Glens of Antrim (9/10/2012)

We headed southward on the Causeway Coastal route this morning toward Glenarm Castle.  This 400 year old castle and its gardens is still the home to the Earl of Antrim. As a private residence, the home is seldom open to the public but the gardens in season are open. After our usual battle with “Bimbo” (what we have always called the GPS), we made it. It was raining before we got there and poured after we left but we had about an hour to wander through the lovely gardens. While they are just past peak, there were so many varieties and so much color.

Cabbages in the tea room garden at the Castle!
Love these!
Huge Onions!
Water feature in garden
Apple trees trellised to the stone wall – amazing!

Glenarm castle is where the MacDonnels relocated permanently when they left Dunluce Castle. It is located at the Village of Glenarm on the Irish Sea. This also happens to be in the glen of Glenarm, meaning “glen of the army”.

There are nine Glens of Antrim. They are beautiful areas that go from right at the sea to the highlands. There are forests, rivers, heather fields, rocky areas. There is a lake called “the vanishing lake” that literally fills up with rainwater and then drains out through craters.  All of this resulted from volcanic and glacial activity over many years. I can only imagine how beautiful it would be on a clear day. It was amazing on an overcast day like today. 

We passed by Bonamargy Friary just outside Ballycastle. We did not stop due to the wet. It is where all the infamous MacDonnels are buried. Though no longer an active church (has no roof), it is loaded with history and looked mysterious just sitting near the roadway.

I have to say Steve, the most excellent driver, did not see too much since he was concentrating on the narrow and often winding road.

Things of note about NI drivers: They drive fast. They park in either lane of the road and think nothing of it.  They open the car door into oncoming traffic.  Add to that walkers and bikers (most often without reflective gear) use the roads at all hours of the day and night.  It is an adventure for sure! Oh and the GPS is seldom sure what to do.  The road signs for the Causeway Coastal Route are good so we have done fine for the most part using all of the above.

Sheep in the pasture adjacent to the Red Door Tea Room – they had attitude!

 We stopped at The Red Door Tea Room where  we had eaten one day last week for lunch again. The husband and wife who own the place were delightful and helpful and serve great stuff.

Local pan fried mackerel – delicious!
Entrance to Red Door Tea Room

Tomorrow back to Belfast. We have decided to take the motorway through. The middle of NI since we have now drive all but a few miles of the Coastal Route. We have to turn the car in by 1pm and we think that is our best chance of making it (leaving time to get lost in Belfast’s one way streets!)
End of the day, we had rain. I wandered outside afterwards to take a few photos and found a double rainbow! Luck of the Irish for sure!

Old horse cart on property at Ruby Stove Cottage
Old pump behind our cottage

Double Rainbow

 This is probably my final post from NI. See you when we return home.

Still Choosing Joy!


Favorite Traveling Companion
Poppies – in GB always signify “remembrance”

Not sure what this is but it was pretty!