Sunday, March 7, 2010

[ coffee, cows and castles ]

I ADORE WEEKENDS - and I would have to say that my favourite part is starting off my Saturday morning with a drive to our nearest Tim Hortons. It's a bit different here in Ireland in that they don't have that yummy 18% cream for my double double so I settle for a latté. Then time to plan out what we are doing for the day. Since it's a rare beautiful sunny day, we decide to take a bit of a road trip. We pick a point on the map and set our GPS to guide us there. Today it will be Northern Ireland around the Strangford Lough, just south east of Belfast.

We drive towards Downpatrick and continue along country roads, past many farms and stop to say hello to some cows. Following where our GPS leads us is always an adventure around Ireland and the UK and today is no different. It tells us to continue driving straight ahead - is that a road??

We pass through a cute little village called Killyleagh and drive up one of the streets to see Killyleagh Castle which looks over the village. Built in 1180 by John de Courcy as one of a series of fortifications around Strangford Lough to protect against the Vikings, the castle is the oldest in Ireland and is still lived in by the Hamilton family whose ancestor James Hamilton took possession of it in 1606. Imagine actually growing up in a castle...

From there we continue our journey up to Newtownards and down the other coast of the Lough. The scenery is serene and we stop to stretch our legs and look over the water and see a kayaker enjoying the calm water. It's getting late in the afternoon by now and we forge ahead to complete our drive. Finally we decide we'd better stop somewhere for a bite and come upon a diner that happens to be open in a small village called Ballywaiter, on the east coast.

The food is good, the service friendly and we're ready to navigate our way through the dark, winding roads towards Belfast where we can speed up our return home on the major highway to Dublin. What a fun Saturday!



Moonangelnay said...

some great photos there! my mum and her family are from belfast so im always excited when i hear it mentioned around :) havent been up that way in AGES.

SleightGirl said...

Sounds like a wonderful Saturday! I especially love the castle...wish that were my

Debbie said...


I loved the time we spent in Ireland. We were only there 14 days, but I can't wait to go back. It is a beautiful Island and I am proud that my family heritage is Irish. Thanks for the lovely drive and memories.


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