Sunday Sunsets – Portrush

Happy Sunday everyone. I’m up early here in Sydney, bright eyed this morning but without the bushy tail 🤣. Four hours sleep is just not enough for me (I’m a 7 hour man!) and I’m away today for some wine tastings. So I thought I would create my Sunday Sunset post before I head out for the day.

These were taken in 2016 at a place called Portrush. It’s a little seaside town along the north coast of Northern Ireland. This is the small harbour known as Portrush Harbour (funnily enough). It’s a really beautiful place and it’s a town that many people from Northern Ireland visit for a mini vacation. At the harbour you can find a variety of restaurants, quaint and cosy pubs, a yacht club and you’re in very close proximity to the beaches and town.

I am extremely fortunate that my parents moved here a few years ago so it means I always get to come here. I used to frequent as a child, like most kids did then, as most people couldn’t afford foreign holidays. People would have travelled locally for the weekend or a week away. However, we always had the best times and treasure those memories into our adulthood.

Have you ever visited Northern Ireland’s stunning yet underrated coastline? I feel like it often gets forgotten about when people visit Ireland 🤷🏼‍♂️.

Be sure to let me know.

Take care everyone,

Wayne ✌🏽

St Patrick’s Day ☘️

Happy St Patrick’s Day everyone. 17th March is a day the Irish love to celebrate. We celebrate St. Patrick as he drove the snakes out of Ireland, although he also brought Christianity to the island too apparently, saving the Irish from their pagan ways 😝.

In 2016 we visited the grave of St. Patrick at Downpatrick Cathedral

For most of us, it’s a time to celebrate being Irish or to be from the country of Ireland, including Northern Ireland. It’s a time to gather with our friends, drink lots of Guinness, wear our finest green attire and listen to traditional Irish music. It is an excuse for many to have a big breakfast and start the celebrations early. If you manage to stay out celebrating past 7pm, you have done extremely well.

We drink anything green really 🤣

This is also a day where everybody wants to be Irish. Everyone will tell you that they are Irish. “My grandmother’s aunt came from Ireland or my Dad’s great grandfather’s wife was Irish, so I must be part Irish too. We hear that a lot and in most cases I’m sure it will be true. The Irish tend to be everywhere. Years ago, Irish people had big families and many emigrated to seek a better future for their families, especially to America, Canada and Australia.

Being in Australia is a bit different from home and the traditions are a little different. I was working today but will be heading out for dinner tonight. I will be wearing green and I will be drinking Guinness. Even though it doesn’t taste as good here (they say Guinness doesn’t travel well, it’s best to drink in a country pub in Ireland, preferably Donegal 😉).

Will you be celebrating St Patrick’s Day today? Do you have a connection to Ireland? Do you have an Irish heritage? Please do let me know.

Drinking Guinness in an Irish pub in Sydney 2019

Have a great day everyone.

Slainte! 🍻

Wayne

FLOWER(S) OF THE DAY CHALLENGE (FOTD)

Cee from Cee’s Photo Challenges has a Flower of the Day challenge. You can check it out here. I thought this would be a fun post to show some of my flowers as I have quite a lot on my camera roll. They just aren’t popular on my Instagram feed for some reason, therefore, they are rarely seen. I’m delighted to show them off here on my blog. A big thank you to Cee for creating this challenge 🙏🏼.

Tulips from the Walled Garden at Glenarm Castle, Northern Ireland
Orange Coneflower, Swords Village, Ireland
Montbretia, Cremorne Reserve, Sydney
Guarianthe skinneri, Fiji
Fire-star Orchid, Fiji
Bird of Paradise, Sydney
Daffodils from Queen’s University Belfast

Thanks for having a look. All photos taken by me. I have so many more if this post becomes popular enough 🤣.

Wayne ✌🏽

Bloganuary Day 19

Where do I even start??? There are lots of things that are mysterious to me, that make me ponder. I would love to be able to write something fictional as this post screams fiction to me, however, in the real world there so many mysterious happenings that I do think about.

One that always baffles me and is extremely curious to me is the fact that I have never seen a cockroach in Ireland. Here in Australia we have millions upon millions. Even in the cleanest of homes, you will still be able to spot one. We have had more than our fair share over the years in our home, regularly having to place cockroach killer in spots around the house, mainly the kitchen. In a previous shared house we were inundated with cockroaches. In the middle of the night, the floor would move in the kitchen. You open the cutlery drawer and they can be seen scuttling everywhere. They even lived in the microwave timer screen so we could see them as the minutes on the clock descended. You dare not leave food on the table and turn your back, even for a second or they would be having a field day in your next meal.

Yet, I have never seen them at home in Northern Ireland. I would tell people here in Australia that we don’t have cockroaches as the weather is too cold. No one can believe it here. They are gobsmacked, “you must have cockroaches” they say. Well I don’t think we do, I have never seen them. Carrying out some quick internet googling, apparently we do have some but where are they? Maybe they never come out of the woodwork to see us humans. Other websites say you will never find them in Ireland or the UK 🤷🏼‍♂️.

