Oh, how much am I missing waking up under a feather duvet, slowly unfurling before pulling on my boots to see which part of the Antrim Coast we'd wander down next. Alas, the ridiculously sunny September we had here in England is definitely caught in the midst of autumn now, not so much the crispy, dry mornings of crunchy orange leaves and soft woollen jumpers as soggy trouser legs, broken umbrellas and muddy footprints.
This post sees the last of my photographs from Northern Ireland, and if I squint hard enough I can almost imagine the sea breeze in my face instead of the dead air in front of my laptop. Oh, job searching - you cruel mistress!
Monday morning greeted us with a hearty Irish breakfast complete with potato bread. How have I not had potato bread before - it's incredible! The best stodge around, if you ask me! Tumbling out of the car at Carrick-A-Rede, the sun glistened on the sea surf and dopey cows with fluffy backs moo-ed lazily over the fields. Just look at that sea! Emerald waves for miles.
I'm not usually a wimp for heights, but the rope bridge was definitely something! It was like being in a Fun House with a swinging floor except 80 feet above a crop of craggy rock. A test your fear exercise I think... The cliff-like island we ended up on was a real feature of natural beauty. With it being owned by the National Trust, I expected lots of thick rope and carefully drawn out paths marking where you could and ABSOLUTELY SHOULD NOT walk. In fact, we had a good wander around and spent a blissful moment with our legs happily swinging off the cliff-face whilst singing jazz versions of Jason Derulo. Applications to adulthood haven't started yet...
Recognise this next place? Ballintoy Harbour is better recognised as the port town of Pyke - Theon Greyjoy's hometown none the less. This Game of Thrones location modestly notes it's accolade. In fact, I'm convinced most of the pensioners sipping tea at the harbour thought we were bonkers for making such a fuss.
No film crews here, unfortunately!
Today was Josie's first proper go on the beach without her lead. This little one was rescued after being dumped on a motorway and to see her trying to figure out what sand is was a joy!
The Giant's Causeway was next on the Grand Tour. A precarious climb down the cliff and the weirdest looking coast line I've ever seen! Perfectly tessellated, dark grey rocks stacked on one another and clambered upon by children, little Korean ladies and us with our impractical footwear.
There's a good story about the origins of the Causeway, according to Irish folklore. Look it up, or even better, have it told to you by a happy, rotund Irishman with a big, boomy voice.
The old tourist favourite - proper Irish Guinness! Exactly what you need after many coastal treks.
The last and most secluded spot was Tollymore Forest. Cati told me if ever there was a place fairies lived, it would be here. She wasn't wrong. Hermit caves, knotted roots, mossy stones and a pattering stream. The woods are my absolute favourite place. Yes, it was tipping it down but the canopy above was a natural umbrella and it meant we were the only people in the whole forest. No noise of a road, underneath no aeroplane flight path meant it was a true silence, which isn't really silence at all. Water tumbling over rocks, birds happily chattering in the trees and the soft thud of raindrops on leaves.
Feel free to use the above image as a screensaver - it doesn't look real does it?
I'm sure this isn't the last I'll see of Northern Ireland. I'm thinking campervan, outdoor cooking and lungs full of the freshest air.
If you haven't seen my last post, have a look here, especially if you're a Game of Thrones fan!