“I wish I was in Carrickfergus”

IMG_1792

“I wish I was in Carrickfergus”

Says the lyrics of an irish folk song. I am singing this from time to time since my visit in Carrickfergus because I already know I wish to return there. Town has an interesting story about its name. Long story short: the legendary scottish king, Fergus the Great, was sailing home to Ulster when his ship ran aground on a rock by the shore. The rock was known as “Carraig-Fergus” and the town is now known as Carrickferus. But it’s the castle that I want to tell you about.

The view from the castle on Carrickfergus town:c2

Well preserved military base

The castle was built in 1177 by Johm de Courcy and is an Anglo-Norman military construction serrounded by the sea on three sides. It used to be very important target for everyone that wanted to take over in Ireland. It was sieged from the local Gaels, the Scots, English kings and the French. At some point it became a military prison to also be an air raid shelter during the Second World War.

Inside the castle’s keep:
IMG_1045
c3
c5

Outside – wards and The Sea Tower:
c10
c9
One of the remaining cannons. Originally there was 22 of them:
IMG_1688
The Sea Tower:
c8

People of Carrickfergus Castle

King John – the only king that ever stayed in castle. Visiting Carrickfergus was part of his expedition to Ireland in 1210. Here is king John in the one of the latrin chambers in the west wall of the keep:
c4

The Lady Affreca – daughter of Godred, king of the Isle of Man. She married John de Courcy in about 1180:
c11

Gilber the Master Gunner holding a linstock carved into a shape of a crocodile:
c12

Cuthbert – the crossbowman:
c313

If you haven’t have enought after visiting the castle, there is more to discover in Carricfergus. You can take self-guided walking tour that covers entire long and interesting history of the town. It takes you to Civic Centre, Town Hall, Carrickfergus Museum, Town Walls, St. Nicolas Church, Flame! Gaswork Museum and also historic harbour (including King William statue and King William pier). Enjoy!

 

 

Advertisements

Visiting the past in Mount Stewart House, Garden and Tample of the Winds.

mo

It’s time to start exploring Northern Ireland. My first stop is tranquil nature reserve located in county Down – Mount Stewart House, Garden and Temple of the Winds.

The house
I start my day in Mount Stewart with visiting the residence of the 7th Marchioness Edith, Lady Londonderry and her family. Recently on the restoration program run and fund by the National Trust, the house is a real “time capsule home”. It can take you back in time. It’s full of original family memorabilia such as books, paintings, ceramics, silver and furniture.

A few facts:
⦁ The mansion is 19th – century house and garden in County Down, Northern Ireland, owned by the National Trust
⦁ Mount Stewart was formed by the Stewart family, holders of the title Marquess of Londonderry
⦁ The family bought the estate in 1744
⦁ Politicians including Prime Ministers Winston Churchill and Neville Chamberlain are among the guests that used to attend dinner parties in the house
⦁ List of famous guests that stayed in Mount Stewart includes politicians, poets and artists like Edmond Brock

Place card is revealing one of the guests in Mount Stewart – sir Winston Churchill:mo1

Every room let the visitors see the design of decades past:mo20

The Garden
Mount Stewart House has also a garden that serrounds the mansion from every side.  And honestly it can take all day just exploring the garden area. It has an extensive collection of trees and plants. The stunning views can be discovered around the lake and in the formal gardens. And Lady Londonderry designed all of it herself. Edith was passionated about exotic plants, Celtic mythology and symbolic themes.

Mount Stewart was voted one of the most beautiful gardens in the world:
mo3
mo4

Discovering an extensive collection of trees and plants:
mo6
mo16mo5

White Stag – showing Lady Londonderry’s intrest in Celtic mythology:
mo8

View from Formal Gardens:
mo9
mo11
mo15

Temple of the Winds:
That was my last stop in Mount Stewart. I sat there for one last look at stunning views over Strangford Lough and thought about everything that I have seen and learnt. It was a good day in Mount Stewart.

I hope you enjoyed that journey with me. And I encourage you to visit this place yourself. It has more to offer than words can describe.

If you are interested in place you can find more information about visiting, events and how to get there on: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/mount-stewart.

 

Let me tell you something about myself…

pic2

I have to admit I’m a beginner. This is my first blog and first post ever so I will start from the beginning . Hi, I’m Kat, I’m Polish and I’ve been living in Northern Ireland for six years. Long enough to settle down and fall in love with this place. That’s right, I love living here. It’s people, landscapes and history that push me to explore more about this part of the world. And that’s what this blog will be about. I don’t have to go abroad to exotic lands to find amazing places. I just have to look around. It’s right here. Northern Ireland is amazing.