Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Ireland Day 2...

As I write this, Ireland is being battered by Hurricane Ophelia (also known as Storm Ophelia). I couldn't quite believe it when I read the headlines! You just never hear of such a thing. There have only been a handful of noteworthy tropical storms to hit Ireland. Hurricane Ophelia is different, though. It is on course to cross the entire country, south to north. Schools and all of the ancient monuments and historical sites are closed. I can't believe my sister and I experienced such beautiful weather just a few weeks ago! I hope that everyone will be safe and and the storm won't cause too much damage.

How about I share some of the beauty we experienced while in Ireland? For our second day, we planned to visit Mount Stewart House and then walk around Belfast before heading to our B&B. Mount Stewart House is a stately home and gardens bought by the Stewart family in 1744. It has been in the family since then. 

Mount Stewart House view from the Spanish Garden.

Front entrance.

The house was added onto several times, but it has remained unchanged for the last century or so. Lady Mairi Bury lived most of her life on the estate until her death in 2009. In 1957, Lady Mairi donated the gardens to the National Trust. She donated the house and most of the furnishings to the Trust in 1976.

Entering the house is like walking into a time capsule. 

Part of the silver collection. Check out the stacks of plates!

Domed hallway and crystal chandelier.

The Londonderry family had a love of horses through the ages.

Lady Edith Londonderry is responsible for the immaculate gardens. She designed them herself. Lady Edith had many other hobbies as well. If you have the time, google her name. It makes very interesting reading!

North end of the house. 

Sunk Garden

Shamrock Garden with "The Red Hand of Ulster" and sculpted harp.

Strangford Lough, which connects to the Irish Sea.
We had planned a small walking tour of Belfast to finish the day. However, traffic was worse than expected and we were quite tired. We did end up finding a car park and walked to where we planned to have dinner, The Crown Liquor Saloon. Our tourist book pointed out we should visit this place, even if we are teetotallers. It is the most famous pub in Belfast.

I had the traditional Irish Lamb Stew with wheatie bread.
In case you decide to eat here someday, make reservations! We were unaware of this, so we waited an hour to be seated. Then waited 30 minutes for our food. Then waited another 30 minutes for our check. We were so exhausted by the time we got back to the car. It really was a great day! Here are some fun places that I just had to get pics of:

I totally would have stopped here if they were still in business!

I love that so many businesses have such clever names. I needed to have my camera out at all times and I still missed pictures of them. Some that spring to mind are "Sew It Seams," and "Knobs and Knockers."

P.S. The gardens were so beautiful and full of plants that I took tons more pictures. I have already used some for inspiration in my art!

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