Adventures in Northern Ireland!

You know it’s been one hell of a weekend when you round it all off by falling into bed at 9pm on a Sunday night and sleeping for fifteen hours. Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

It started on Friday morning when we picked up our lovely English friends from Belfast International for a weekend of Northern Irish adventure. Needless, to say, we spent most of their first day with us at the very up-and-coming Titanic Quarter area of Belfast, starting with breakfast at Cast and Crew . This place does great food, but in particular I can’t praise their breakfast enough. If I could have finished what was on my plate, I would have!

Without much time to dally about, we headed off to Segway NI, as we’d booked for the some of the group to take a segway tour of Titanic Quarter.

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Some of the guys were a bit tentative at the beginning, but it wasn’t too long before they were ready for their speed restrictions to be lifted. Meanwhile the rest of us took a slightly more leisurely tour of the area, not forgetting of course to take a few pictures and videos when we saw the others zooming about the place. The guys loved the Segway tour and they really enjoyed hanging out with their tour guide, who discovered quite quickly that he was dealing with a bunch of nerds and advised them that the segways traveled at ideal Pokémon egg-hatching speed.

We met up again after the Segways to check out Titanic Belfast, admittedly a slightly less active tour than the one just passed, but a really interesting experience nonetheless and a must-do when you’re in Belfast (and I’m not just saying that because I work there)!Of course, we were sure to make our English friends feel extra welcome while we were there…

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I’d actually never managed to get my husband over the door before – he’s not really a big fan of museums – but he had a good time messing around with the interactives and touch screens. The Nomadic in particular went down really well because it was an actual piece of living history and was a bit more hands-on.

After that we were all pretty wrecked, especially our guests who’d all been up before dawn to catch their plane, so we headed back to Carrickfergus to get changed and let the guys unpack.

We had a table booked for dinner at Harlem Café back in Belfast. This place is amazing, by the way. I don’t know what was better between the food and the excellent service! Two servers in particular, who introduced themselves as Max and ‘Eagle’, were just so lovely and took time out of all their rushing around to chat to our party at considerable length. They made us feel special and really contributed to a lovely first night out in Belfast for our guests. The live musician was excellent, too, though unfortunately I didn’t get his name.

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If we thought day one had been exhausting, we were in for a shock on day two! We set out in the morning in two separate cars to head for the North Coast. Given that there were a few Game of Thrones fans in our party, it went without saying that our first stop was Ballygally Castle, where there was plenty of information on the show’s filming as well as one of the Game of Thrones doors made from the fallen trees from the Dark Hedges. This is a really beautiful hotel with tonnes of its own history too – definitely worth a look if you’re ever visiting the North Coast of Ireland.

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After stopping at Ballycastle for a quick lunch, we headed on to Carrick-A-Rede to check out the rope bridge. This was a spot I’d actually never been to before, but the views even before you get near the bridge itself are absolutely stunning. However, one look at the steep incline that I’d need to climb in order to get BACK from the bridge told me I wouldn’t be hauling my pregnant backside along the path, so I hung back with another party member who didn’t fancy it and soaked in the sunshine and the beautiful sights.

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It took about two hours for the others to cover everything beyond the ticket barrier, and the walk back really seemed to take it out of them. Totally worth it, though, for some of the beautiful photos they got out there.

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We were bound for the Bushmills Distillery next, and unfortunately got stuck behind a tractor along the way. That meant we were juuuust about too late for the last tour of the distillery. My husband and house guest Jonny were both very disappointed to have missed it!

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Plenty of whiskey and souvenirs were bought at the gift shop, though. Some really nice stuff in there!

One of the cars headed on to the Causeway, but us old farts in the Couldn’t Walk Anymore Car skipped it to check out on another visit when we’d have more time to explore, and headed on to the dark hedges – a priority since we had some Game of Thrones  fans in our car.

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The place is, as everyone knows by now, absolutely beautiful. I really hope that they stop letting people park right on the road, though, before we lose more of the trees. There is, after all, a perfectly good car park less than five minutes’ dander away.

That was it for us, so we piled back into the car and headed home to get ready for everyone to pile down to our house for the evening. Cards Against Humanity was played, whiskey was enjoyed, takeaway and cake were eaten, and fun was had (sadly El Preggo faded at around eleven and went to bed though!).

The following day was just a day for relaxing, a quick dinner at Nando’s, and emotional goodbyes. I’m going to miss them, but I loved showing them our tiny, beautiful little country!

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What about you? Where are your favourite spots in Northern Ireland? Let me know!

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