How I fell in love… with Ireland!

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.

Pretty Ballintoy

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.

The River Bush at Bushmills
The beach at Portballintrae, under a typical sky
Crystal clear water…
Through a gateway in Benvarden Garden, heaven on earth
Into the courtyard at Benvarden Garden

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.


      1. Paul

        My Grandma was from Ireland but she never talked about it and died when I was young. She told me she was Scott/Irish but I don’t know what that means. Thanks for sharing, Ireland is beautiful!


      2. nalil

        Just think of all those wonderful sunsets at Portballintrae you wouldn’t have – were it not for the rain clouds – and I speak as one of the natives :L


      3. Lois

        I dream of those wonderful sunsets… the number of times I have stood shivering on that beach looking west until it’s dark!
        Another special place at Porballintrae is Lisanduff, so atmospheric!


      4. Nevin

        NIEA Ancient Monuments Branch: “The Lissanduff earthworks consist of a pair of large concentric embanked enclosures, one with a central dry area and one with a central spring-fed pool. The earthworks are considered to have had a major ritual/religious significance in the prehistoric period, and are regionally significant for the whole of Northern Ireland.”

        Lissanduff – the dark/duff fort – seems like a scary place on a dark windy night! The road from Bushmills to Portballintrae is called Ballaghmore – the great road – and is said by some to have come all the way from Tara in Co Meath.


    1. Lois

      It is the most wonderful country – I’m not blind to the problems there have been over the years, and the hardships Ireland and its people have suffered often because of the British government, but it is a stunning place – and the people are pretty amazing too!


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