So this folks is a real mystery to me. Have you ever seen a cockroach in Northern Ireland, Ireland or the UK?? What about even colder countries again like in Scandinavia or warmer countries in Europe? Are there any cockroaches where you live?

I would be intrigued to hear your answer.

Many thanks,

Wayne ✌🏽

12 months and 12 photos (2019)

Hi everybody!!! It has been a while. I haven’t written a blog in about 4 months, sorry for that. To be honest, I haven’t had much to say or write about as there has been no travelling for the past few months (except Melbourne twice but does that even count?!). I have been attempting to lay low and save my pennies/cents for the big year that is to come in 2020. A fellow blogger has been carrying out 12 months and 12 photos and I loved this idea. It’s a great way for me to create a blog and keep me in the game. It’s the first time I saw another blog post and thought, yes, I want to do that. So thanks to Tanja from @theredphoneboxtravels for the inspo. I have picked my 12 photos (not an easy task by the way, if you have a few things going on each month) and added a little caption to each one. I hope you find them of interest 🙂

January – Taveuni

Taveuni
The holiday of all holidays. We won a trip back to Fiji and we decided to visit the garden island of Fiji that is Taveuni. An absolutely amazing place with the best people. We made memories there that will last a lifetime.

February – Belfast comes to Melbourne

Belfast comes to Melbs
2 of our really good friends Brian and Rachael came to Melbourne. I didn’t want to miss them so I flew over to spend the weekend with them and had the best craic!

March – Meet my parents in Thailand

Thailand
I had the oppotunity to visit my parents when they were in Thailand celebrating their anniversary. I couldn’t miss this, maybe my only ever chance to have a holiday with just the 2 of them all to myself. A really chilled out holiday with memories I will always cherish.

April – 10 years later

10 years later
We love our Sydney walks and for me, my photo opportunities! We sat here to have a photo taken and realised we had sat here 10 years ago also. We have lived in Sydney in 2009 for 1 year and had made it our dream and mission to return. I like this photo as it highlights how far we have came and what is achievable if you want something bad enough.

May – Home

Home
We love our trips back to Northern Ireland. This was our 2nd trip home since leaving for Australia. We had an amazing time as always, plus we attended 2 very special weddings. The landscape in Northern Ireland is stunning, it definitely needs to be seen if visiting Ireland.

June – A time of reflection

Reflection
This is the Chinese Garden of Friendship. The perfect spot for reflection and gathering your thoughts. I was really happy to have been shown this place.

July – Quality time

Quality time
July was a month of spending time with the other half and taking in the beauty of Sydney. Lots of nice walks and this day we were whale watching, a really unbelievable experience!

August – Leura

Leura
This is my birthday month!! I really wanted to head away for a couple of days. We decided on Leura, in the Blue Mountains. I would highly recommend this to everyone. It is a really quaint little town with a lot of character. The Leura Cascades are impressive and amazing walks in the heart of the Blue Mountains.

September – A personal journey

Personal journey
I have been going to the gym for about 2 years now. I am loving it and acheiving results that I am super happy with. This was the month I hit a personal milestone as I had hit the 10kg mark. Thats a 10kg increase in weight (muscle mass). I was delighted. May the journey continue.

October – Wedding dress shopping

Wedding dress
Never thought in a million years I would be doing this but it was an incredible experience. To be there for my best friend on such a huge occassion in her life was a true honour. We had the best weekend and not a bridezilla in sight!!

Novemeber – My cousin

My cousin
My cousin has been in Sydney for a year and we have loved it. To have a family member here is amazing, to share old memories and make new ones is incredible. We were sad to say goodbye as she heads off on her travels and then home but we have had the best year and again made the best memories.

December – Christmas time

Christmas
One of my favourite months of the year. This year we are spending it together, just the 2 of us. We are heading away on what will be our only holiday as a couple since 2014. Keep an eye on my socials for photos to follow. Merry Christmas everyone!!! See you all next year 🙂

Northern Ireland: An alternative guide – part 2 ✌🏽

Hi everyone! As most of you are aware, we have just been home again for a few weeks to see family and friends and of course to attend 2 amazing weddings. Fortunately for us, we were also able to see some new venues and features in Northern Ireland and increase our appreciation for our home country. Keep reading to see if you have visited any of these places and if not, maybe they can be on your bucket list 😉.

