I was inspired by Suzette B’s Blog some time ago when she showcased one of the Game Of Thrones doors in her blog post. It was a fascinating read and it made me think back to when I had also seen one of these doors. So as part of Dan’s Thursday Doors, I thought I would show case the Game of Thrones door that I have seen.
First of all, a recap of what these doors are all about. If you have watched Game of Thrones and were an avid fan, you might be aware of some of the filming locations. Many scenes were filmed in Northern Ireland, much to my delight and the delight of most people living there. A prominent scene was filmed at a location called The Dark Hedges in Co. Antrim and has since become a huge tourist attraction. It is basically a road lined with beech trees but the trees are magnificent in their stature and appearance, creating a very moody and suspenseful location to wander through.
Over the years, sadly many of the trees have fallen. They have been subject to storms and the ever increasing presence of tourists coming to the site. Tourism Northern Ireland and HBO found a way to keep the fallen trees alive (in spirit at least) and make good use of them. They were upcycled to create ten wooden doors, with each one depicting a scene from the Game of Thrones series and scattered throughout different locations in Northern Ireland. If you want to see their locations, you can find information here. This is where I found out that mine was number six in the Game of Thrones doors series.
I had heard about these doors when I was last in Northern Ireland, three years ago. My parents had known that there was one nearby in Ballintoy, in a pub called the Fullerton Arms. We headed there for a pint and a nosey and we were delighted to spot the Game of Thrones door, created with such finesse from the fallen beech trees. The pub also had a shrine to Game of Thrones with other memorabilia, a themed dining room and even its very own throne!
I absolutely cannot wait to see all of these doors when I head back to Northern Ireland soon. Once I have seen them all, I will create a new post to show case them all.
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 🤷🏼♂️.
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 😝.
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.
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.
It’s funny but I used to really hate being asked this question in job interviews. How the heck would you know where you were going to be in five years?! Especially as a young person, as the idea of being in the same place five years later would literally terrify me.
Now this question has been posed by fellow blogger Fandango as his provocative question. You can see his post Here.
I feel like I have two realities that could be equally possible. Almost like a Sliding Doors scenario if anyone has seen that movie.
1 – I will still be living in Australia, working as a nurse and teacher but living further afield. I will move out of the big smoke to somewhere more rural, purchase an amazing property, have my own car and have a couple of dogs. I will be able to travel home to Northern Ireland once or twice a year as covid will no longer be an issue.
2 – I will be living at home in Northern Ireland. Covid is still an issue and we cannot travel to Australia as freely as before. I will have a similar life, working as a nurse, buying my own property, purchase my first car and have two dogs. I may be considering a career change as nursing travels deeper and deeper into the depths of despair with the NHS sinking (hopefully not). I will have lots of great times with family and friends, seeing them whenever I please. I will travel all around Ireland (albeit with my raincoat and umbrella) and will travel all over Europe (covid restrictions permitting if still exists).
To be honest, any one of these scenarios would be fine as long as I remain healthy and my loved ones stay safe and well 😊.
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?
This one is easy for me. My biggest challenge to date is gaining the skills to be able to move to Australia. I have travelled here many years ago on a working holiday visa and always wanted to come back and live as a resident. This is no easy thing to do. Australia has very strict immigration rules. If you want to live here in Australia, you have to be of value to them, which is fair enough really.
You can live here if you have a skill that is in demand. I had a good look at their skilled visa occupation list and picked something that I thought I could maybe learn to do and enjoy as a new career path.
Some of you will know the career path that I chose was a nursing one. Everywhere in the world is in need of nurses so I thought this would be a great career move and I had always thought of nursing in the back of my mind as I really enjoy working with people and feel like I have a caring and patient nature. Also my mum was a nurse too so I think that definitely helped with making the decision to study nursing.
Before I could study nursing I had to gain some experience in the caring profession in order to discover these two crucial points:
1 – Would I enjoy nursing?
2 – Would I be capable?
