Cotswolds

Cotswolds
Cotswolds

Lake District

Lake District
Lake District

Ireland

Ireland
Ireland
Showing posts with label Ireland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ireland. Show all posts

Springtime Walk | Sir Thomas & Lady Dixon's Park, Belfast

I'm back home in Northern Ireland now after what has felt like a very long lent term at university, though at the same time I can't believe my second year at uni is nearly over, I really don't know where the time has gone. 

In the time I've been away in Lancaster this year, my beautiful friend, Ashleigh- part-model, part-spider monkey- has been off all over the world doing some really exciting things on her gap year. So far she's spent three months in Chico in Northern California, three months in South Africa and now, luckily for me, she's back home for a few months before heading off again, so finally we're in the same place at the same time which has meant a long and much-needed catchup. Ashleigh and I have been friends for quite a few years now and in a way we've sort of grown up together. We first met when I was thirteen and she was twelve so we've spent the most part of our formative teenage years figuring life out side by side, which is something that has continued now that we're becoming adults and has been such a pleasure.

The weather turned out to be really nice yesterday so we decided to go for an impromptu visit to Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon's Park (or just Lady Dixon's to the locals) which is a huge, green expanse near to where we live on the outskirts of Belfast. It's one of the nicest places in our area so I go there quite often and have done ever since I was really little, and Ashleigh and I have been there quite a lot over the years too so it seemed like an appropriate place for some long-awaited chats.


If you'd like to know a little bit more about Ashleigh you can find here here:
Instagram: @clarityatmidnight
Twitter: @_ashleighsarah

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A Day with Mum | Castle Leslie, Co. Monaghan


I took a little impromptu break home last weekend. I'd started to feel a little overwhelmed by uni life and felt like a trip back home would just help to clear my head a bit, which it definitely did. Because I was home from uni my mum took last Friday off work and we both set off on a little road trip to Castle Leslie, a stately home in Co. Monaghan, just over the border into the South of Ireland, that also doubles as a hotel and spa. This is one of my mum's and my favourite places to go when we have a free day together because the grounds are just so beautiful. Aside from the castle itself there's a number of stunning outbuildings and even a church, as well as a lake and some gorgeous walks.

We normally start off our visit with some tea or hot chocolate in the restaurant before paying a visit to the horses on the yard at the castle's adjoining equestrian centre- always my favourite part of the day!- and taking a stroll through the grounds. Despite it's appearances, however, would you believe that Castle Leslie is actually said to be one of the most haunted castles in Ireland? I've personally never seen a ghost on any of my visits, but the stories surrounding the castle and its history are truly fascinating. I think my personal favourite is that of Norman Leslie who was killed in action during the First World War. Around the time of his death, however, he was spotted walking through the grounds of the castle by a gardener who, assuming Norman had returned from war, hurried off to alert the family of his arrival. Though as the day passed and night fell, Norman did not return to the house. A week later a telegram was delivered to the castle confirming that Norman had met an unfortunate demise charging a German machine gun armed only with a sword. His figure has apparently been seen wandering the castle even in very recent years. Spooky, huh? 
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Goodbye 2014 | New Years Day on the Coast


Hello folks! First of all, Happy New Year!! I hope you've all had a lovely past few days. I'm so tired at the minute- I go through phases where I don't sleep very well and only got a couple of hours last night- so please excuse me if I ramble or if this post just doesn't make any sense. 

With the coming of the new year, of course, my Bloglovin' feed has been full of new years resolutions and posts reflecting on the year gone by. I thought about writing something similar myself, a little round-up of my experiences in 2014. It seemed like the logical thing to do- obligatory, even- but in the end I've decided not to. 2014 definitely wasn't the worst year I've ever had. In fact, it was a year filled with new friendships, new experiences and an abundance of happy memories. It was also the year I started my blog, which has probably been one of the best decisions I've ever made. At the same time, though, 2014 has been a year fraught with difficulties and enormous challenges, and for that reason I'm really not a bit sad to see it go.

Instead, I look forward to the future. I'm really not sure what 2015 has in store for me but I'm really excited to find out. Ideally, I want it to be a year that changes me for the better, I want it to be a year that grows me, and ultimately, a year where I take really good care of myself because I don't feel like that's something I've been particularly good at in the past.

I spent this New Years at my aunt and uncle's house up in the Antrim coast with the pair of them, my mum, my sister and my two cousins. These are just some photos of a walk we took on the beach at White Park Bay on New Year's Day. We'd spent all that morning playing Mario Kart and eating chocolate cake and then thought it would be a good idea to get out of the house and into the fresh air before it started getting dark. The weather wasn't great, but I almost feel like the rain added to it in a way. I know I look like a little bald gnome- don't laugh at me!