Grand Central Hotel Belfast – The Observatory

This is a new hotel recently erected in Belfast and is the second tallest building in the whole of Ireland (second to the Obel Tower, also in Belfast). However, it does boast to have the tallest bar in Ireland. The observatory is on the 23rd floor and has the most amazing view of Belfast. It really is spectacular. You will be taken in the elevator by a concierge and taken to a seating area available. Luckily, we had arrived before most others so we could choose where to sit. You can also take a walk around to see the city from every view possible. The seating areas are stunning and very comfortable. The service is lovely, friendly and welcoming staff. The drinks are pricey, for example £15 for a cocktail and £8 for a pint but to be honest, you get what you pay for. The view is outstanding and I suppose it’s not something you would do every day. It’s a really amazing experience for a special occasion and definitely worth a trip if you are visiting Belfast.

Glass of Thrones

I was fortunate enough to be at home at the same time as the Game of Thrones final season. As many of you know, the majority of filming for this amazing show, is in Belfast!!! To celebrate this milestone of the 8th and final season, 6 stained glass windows were erected around the city centre, 1 for each episode. You can walk from Belfast City Hall to Titanic Studios to witness these Glass of Thrones installations, displaying scenes from seasons one to eight of the show. Each window represents the trials and tribulations of a different house, and at the final window you can take a picture on the Iron Throne. For a map of where to find these, click here. I personally loved seeing a new window being unveiled each week. They are exceptional and if you’re a fan of the show, this is a must see. It’s also a good way to explore Titanic Quarter.

Belfast street art

This was completely accidental but it is amazing to walk through the streets of Belfast and see new street art popping up everywhere. It shows that we are a city to be reckoned with in the culture stakes and we are ever progressing. I did want to find the infamous Belfast mural as I had seen this all over Instagram. Having lived in Belfast for over a decade, I had to see it. You should definitely take a walk through the city to find these art pieces. You can find these mostly in the Gaeltacht Quarter and Cathedral Quarter. Bear in mind these are nothing to do with the peace murals. These would be representative of a more forward thinking and inclusive Belfast IMO.

Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort

Now this is a place that I have been dying to try. So when my sister said she wanted us to go, I was delighted 😁. The spa treatment here is unreal, even better than I had imagined. It had a huuuuge area with lots of facilities. Leave your clothes in a locker (changing facilities are even impressive) and don a Galgorm dressing gown/robe/house coat (whatever you call it in NI). When I entered the spa area I was overwhelmed. It’s like what you would see in a movie. People walking around in the robes, pools, hot tubs, saunas and steam rooms everywhere, indoor and outdoor. There are chill out areas with relaxing chairs and loungers and even an ice room. I was honestly so impressed. We even had the chance to have a Celtic sauna treatment that was fantastic. It was unbelievably hot in the nicest possible way and you receive a nice cold mocktail afterwards. We had lunch here too and you are invited to eat in your robes. A very surreal experience but you will really feel like it’s a special occasion. I cannot recommend this enough peeps. We even went on a cold and wet day but it didn’t faze us at all. Ps. The photos do not so this justice at all.

City of Derry Jazz Festival

The biggest jazz festival in Northern Ireland is held in the amazing Derry ~ Londonderry City. If you don’t know Derry that well, a bit like myself, then this is the perfect chance to explore the city and see it in all its cultural glory. The festival has been happening yearly since 2001 and it is 1 of the leading Irish music events of the year. There are street performers, food stalls and live music performing in all the bars in the city. As the bars are all in close proximity, you can easily hop from 1 bar to another to experience as many live acts as possible. The lineup is HUGE, far too many artists to mention but you can check out the website here. Details are already up for next years event in 2020 🎷 🎶 . Oh and while you’re in Derry, you have to check out the Derry Girls mural, I’m sure you’ve seen the show on Netflix! Hilarious…and the paining of the girls is outstanding.

Portballintrae Causeway Loop

Ok so in my opinion I have saved the best until last. This walk was one of my highlights at home, especially because I was able to do this with my parents. Everybody knows about the Giant’s Causeway but instead of heading straight there and spending a fortune on parking, you can complete a small enough walk from Portballintrae to the causeway and see the breathtaking views the north coast of Ireland has to offer, the best coastline in Ireland IMO, yet often overlooked when people think of the Irish coast. Not only will you see coastline but you also see beaches, rock formations, cliffs, sand dunes, a really old railway line and the most quaint little railway station you have ever seen, bridges, rivers and countryside. It has to be every walkers dream to see all these things!! The walk over the 3 quarter mile bridge is short but it is pretty stunning to walk over the Bush River – apparently so dark as the river runs through Bushmills where they make the whiskey 😋 🤷🏼‍♂️. I’m not very good at directions but you can find them here. This is a walk you will want to experience and you will finish at the Giants Causeway. I still love coming here even though I’ve seen it many times but when Northern Ireland has a blue sky, this part of the world is fantastic.

Thanks everyone for reading. It’s lovely to showcase Northern Ireland. It has a lot to offer and every time I return home, there is something new to discover. Be sure to check it out if ever visiting Ireland or the UK.

W 😊

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