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Road Trip: Dunluce Castle

I don’t know about you, but living in this castle right next to the ocean seems pretty exciting but scary at the same time!

It was first built on the dramatic coastal cliffs of north County Antrim by the MacQuillan family around 1500, the earliest written record of the castle was in 1513.

It was then seized by the ambitious MacDonnell clan in the 1550’s, who set about stamping their mark on the castle under the leadership of the famous warrior chieftain Sorely Boy MacDonnell during an era of violence, intrigue and rebellion.

It has so much history, but I really went to enjoy the views it contains.

I was told the Golf course in this place is quite expensive too, between the views and the championships that goes on around here I still think it isn’t reasonable to charge a-lot of money just to view this place below.

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Road Trip: Glenveagh

Every time I am here I will always be seen taking pictures of its beautiful scenery!

Glenveagh is a pretty place, whether you are viewing it for walking, cycling or going for a stroll.

It’s a great place for taking pictures, whether you are posing or for sight-seeing as well.

I have yet to cycle using their own cycling gear.

I find it intriguing how this place used to be someone’s home, imagine living like this with all the space and beautiful scenery. It’s one of my favourite spots to go back to, time and time again. It’s that big that I always discover something new each time I visit.

Below is a video capturing some of its beauty. Enjoy.

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Tuesday Thoughts

What do you want out of life?

I want to see the world. I want to travel and actually live the stories that are told to me throughout the novels I read. 

That novel Wild Woman’s Guide to Traveling the World has made me hungry for this desire. 

I want fun and adventure in travelling. 

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Glenveagh National Park

If you are ever in the Letterkenny area looking for a day out. This place should be on the top of your to-do list. 

Sunny Winter Day

It is in the centre of a national park which has the wilderness, mountains and lakes surrounding it. What a pretty place it is to be in. It acts as a haven for wild life and birds. I remember seeing so many robins the first time I was there as they aren’t something you normally see in your every day life. 

In my research, I found that Glenveagh has a long American-Irish connection as it was bought in the 1850s by John Adair. 

They built the castle and added the gardens. After his wife passed it was later sold and bought to a few different people before finally it was sold to the Office of Public Works. 

The way it is located makes it preserved due to the fact that if you wish to enter the estate you can either walk to the estate from the visitor centre, cycle (they have bikes there too, I think to rent) or getting a shuttle bus from the centre, for a return it is 3 euros. I think there is a slight discount for children/students/elders. 

The last bus is usually before 6pm back to the visitors centre. They also offer guided tours of the castle at 5 euros each. The gardens and trails are free and there is very nice tearooms with home baked goods and a souvenirs shop!

I always enjoy visiting here no matter what mood I am in because it is so pretty and peaceful. Also, every time I visit I end up discovering somewhere new within this national park. 

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Stroll Down Roe Valley Country Park

The Roe Valley Country Park is a forested area containing part of the River Roe, south west of Limavady, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. It is maintained by the NIEA.

The park is approximately 3 miles long and consists of mainly delicious, riparian woodland on each side of the Roe. The terrain next to the river is mostly steep sided narrow valley, with some areas of flat grassland on the northwest bank. As the river has a large, freely draining catchment area, it significantly increases in volume and speed soon after heavy rain. This is most visible around the visitor centre, where the river is forced through a narrow section of the gorge.

The area around the visitor centre contains the Green Lane Museum, with exhibits on local history, the area linen industry, agriculture and artefacts of rural life.

In the 18th century, the local linen industry was based on the same site, the remains of which include flax drying fields with watch towers, derelict buildings and a waterwheel originally used to power the machinery. 

When you first arrive, the above image is where you land near the car park, admiring the pretty lake and its inhabitants. 

From my research, a long time ago the water supplying the old hydro electric power station which was one of the first in Ireland, flowed along here.


If you walk along this you will see what looks to be a small castle building. 

This was actually an old beetling mill. Before the power station was built, the country park was part of a manufacturing centre. 

When you walk along the pathway of the river you will notice there is a good few benches about to rest or relax and admire the view as well as the relaxing water sounds, which I really enjoy. 

One of the views of one of the bridges as you walk along it,

View at sunset in the winter

Nature’s farm animals and sounds as you walk along the park, below is a short video of what I first encountered during my first visit of this year. I really enjoyed the peacefulness of these visits, sitting on the benches listening to the river sounds as I read peacefully.

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Book Review: The Summer of Serendipity

Bath-time reads!

Plot: 

One summer, property seeker, Serendipity Parker finds herself on the beautiful west coast of Ireland, hunting for a home for a wealthy Irish client. But when she finds the perfect house in the small town of Ballykiltara, there’s a problem; nobody seems to know who owns it.

‘The Welcome House’ is a local legend. Its front door is always open for those in need of shelter, and there’s always a plentiful supply of food in the cupboards for the hungry or poor. 

While Ren desperately tries to find the owner to see if she can negotiate a sale, she begins to delve deeper into the history and legends that surround the old house and the town. But for a woman who has always been focussed on her work, she’s remarkably distracted by Finn, the attractive manager of the local hotel.

But will she ever discover the real truth behind the mysterious ‘Welcome House’? Or will the house cast its magical spell over Ren and help her to find true happiness?

Review:

If you have not yet read Breakfast at Darcy’s pick it up! You shall enjoy some of the references mentioned in this novel of that one!

From the title alone, I knew I was going to enjoy this book which is why I was happy when my friend gave me this novel. Serendipity sounds and looks so pretty as a word and the title of this novel just conjured up the feeling of sun, adventure and romance – the cover lends itself to the romantic feeling of the novel as well.

I’ve been a big fan of Ali Mcnamara since the first novel of hers I read Letters from the Lighthouse Cottage (my review is on the links just click to view) I also loved Breakfast at Darcy’s (Dermot and Darcy make a small reappearance at times.)

It was so nice to revisit the Island Tara. The island every time I read about it describes a land so picturesque, I am definitely ready for a vacation there right about now. I can tell that Ali has a real love with Ireland by the way she describes it. The descriptions are so rich with descriptions. 

Ren Parker is intense. Kiki, is her closest friend as well as her assistant, she is the complete opposite – bubbly and enthusiastic. I loved both Ren and Kiki for their differences and each one is relatable and likeable.

One of the things I loved most about The Summer of Serendipity is the folklore explored in it. It appealed to my love of myths, mystery and legend. I went through this book because I was so invested in the plot; I needed to know what was going on (in a story that had me guessing until the very end.) 

On the one hand, I wanted to find out what was going on and at the same time, I didn’t want the book to end as the style, the writing and the content had me hooked. I kept promising myself it would be one more page… then one more chapter. You get the picture.

The reason for the rating is due to the fact that the story at times felt a bit wish-washy in terms of its actual plot and how the characters were frustrating and it became too repetitive of not finding out any information.

However, with that being said, this book is perfect if you are looking for a summer read for the holiday you’re about to take (or just taken!) or if you simply want to escape to Ireland for a while from the comfort of your armchair or garden lounger.

Ali’s writing is welcoming, warm and romantic. I love her writing style and I found this novel enjoyable.

3/5 stars!