Unusually for me this year, I took a few holidays in July. And even more unusual, we opted this year for a ‘staycation’, choosing to have a lovely weekend in the county of Fermanagh (more to follow in future posts) and the rest of the time we pottered about. To be honest, I was a bit apprehensive about how we would spend our time, the weather in July isn’t always that sunny here, but I needn’t have worried. Unusually again, the sun was out in force, allowing us to take little day trips here and there and enjoy what’s on our doorstep.
Dad and I ventured out with Boris to explore a dam where my dad used to play as a boy. Where he lived in north Belfast, there was a network of dams that served the linen industry and my grandparents both worked in the local linen mill back in the days when Northern Ireland was, I think, the biggest manufacturer of linen in the world. It was lovely just to wander around on a warm, sunny afternoon. Even though now only one dam remains and the linen mill has long since gone, nature has moved in to reclaim it’s space and the place was buzzing with bees and the odd dragonfly. It was good to hear my dad recall stories from his youth and I think it’s an afternoon I will cherish for a long time.
Hubby and I also took a little day trip to Seaforde Gardens and Butterfly House, located approximately 30 minutes or so from Belfast. This turned out to be a lovely treat and I would really recommend a visit. We walked around the tropical butterfly house, a multitude of exotic butterflies fluttering all around us. Trying to capture a picture of these little beauties was a challenge (my camera lens kept steaming up with the humidity) but we managed a few. Then it was back outside into the summer sunshine for a walk around the lovely gardens, where the hydrangeas were in full bloom, followed by tea and banana bread in the Garden House Cafe. My top tip..watch out for the peacocks…they wander freely around the place, including the car park and are quite a sight to behold !
The Hillside is the oldest pub in the village, having been established there since 1752. It has a lovely dark green facade, cosy interior and serves good food. Our four legged friends are welcome in the front part of the pub and also in the beer garden out the back. It made my day to see a rather handsome basset hound by the name of Dexter make an appearance. Although well behaved, his owners were rather nervous about whether Dexter would maintain his good manners once the food arrived. Some day we will pluck up the courage to bring Boris (I hope my husband is reading this !!)
All in all, we had a lovely time enjoying some nice spots close to home, then it was back in the car for a 105 mile trip to Fermanagh for a sunny weekend of bliss by the lough.