Fortunately, I applied and received my first caring role in a residential home looking after older people. To my delight, I thoroughly enjoyed the work. It was something completely different from what I had ever done before and even though it was really hard work, both physically and mentally, I found that loved it. I loved making people smile, brightening their day and I had the opportunity to work with some amazing other care workers. The experience I gained here was immeasurable.
The next question I would have to ask is, would I be eligible to apply for the course? Although nurses are highly sought after, many people also want to be nurses, making it very competitive to enrol in a nursing degree. I was gaining experience as a care assistant but I also needed the relevant qualifications. Thankfully, I had already carried out a degree beforehand and had the adequate A level results so I was able to meet the eligibility criteria.
I applied to university whilst working as a care assistant and to my horror I didn’t receive an offer of acceptance first time round. I was saddened but I had initially applied for mental health nursing and I knew already that it was highly competitive. Maybe this was a blessing in disguise.
I spent another year in the residential home and reapplied to university a year later, this time for general nursing. I became a supervisor in the residential home and continued to really enjoy the work. This gave me the confidence to apply for a nursing assistant job in a hospital, as part of the NHS. Two years after having joined the residential home, I was now working as a nursing assistant in theatres. This was an amazing job opportunity and extremely different from working in a care home.
A few months later, I received a letter to say I had been successful to study general nursing!!! This was SUCH an amazing feeling to finally be another step closer to my Australian dream.
I enrolled in university the following year and continued to work both as a care assistant in the home and as a nursing assistant in the hospital. I was able to work across four different hospitals in numerous wards throughout my journey as a nursing assistant. I will never forget the things I learned here and the amount of amazing nursing assistants and nurses that I met along the way. It showed me the many different varieties of nursing and also allowed me to discover where I enjoyed working and where I maybe wanted to avoid in the future. I would say all nurses have certain tasks that they love performing and others not so much. The joy of nursing is that there is so much choice with regards to different nursing fields. If you don’t like one aspect of nursing, you can choose another that is more suited to you and you can also work in different settings, for example, hospital, community, GP surgery, telehealth etc.
So I studied nursing for three years. A full time degree whilst working part time. Hard, hard work, long hours and very little money but I loved it again. I had the best experiences, both in placements and in the classroom. Every six weeks we would change from being on placement to being back at uni and so on, whilst every placement you were on was in a different setting.
After completing my nursing degree, I became a registered nurse and luckily was able to obtain my first job pretty quickly. There was a huge demand for nurses then in Northern Ireland so all students were able to obtain their first choice of nursing profession. I worked in my first post for two years whist trying to plan my move to Australia. It all paid off in the end. I completed all my paper work and became an Australian resident before emigrating. This was another whole process and that is for another blog down the line. I do have a previous blog post on the nursing application to be a nurse in Australia here but be aware this may have changed since then.
There you have it. My journey to become a nurse and make the move to becoming an Australia resident. The whole process took about seven years. This was my biggest challenge to date and it was a lengthy process to say the least. I am glad I faced it and overcame the process. I could have let my dream pass and stayed living at home. However, I felt that I owed myself to take on the challenge and see what living on the other side of the world would be like for a lengthy period.
Thanks for reading guys. It’s slightly longer than my previous Bloganuary posts.
Is Halloween a big deal where you live? I feel like it’s pretty big here in Sydney. Parents go to great lengths to make it fun for the children. They really decorate their houses well and also outside their houses. I once seen hoards of children and their parents travelling the streets en mass here to go trick or treating. I had never seen this before.
Where I’m from in Northern Ireland, the kids would get dressed up and parade the streets to find sweets and candy from the neighbouring houses (you were devastated if someone gave you fruit or nuts!). I had never seen parents also getting dressed up and travelling with their children. Maybe that’s a sign of the times.
I used to love Halloween as a student. It was a great chance to be dressed up in anything really and head to a party with other like minded souls. The outfits didn’t have to be particularly scary. I never really understood that part. As I grow older, Halloween means less and less to me sadly. What about you? Does anyone else look forward to Halloween and it’s festivities?
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 🙂
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.