Sunday, August 29, 2010

Holiday in Ireland – Day 1

A lie-in... unbelievable. Until 8.30... even more so!!! Winking smile

Weather-wise, it looks like a fine day although there’s a strong wind blowing that gave it a wintery feel every so often.

10.15am: Today, we decided to explore the 'south-eastern' corner from where we are. So, after a quick breakfast, we set off heading off in the direction of Ardglass. This is the 3rd largest fishing port in the Province and probably the fish we ate last night came off a trawler here. We parked in the private golf-club car-park and snapped a few shots of the harbour and the 15th century Jordan's Castle.

Jordan's Castle Ardglass Harbour

11.15am: Then, it was on to Newcastle. A busy and bustling place. It looks like someone has thrown some money at it as everywhere looked very clean and it was clear that all the pedestrian areas had been re-layed. Probably the most striking of all was the pedestrian bridge over the wide sandy beach – lots of people out dog walking and paddling. We took a break in a coffee-house near the bridge that gave a great view of the area.

Newcastle Newcastle 'bridge' again

12.30pm: Next stop, Downpatrick - another busy place. We wanted to have a quick look around St Patrick’s Down Cathedral (that was locked and closed...on a Sunday!)St Patrick’s grave stone is in the churchyard, so a mecca for local pilgrims and lots of Hail Marys. We were up in the old town on the hill (howling gale by now, but still clear blue skies) and walked over to the Down County Museum . What a find! The place was packed with all sorts of old stuff about the area. The fact that it used to be the county gaol too gave it an extra attraction where you could look round the cramped cells- just like a Travelodge hotel.

Cathedral in Downpatrick St Patrick's grave-stone
County Museum Inside the Museum
A typical cell The Turnkey's Office

We then headed back in the direction of Strangford stopping off at National Trust's, Castle Ward. Only the downstairs was open today - but it was worth it never-the-less. The House had its frontage designed by the owner and the rear designed by his wife - so both parts looked very different. The gardens were beautiful and the fine weather today, made them look even more-so.

The Gardens The Gardens at Castle Ward
Castle Ward - front Castle Ward - Rear
The view  

3.00pm: After a quick pit-stop in the tea-shop, we looked around the Shop and then headed back to base.

Time for a quick sit outside before it gets too cold and then a bit of TV.

6.25pm: Back to The Cuan, where we ate last night. The service was brilliant as always and Peter even came over to speak to us – perfect Irish hospitality.

7.50pm: We are stuffed, as predicted! So, a quick walk and a phone-call to lee to see how her break went and to check on the cats.

8.15pm: It’s turning cold, so we headed back to the apartment where the central-heating had kicked-in (thank goodness). A glass of red then plus a bit of channel-hopping on the TV – and another enjoyable day is complete!

More exploring by car tomorrow – depending on the weather.