Nicole O'Neil Photography
I will make this short on words since i'm tired and I know my next post about Belfast will be wordy. I spent the day driving the top of Inishowen Peninsula followed by a ferry ride to drive the norther coast of Northern Ireland. I love the mist rising in the morning (and check out the moon in the top of the pic that I didn't notice until downloading the photos).
I made my way to the Doagh Famine Village. This was a great way to hear about the famine and history of Ireland (and that area in particular). It was half tour/half self guided. I knew some history about the famine, but got a lot more information. It's also interesting to hear the way history repeats itself. I won't go on about it in case you don't want to hear, but i'm happy to talk about what I learned in person.
When I crossed into N Ireland, the first thing I came to was Downhill Estate. On the national trust website, it says you have to pay admission, but myself and others freely walked the grounds which were massive. Here's a little history on the estate:
18th-century mansion of the eccentric Earl Bishop that now lies in ruin
Sadly the interior of the house shows little of its original character. The house was almost entirely gutted by a fire which broke out on a Sunday in May 1851. The library was completely destroyed and more than 20 pieces of sculpture had been ruined. Most of the paintings were rescued, but a Raphael, The Boar Hunt, was reported destroyed.
This was the house of which the Earl Bishop had written to one of his daughters from Rome in December, 1778, that: 'I am purchasing treasures for the Down Hill which I flatter myself will be a Tusculanium.'
In his later years, the Earl Bishop spent very little time in Ireland. His Irish estates were administered by a distant cousin, Henry Hervey Aston Bruce, who succeeded him following his death in 1803.
In 1804 Henry Hervey Aston Bruce was created a baronet and Downhill remained with the Bruce family until at least 1948, though the family rarely lived there after around 1920.
The only other occupation of the house came about during WWII when the site was requisitioned by the RAF. The house was subsequently dismantled after the war and its roof removed in 1950.
It was massive.
One shot of Dunluce Castle (more when I add all pics to Facebook and my site). A little history: Dunluce Castle is located dramatically close to a headland that plunges straight into the sea, along the North Antrim coast. There is archaeological evidence of a village that surrounded the castle which was destroyed by fire in 1641. The site was also witness to the sinking of a colony ship that broke up on the rocks off Islay in 1857 with the loss of 240 lives.
The 17th Century mainland courtyard, containing domestic buildings, leads downhill to a narrow crossing to the rock, formerly protected by a drawbridge to the gatehouse. The buildings on the rock are 116th and 17th Century.
Lastly, Giant's Causeway, which is beautiful. Giant's Causeway and the last two pics that I got leaving (second to last) and when I was almost to Belfast (last pic) show how amazing Mother Nature is.