There’s a lot to see in Northern Ireland. Taking it all in is an ongoing adventure I force my boyfriend into exploring alongside me at least once a month (bless him – he secretly likes going though). I love cruising around with the radio on knowing I’m going somewhere to just roam about and take photos and be in nature in Ireland. I’ve said it before, it’s soul fuel for me!
We have ticked plenty of charming places off the list at this stage and yet there’s still so many to see. We have gone to MOST of the big touristy destinations. The one lacking being the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge (a couple posts back though you’ll see we were in the village where it’s located which is a VERY worth a visit).
This past weekend my original idea was something pretty close to Belfast. So we picked the Bangor area. We stayed in a little seaside B&B there last December and really enjoyed our time but didn’t explore the surroundings which is something a little different and definitely not as popular. There’s some seriously cool homes out that way that I enjoyed pointing at and imagining life in. I also felt particularly lucky that I saw at least twenty gorgeous dogs throughout the day. Not joking when I say I got even luckier with eight of them being sausage dogs!!! One of my absolute favourite breeds.
Places in/near Bangor
Helen’s Bay – We drove along Helen’s Bay on the main road right by it and it was pretty! But it’s also apparently a lovely beach to walk. I’ll have to go back.
Bangor Harbour – Right in the town and extending outwards, there’s a walking path for yourself and your favourite furry companion, a playground for kids, and if head into the town centre, some really great bars and restaurants.
Crawfordsburn Village – A very classy unique little village composed of a main street that’s lined with some of the nicest cars I’ve seen. If you’ve been to Cape Cod I’d compare Crawfordsburn as the small scale Chatham of Northern Ireland except no ocean. It’s tiny and there’s not much to do but it’s really really pretty and totally unlike any place I’ve seen in all of Ireland. I wish I had taken a photo of it but give it a Google if you’re interested!
Crawfordsburn Country Park – We came here kind of by accident. While driving I spotted a little sign where it looked like people were going for walks and I suggested we go there on our way back. When trying to find it, Google Maps took us here and we rolled with it. And I’m so glad we did because the foliage in the forest was spectacular. It made for some colourful shots. However, I don’t believe my Canon or even iPhone could do the vibrancy justice. It was so bright and beautiful!
So, if you like day trips and you’re in NI maybe seeking somewhere a little different, here ya go! (:
Let me know on Instagram where some of your favourite lesser known spots are!
Thanks to my lovely followers for NI suggestions. Without your suggestions I wouldn’t have stumbled upon some really lovely places.
Basically, one person suggested the Gobbins. So I gave it a quick Google and thought ‘yeah looks great’ and we got in the car in the afternoon and went. To our surprise, it’s a three and half hour intense hike along the cliffs that require boots and helmets and bus to and fro the information centre. Do your research, guys!! However, and ever-so fortunately, the woman at the information desk directed me to a few more casual spots that my flip flops could handle.
Twenty minutes away from the Gobbins is Portmuck Harbour. A pretty little place hidden at the bottom of a very teeny tiny narrow Irish road that opens into a parking lot set right near the sea. There’s some stairs that lead up to a point where you can grab some nice photo ops. I love some of these photos so much and will probably cherish them forever. I had a really great day.
Skenaghan Point – Brown’s Bay Beach
And the second spot only less than ten minutes away is Skenaghan Point, Browns Bay in Islandmagee. It actually is right near the actual Gobbins walking path. One day I will do the Gobbins! But it certainly wasn’t that day in that new ASOS top. We went up a little path to the right of the water and you could stay on path but somehow we veered off into a field of sheep who scurried away from us as we walked up towards the cliff’s end. Stunning views and a lovely little walk. One of those spots that makes me go, “Ahhh I love this country.”
So! Those are two spots I hadn’t heard of, no one suggested, and no tourists really seem to go. Hope you enjoy if you visit!
Hope you had a lovely weekend and you’re prepped for the week ahead…I’m handing in my final year thesis this week so a day to unwind and take my mind off of it was well needed. Hughie and I went to Belfast Castle estate finally! It was really beautiful and a glorious day for it…until it rained but that was later on after we had left. Typical Ireland. Can’t complain though, it’s been a gorgeous few days for the island.
There are cat symbols (as seen in on the ground decoration I’m standing on) and little cat statues around the estate garden. They symbolize good luck to the visitors!
Even when you’re in front of the castle, you have an incredible view of the water and Belfast and it’s surrounding areas. There was a cute girl taking communion pictures at the castle, such a good idea! Very picturesque.
The castle is set on Cave Hill. There is several trails to hike on the mountain, some of which looked quite steep and challenging. Asthmatic me took the flattest one but it was still great and offered a nice view.
Story of my life. Sees dog. Must pet dog.
