An Unexpected Journey

I’m fast getting bored with my current gym routine. I’ve been going nonetheless, but today I just couldn’t face it. Instead, I called a friend and we went for a mini walking adventure!

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It turned out to be an absolutely beautiful day for a walk. We headed to Larne Town Park, not far from where Emma used to teach, and she showed me where she would take her class walking during the summer term. I learned to drive in Larne, but I never realised that it boasted so many beautiful views, especially along the coast road. The photo above is of a tower that is referred to by many as “the pencil”.

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Imagine taking a class of thirty primary school kids along this path on a summer’s day. Imagine how hyper they’d be. Imagine being the only teacher with them. Now imagine that, it being summer, there are rabbits and little baby bunnies running around all over the place and the kids are chasing them. Miss Millar certainly had her work cut out for her!

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After that we decided to head to Glenarm Castle for a cup of coffee. There’s a cute little tea room inside their walled garden, but it turned out to be closed for the winter. No worries, we thought. We’ll go back to Ballygally Castle for a cuppa instead.

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They’ve given it a facelift inside. It looked lovely before, but they’ve really made something of their reception area. I didn’t want to photograph the reception area since it looked as if they had it set up for someone’s wedding, but I can tell you that it looked really lovely. There are a few museum-style displays around the place, giving you an insight into the history of the town and the castle itself.

Unfortunately for us, when we arrived all of the tables in their little coffee area were taken. We decided to go check out the Ghost Room anyway, though.

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Above is actually the original entrance to the castle from before the extension was built on for the hotel. If you go up those windy stairs (and they go on for a bit), you’ll come across this sign:

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There’s a room at the very top of the corner turret that is locally referred to as the Ghost Room, and is said to be haunted. ‘Fun’ signage aside, the story behind it is actually quite sad. Nobody knows for sure, but the most popular theory is that the room is haunted by the ghost of Lady Isabella Shaw, who was locked in the room after bearing her husband a daughter instead of a son to carry on his name. He left her in the tower room to starve .

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Delirious from hunger and desperate to see her daughter, she tried to climb out the window into the castle grounds and fell to her death.

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It’s a heartbreaking story, even more so when you stand in the middle of that freezing, poky little room and try to imagine what must have been going through Lady Isabella’s mind when she was trapped in there. It’s a story that creates a real sense of history and intrigue around the castle. Still, I’m not sure I believe that she continues to haunt the grounds today.

After all of that, we ended up getting coffee in the café at the bottom of my street! Still, it was a fun adventure along the north coast with a good friend, and at least we can say that we took advantage of the beautiful day.

What about you? Have you done any exploring lately? Let me know!

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