflection. A walkway up from St Peter's leads to the Barrows, a woodland that opens up onto grassy hills over the rugged coastline where the ruins of St Patrick's chapel (in the first picture) stands, as well as a group of six graves cut into stone, which apparently date back to around the 10th Century.


From the Barrows it's only a short walk through the grasslands down to the beach, or Half Moon Bay, which is basically a craggy mass of pebbles and rock pools as well as a long stretch of smooth sand. On the one hand it's really beautiful, despite the interesting backdrop, featuring Heysham's random nuclear power plant over to the left hand side, though what it may lack in it terms of untouched natural beauty it makes up for in hidden treasures. I've found Heysham's pebbly beach to be an absolute haven for seaside finds like sea glass and pottery which is probably very much due to the fact it is such an industrialised area. Though I feel like it just goes to show that there's beauty in a lot of unexpected places.



After taking a stroll down to the shore and combing through the pebbles, we headed back the way we came, just as the sun was beginning to set on the horizon. I have to say, we were both very cold and very wet but I'd definitely say it was worth it. I think I'll have to really start taking advantage of this beautiful place being so close to me from now on.
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