Anyway, I'm going to go and get a bit of sleep now before I go stir-crazy! Sending you all so much love and well wishes for 2015. I really hope it's a great year for all of us.
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Scenes | Dinner at The Barking Dog, Belfast

One of the things I sincerely miss about Belfast when I'm at university is all of its quirky and eclectic bars and restaurants, and there really is a lot of them. I basically spent the entirety of my last week of university, in fact, dreaming of my return to my home city where I could soak in the wintry ambience of its bustling beer gardens, dining out and getting tipsy with old friends amidst the hum of city sounds.


Thankfully I have a friend with an equal penchant for alcohol and good food in Gemma and on Thursday night we decided to take a little dander into Belfast for dinner and drinks. I'd managed to nab a last minute table at The Barking Dog on the Malone Road which was really lucky since it's normally so busy, especially around Christmas time.


Our table was by the window which was nice since the restaurant is in the University Quarter of the city, right by where the Queen's University student accommodation is so you could see all the students passing by outside, heading out. The table was also candlelit and decorated with roses and holly which was lovely.

Gemma and I both opted for turkey and ham for our meal- it is Christmas after all!- and I have to say, it was amazing


After dinner we headed out to a bar called 'Filthy McNasty's', though despite the name, which my English friends think sounds absolutely horrific, there's not really anything particularly filthy or nasty about it. It's probably the most popular bar in Belfast at the minute, made up of a quirky indoor bar, beer garden, cocktail bar and nightclub, the 'Gypsy Lounge' which has an interior made up to look like an old gypsy caravan. It's one of my favourite city haunts for sure.

We didn't stay for too long, just for one drink before calling it a night, but overall I had a lovely evening and I'm looking forward to many more like it before I head back to uni!
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A Weekend at Home in Belfast

Well haaay! Firstly, I'm so sorry I haven't posted much in a while, I've been buried chin-deep from a relentless barrage of uni work and it hasn't been fun but I'm back now, thank goodness, and ready to bombard you with my usual biweekly ramblings! Also, apologies for the poor image quality, I left my camera back at uni this weekend because it was a bit too bulky to fit into my bag so all of these photos were just taken on my iPhone.

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Saturday Roadtrip | Walled Gardens & Wild Flowers

Last weekend my cousin Jenny and I took a little roadtrip around the Causeway Coastal Route around the north Antrim coast of Northern Ireland. The route has some really stunning views and its also a very very long drive, I think it took us around 7 hours and we didn't even go the whole way around! But roadtrips are basically my favourite thing ever so I was in my element.


We set off around 12, stopping for lunch at a lookout along the way, and then as we were driving along we saw signposts for Glenarm Castle Walled Gardens and Tearoom. Neither of us had ever been there before so we decided to stop and I'm so glad we did. The garden was beautiful, it was just filled with so much colour particularly from the thousands of wild flowers growing everywhere. I think that was my favourite thing about it. There were also apple and pear trees, water features, statues and a mount where you could look out over the garden. It was a really misty day and you could see the fog settling over the hills and trees in the distance which I think added to the atmosphere. I just wish my camera was able to capture it better! Jenny had brought her DSLR with her so we both wandered around for a while taking photos which was really relaxing, we both even managed to snap a picture of a butterfly that was sitting on one of the flowers.


After about an hour we heading off again and started noticing that there were quite a few cyclists on the road, then a few cyclists turned into a couple dozen cyclists and then eventually we were stuck behind hordes of cyclists before realising there was actually a huge cycle event around the coastal route. Just our luck! On the bright side, we were moving so slowly we really had time to appreciate the scenery haha.


Along the road we also stopped at Dunluce Castle, a medieval castle that sits basically on the very top of a cliff plunging down into the ocean. It's one of the more famous castle in Northern Ireland and is really very striking. We didn't go in this time as it was about to close but we took some photos from the cliffs overlooking it. It's been a really long time since I've visited properly so I desperately want to go back soon and have a proper look around.

And so we began the long journey home, though not before stopping for dinner at a restaurant on Portstewart promenade. Can we just take a moment to appreciate the sheer size of Jenny's filled Yorkshire pudding? Because it's pretty massive! One thing I love about the fact Jenny and I have grown up together is being able to reminisce about our childhoods and family, especially the ones who aren't around any more, it's nice to be able to sit and chat about everyone and just remember, which is what we spent a lot of time doing in the car and at dinner. Then, on the way home in the car we just had the music blaring, soundtrack for the day being 'Chandelier' by Sia, which is one of my favourite songs of the whole year, and also by far my favourite music video. I've probably watched it about 26 hundred thousand million times.

I know it's a bit late to say now but I hope you all had a lovely weekend yourselves!

follow me on twitter? @alphabethblog
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