Glad I went and would love to make a habit of going here for walks and work my way up (and bring my inhaler, haha) to the more challenging ones. We spent the rest of the day walking about and ate at District in Stranmillis.
Outfit Details – simple for walking about!
Earrings – The Beady Mama. You can shop the Etsy shop here.
This past weekend I ventured up to Belfast, as I usually do, but this time a bit earlier in time to see a Foil Arms and Hog show. Definitely see them if you get the chance! This was my second time seeing them. They have YouTube videos on their channel which you can check out for a laugh. Afterwards we went out for drinks with our friends but were sensible because the boys had to work the next day. Saturday was the day we set aside to go visit Derry. I got little gifts for my boyfriend’s family for Christmas in America and they were still laying about in Belfast. So I gave them their long awaited presents from me…finally!
We were a good bit outside the town in the countryside. The views are stunning. And especially the drive up to Derry from Belfast. It gets prettier and prettier. I think anywhere you grow up you get used to the scenery and potentially forget how beautiful it is because you see it so often. When I was new to Ireland the Irish thought it was funny how much I loved photographing fields, hills and horses and cows, which I get because that’s probably really American of me. But it’s nearly three years later and I still love taking photos of Ireland…But now with a great camera and even greater company (:
All in all, it was a lovely day full of catch ups and scenic driving. Derry in general is a really gorgeous county with a ton of interesting history. I especially love the town itself. It’s very hilly though so be prepared to work them legs. I can’t wait for the day I get to show my Dad around Belfast and Derry. I know he’ll love it!
Speaking of Derry, have you been watching Channel 4’s new show ‘Derry Girls’? It’s brilliant. All the characters have crazy good Derry accents (most of them are from Derry in real life I believe except for a couple of the actors). I learned a new term from it the other day…A nicker bocker glory! When a character on the show ordered one of these at the diner, I thought he said ‘nichol bockel something’ and immediately texted my boyfriend to ask what it was. After a few confused texts, he eventually decoded my gibberish and confirmed it was indeed a nicker bocker glory they were referring to. It’s a layered strawberry ice cream sundae and it is on my list of things to try!! I also want to go to that diner from that scene in Derry Girls.
On Sunday, it snowed and I was praying for a snow day off from uni but no such luck. We did a quick run to ASDA. I love ASDA because big grocery stores remind me of home, haha. Then went bowling. If you watched my Instagram story, you probably saw me humbly bragging about being in the lead. That went south really quick when my boyfriend caught up to me and we tied.
I’m sitting in Cafe Nero and I just met an old family friend for coffee. We both agreed we miss Dunkin Donuts coffee wholeheartedly. After a strong Americano and a good catch up, I’m bracing myself for a rainy walk back to the flat. I thought it could be a good day to capture some shots of my outfit but alas, lighting is poor. A very typical rainy Irish day!
I’ve really taken a shining to Belfast this past while. My days here have been really laid back and quite fun. It’s a great walkable, small city with a lot of character. There is a lot of brick used in the buildings here which reminds me of some of the houses on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston.
Like Dublin, it’s not built up. There is a restriction with height for the buildings. Honestly, this used to irk me about Dublin. If I wanted a day in the city, I could only get a big town vibe. Seeing no skyscrapers bothered me. But with Belfast, I really don’t mind. There is some fabulous architecture in the city center and I find what it lacks in height it makes up for with a fun, quirky sense of art. City hall is a gorgeous spot to visit if you’re in town center.
OUTFIT (But not really and I’ll explain why)
Here’s a peek at what I wore out and about today. Again, lighting was poor due to rain, sorry! I do want to invest in a proper camera once I save up enough. Little old me was my own photographer. And after some slight consideration, it would definitely be awkward if I began taking iPhone pictures of myself on the street.
I put my sheer Bershka black top (love the frill detailing at the shoulder and how it goes in at the sleeve just past the elbow) over a cheap Forever 21 cami tank top and tucked them into these grey plaid Bershka trousers, pairing them with black two strap sandals from Dunnes Stores and a H&M black handbag I picked up in a sale last week for an interview.
I typically buy things on sale except for staple pieces or shoes/accessories that I definitely know I’ll wear often and for a long period of time. Clothes are very replaceable and unless you’re in love with the piece, you’ll only wear it so much. Because I’m always up and down from Dublin to Belfast, you’ll notice I used different currencies under the photos. Overall, this outfit is pretty affordable.
Yes, I took this last picture on the street – our sidewalks are so clean..It was outside the apartment so no one saw, shhhh. So, that’s what I went around in today! Thankfully, the rain wasn’t too heavy. Because most of these pieces were on sale I’m not sure they’re still available but it’s worth checking your local store if you like them. They’re all quite comfy and are easy to pair with dark colors.
Visiting Belfast? Check out VisitBelfast.com for touristy ideas.