I first visited Ireland many many years ago; I travelled to Dublin then did a circular tour down the east coast, fleetingly visited Waterford and Cobb and then travelled up to Tralee. I crossed back to Dublin and returned home having had a marvellous holiday!
Several years later in 1995, as we were contemplating where to take our two tiny children on holiday there was a travel programme on the television, where a very wet but lovely Jill Dando, tried to persuade the viewers to visit Northern Ireland. It was raining, the skies were grey but the land was green and going to Ulster from Oldham in Lancashire wasn’t a difficult journey. We booked, we travelled, we fell in love.
Drawn by our love of whiskey we stayed near the small town of Bushmills and the children I spent all our holiday on the beach at beautiful Portballintrae, while my husband spent most of his time on Bushfoot Golf Course… and that is how we have spent many of our holidays since.
Everywhere we went had charm; no doubt for people living their everyday lives they think of it as anyone thinks of home, but in my imagination and memory it is a magical place and an inspiration for me.