Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Exploring Northern Ireland in 2 Days, Part 3, Armoy Harbor, The Belfast Zoo, The Belfast Castle and The Cat Garden

We stopped at White Park Bay overlook to take pictures of the beach on the way to the Armoy Harbor.  I couldn't take enough pictures of the water.  It's a pure blue that's just beautiful. Because it was early morning, it was hazy just as an Irish morning should be.

The harbor was beautiful.  I love being on the water. And there was a little restaurant there serving breakfast, but we'd already eaten.  Darn. But we were so focused on the scenery and taking pictures we didn't really need to eat too.

I swear the water looked like glass.

We checked out of Lime Park and had a few hours before we had to catch the ferry in Larne. We decided to go to Belfast.

We went to the Belfast Zoo.  I'm not a big fan of zoos I really think the animals, though they probably don't live as long, deserve to be free. But I had a few favorites that I got to see. Like the mercats.

Don't they look comfortable laying in a pile. The ultimate family unit.

I loved this rhino sculpture. How funny.

I love the elephants but they were so unhappy. Their enclosure was being worked on and they were stuck


Since I started this blog with an exploration of Scotland and its castles, I thought it only fitting that I ended it with the last castle we saw.  Belfast Castle in Belfast, Ireland.

The original Belfast Castle was built by the Normans in the 12th Century. It resided in the heart of the city.  It was the home of Sir Arthur Chichester.  The castle burned down in 1708 and instead of building back on that site they decided to rebuild in the suburbs.

(This is the side of the castle)

The current castle was built between 1862 and 1870 by the 3rd Marquess of Donegall.

The Castle was designed in the Scottish Baronial Style by Charles Lanyon and his son.  
(This is the entrance side of the castle)

After Sir Donegall's death and his families finances kept them from keeping the castle and it was sold to the 8th Earl of Shaftsbury. He completed the castle.

                                                        (This is the back side of the Castle.)

In 1934 the 9th Earl of Shaftsbury presented the castle to the city of Belfast.

We were allowed to take pictures of parts of the interior. it was beautiful.

( The ceiling was gorgeous.  I think the designers in Scotland and Ireland are sky light crazy.  You saw them everywhere. )

In 1978 the city of Belfast refurbished the castle over a 10 year period.  
 The Garden is refered to as the Cat Garden.  It is beautiful.

I was sorry to leave Ireland so soon. I'd have liked to have stayed another two weeks and seen more. Maybe one day I'll get to return to both Ireland and Scotland and see all the things I didn't get to see this trip. 

I want to thank all you readers who have followed my efforts so faithfully.  I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I have.  Being able to reflect and write down my thoughts and feelings, as well as all the historical significance of the places we visited has been a wonderful experience.
Thank you all for coming along for the experience with me.

  I'm not sure what my next blog will be about. It's going to be tough to top this one.

I'm going to take a few days off to ponder that. But I'll be back soon.

Write on,   Teresa R.


Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I think I NEED those staircases - both the ones inside and that glorious on outside. How absolutely gorgeous.

Thank you so very much, Teresa, for letting us share your wonderful holiday. I am SO going to miss my treat every day. You have taken beautiful photos and written interesting history for us to learn from. I have appreciated your talent and look forward to more in the future.

Anita Clenney said...

Lovely. The cat garden was amazing. I hope you plan another trip soon so we can enjoy some more history and scenery :)

Annabelle Ambrosio said...

Thank you for the privilege of viewing these pictures and reading your blogs.

Tracy Stewart said...

What a fantastic series of blogs. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and the breathtaking photos. One day I'll get to see it for myself. Who knows, maybe you can go with me!!

See you Saturday! ;o)

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I got your book today, Teresa. WOW I love the cover and plan on keeping it on my coffee table to drool over until I get the chance to read it. I cannot wait!!

Teresa Reasor said...

Thank you so much for reading the blog so faithfully. And for buying the book!!! How sweet of you.
I've gotten so used to blogging each day,I may go through withdrawl.

I'm going to miss reading your comments each day.
Teresa R.

Teresa Reasor said...

Maybe a trip a little closer to home. I'll have to think about that.
My son lives in Atlanta. Talk about history.

Teresa Reasor said...

Thank you for reading them so faithfully. I'm leaving them up here so they'll be available for anyone to use for research.

Teresa Reasor said...

I'll start saving for the trip today. I'll be ready when you are.

Amy said...

Thanks for the vicarious vacation. I hold out hope that in the next few years I can somehow manage to take the whole family to Ireland. One great and exciting vacation before the kids are grown!

Teresa Reasor said...

I know going to Ireland is a long time dream for you. And you'll do it. I know you will.
I'm glad you could come along with me vicariously.
Write on girlfriend.