Friday, 27 June 2014

Northern Ireland - The Wild Side

 In my final blog I wanted to share a few photos of the beautiful flowers, birds and seascape - and these in turn have inspired one of my latest purchases as you will find out in due course ;-)
Lovely wild violets.

The fabulous Dark Hedges at Dervock.
The morning light casts pretty  
shadows on the road.

In June the trees have leafed up 
nicely.  Many years ago, the owner of 
a nearby manor house wanted a 
dramatic entrance for his drive so he 
planted the road with these beech 
trees.  It's very effective!
A beautiful male Chaffinch near the Dark Hedges.
Sea campion with its lovely white 
flowers and bell like shape.
Pink thrift
Yellow vetch
Blue bells
A heath spotted orchid - Gorgeous!
Wild thyme

Kidney vetch.

Purple wood vetch

complete with a busy bee!

Marsh marigold (looks like a buttercup to me!)

This beautiful flower reminded me of a snowflake!

A beautiful Fulmar sitting on the cliffs.
A flock of Oyster Catchers.
An Oyster Catcher was nesting on the
Giant's Causeway itself!

A better look -note the red eyes!
A baby Robin at the farm.

Eider ducks Mr and Mrs.
Wonderful waves crash against The Honeycomb!

Row upon row of waves head for shore.

The wind makes a back spray off the 
top of the thundering waves.

Even in less rocky places the 
waves still look fabulous.

The cliffs take a pounding and the 
noise on impact was loud!

I loved watching the shapes of the waves.

These remind me of dolphins!

And then they hit the rocks at Port Ballintrae.

In June I got some nice pics of 
The Honeycomb - here you can 
see the colours in the rocks well.  
The Honeycomb is so called 
because the basalt columns which 
make it up are very uniform in 
hexagonal shape like the honeycomb 
bees make.

And being much calmer than at Easter 
there were some lovely reflections in the water.

Some lovely limpits and barnacles were 
attached to the basalt rock on Causeway.

This colourful rock pool was alive with 
aquatic creatures and seaweeds!

Can you see the little green fish hiding 
next to the rock?!

Different vegetation grew in the pools.

And in a variety of colours.

Here's my fish again!  There were lots 
of other translucent creatures which have 
not come out on my photos but there were
lots of them!  I think they were sunning 
themselves in the sunshine.

Some lovely yellowy seaweed.
Just before I finish this post I wanted to 
share a couple more photos from the Giant's
Causeway - this one is of "The Giant's Boot" 
which I forgot to put on my earlier post - it is a 
huge stone shaped just like a boot!  Apparently 
Finn took his boots off so he could run faster!

And this formation of rocks high up on the 
cliffs is called The Organ - for obvious reasons!  

Isn't nature amazing?!

Monday, 23 June 2014

Northern Ireland - Part 2

Some of the other places along the Northern Ireland coast are lovely too - I stayed in Bushmills famous for it's whiskey distillery. Now there is so much to see you need a hearty breakfast to set you up for the day and my B&B lady certainly delivered on that score - a full Irish breakfast:-

Home made Irish soda breads - white 
and brown - divine!

Egg, bacon, sausage, soda bread, potato 
farl and pancake - TDF!!!!

Two of the ladies at the farm - they all had calves.

Bushmills Town Centre, complete with bunting!

The Bushmills Distillery.

Licensed since 1608.
The River Bush seen in the valley near 
my B&B.
One of the mills on the river in Bushmills.
Someone In Bushmills has a hedge sofa in their 
front garden - how adorable is this?!

Out on the road east from Bushmills you 
will pass by Dunseverick Castle - just a 
ruin now but scenic nonetheless.

Pink bikes adorned the area in advance of 
the "Giro d'Italia" bike race staged at the 
end of May - it was a great success apparently 
and the people truly embraced the event!  
This one was in Bally Castle.
However in Ballintoy they really had gone 
pink with a bike outside the local youth hostel.
The local pub painted pink....

A tractor and the litter bin painted pink...

And even a pink fisherman and bike stuck 
out in the bay!!!

Here a few views of Ballintoy's harbour 
and church as well as a pair of Eider Ducks.  
This harbour was used for Game of Thrones. 
(PS I am trying to learn how to make collages but 
it's not going very well - tips welcome!)

After Ballintoy you come to Bally Castle.  
Here is a beautiful sculpture near the port 
called  "The Children of Lir".  Legend has 
it that King Lir's new wife did not like his 4
children so she turned them into swans - 
and they lived on the river in Bally Castle.
Heading west from Bushmills you pass Dunluce Castle.

A ruin from the 13th Century, Dunluce 
has a wild romance about it!

It certainly is perched high upon the rocks!

Dunluce at sunset on a grey day(!)

The silvery light plays on the Ocean

On my last day on my June trip the weather 
turned to rain and you can see how damp
it looks at Dunluce.

These young cattle were totally bedraggled 
and wishing they had some shelter!

Mussenden Temple near Castle Rock - this 
coastline features in the TV series Game of Thrones
The farthest east that I went was 
Magilligan Point, in Co Londonderry, 
famed for it long beach - the sea has 
made lovely patterns in the sand!

Looking across to The Republic of Ireland 
from Magilligan Point - you can cross on 
a small ferry that runs on a regular basis.
One day I stopped to take some photos of the 
scenery and these sheep appeared 
VERY surprised to see me LOL!

And back at the B&B Shadow was 
always there with a warm welcome!