Portrush might have been one of our favorite cities but the best memories came from our weekend in Bangor, Newcastle, and the Mourne Mountains. This weekend really wouldn’t have been possibly without the whole Graham family and we are forever grateful for their kind open hearts. They took us in and treated us just like family and we will always treasure our memories with them.
On Friday afternoon we all took the train to the little city of Bangor where Ricky’s parents (Davy and Bernie) live. This town is known more as a retirement town and the laid back nature of it was perfect! We went to the marina for part of the afternoon then headed back to the Graham’s home for a fabulous dinner and a night full of music. Sitting in the Graham’s home that even made us feel like we were in our own home and Northern Ireland ceased to feel like a place we had never been before, it was a place we could say we really got to know. The stories told that night will be some that we always take with us and treasure.
Later that evening we went to the pub that Davy plays in every Friday evening. A bunch of his friends get together every weekend and play traditional Irish music till the wee hours of the night. The music we heard that night was like none we have ever heard before! We all sat back and soaked it all in, not wanting to miss a single note.
The next day we headed up to Newcastle via bus. This bus ride was by far the bumpiest and at times we all felt like we might lose our stomachs but the journey was well worth it! In Newcastle we went to the Tollymore Forest and hiked for a couple hours. This hike lead to some of our favorite images from the trip and it also lead to us getting completely drenched the entire hike. I’m pretty sure none of really minded the rain, the scenery was beyond breathtaking! Tollymore is in the County Down and it has been said that C.S. Lewis use County Down as his inspiration for Narnia. One step into the forest and you expect to see a lamp post, the White Witch, or Aslan. The fact that it rained the whole day actually added to the adventure and we all said that we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Following the hiking in the forest we headed to the Graham’s cottage in the Mournes. The cottage was originally built in the 1700s and Davy personally rebuilt the entire cottage by hand. When they first bought the cottage and the land that it is on all that was left was the basic stone framework for the cottage. Davy rebuilt the main room and added on a bathroom and a kitchen/sitting room. Only the add on had electricity (powered by generator) and the rest of the cottage was lit and heated by coal burning fireplaces. Staying at the cottage was by far the best memory we have from the trip. Davy cooked us a fabulous dinner from vegetables that he grew in the garden out back and we played board games till the late night while all our clothes dries out by the fires. Something was magical about the cottage. As we went up to the loft to sleep we had to carry candle lit lanterns to see. The simplicity of living in a cottage that is completely isolated from most of society is something that all need to experience. It makes you stop and really enjoy the little things in life.
The next day lead us on the most incredible trek through the Mournes. Again it was pouring rain and within minutes we were all soaked. Hours later when we got back to the cottage Davy laughed at us and congratulated us for being so hard core. Apparently the rain we were experiencing was falling a lot harder than normal and we kept asking him to take us further and further. What can we say, we love a good adventure and nothing is going to stop us 🙂
So now onto the images:
The seaside homes are the best! They are full of color and make the shore so appealing.
Traditional music in the pub. For the life of me I can’t remember the pub’s name!
From the bus ride to Newcastle
The coast of Newcastle.
Some of the best fish and chips was had at this pub! Irish food is seriously amazing. We couldn’t get enough of it, especially the breads and cheeses!
The Mournes. Sadly both days that we were there the tops were in a white out and visibility was pretty minimum.
This is how we found this tree. We really aren’t sure how it stood out so much since it was raining and absolutely no sun light was coming through!
Good ole Ben showcasing how wet we were getting.
Trekking in the Mournes. We followed a sheep path most of the way up to the top. The hardest part was keeping your feet from getting stuck in the mud! But being on a sheep path was pretty cool since we found a couple stray sheep and Ben and I chased them down the mountain.
Our sheep we chased! Sadly they got away and we weren’t able to take one home… This was close to the top of where we hiked and it shows how thick the white out was. At some points we were only able to see about 50 feet in front of us.
Probably the least flattering image of us but it holds so many good memories.
Preparing for the trip we knew to take rain covers for our cameras and we are so glad we did! It was raining so hard though that our camera could barely focus and it constantly was fogging up. That was probably the only downside of the trip.
This is the view of the Mournes from the cottage. We hiked to the top of this one but we were white out the whole time so we did get much of a view from the top.
And the cottage! Seriously our favorite memory of the whole trip! Isn’t it so cute!!!
Savannah and Philip