Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Northern Ireland

We know and love Southern Ireland well - Dublin, Galway, the Burren, the Cliffs of Moher, Killarney, Tipperary, the Dingle peninsular, but had never visited Northern Ireland. Unbelievably, our journey took us from England to Wales then over the Irish Sea (3½ hours) to Dublin, and finally Northern Ireland. The return was via Scotland, so all parts of the UK were traversed one way or another during our week away.
Rain could have stopped play, but it didnt. Although Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle, it received much less rain than England for our first two days.
Rowallane Garden was created in 1860 by the Rev. John Moore to celebrate exotic species from all over the world. The house and gardens are situated on land which was once owned by the O'Neill clan. The house is now the headquarters for the National Trust in Northern Ireland.
Rhodochiton atrosanguineus - must give these a try next year, they were happily growing outside.
It was impossible to do the gardens justice - time to retire indoors for some hot sustenance.
The Argory via wikipedia
Built in the 1820s this Neo-classical Irish gentry country house has remained completely unchanged since the beginning of the 20th century thus evoking the family's Edwardian taste.
I love this entrance hall with its marbleised walls, the robust bronze statuary and stove, along with the brass balustrade supports.
Throughout the house are the most wonderful gas lights. Originally they were oil, but the house eventually had its own acetylene gas plant. Housed in the stable yard, and installed by the Sunbeam Acetylene Gas Company of Belfast in 1906 at an all in cost of £250.
The gas lamps can be manipulated rather like an anglepoise lamp
Portmanteau almost packed and ready for travels afar.

60 comments:

  1. Dear Rosmary,
    This is a most interesting post about the O'neill home in northern Ireland.
    The O'Neill clan live here in Lisbon. One of their large homes , they sold to America..it is now the American Embassy in Lisbon.
    My youngest son went to school with one of the O'Neill's.. They are very very well known here in Portugal amongst the aristocracy .. The History of the clan is so so interesting.
    maybe another post about them.. they are very very Royal.
    How i would love to make a visit to Ireland. I was there to see family when i was 2 ):
    happy wednesday
    val

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    1. Dear Val - I think that you mentioned that you have Irish blood in you from one of your parents?
      I do not know a great deal about the O'Neill clan, only what I learnt whilst in Northern Ireland.
      Perhaps you will have the opportunity to visit sometime there is so much to see there that I am sure you would enjoy it.

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  2. Hello Rosemary, I was stunned by these photos, especially the one of the tall trees, with its range of colors and textures. Rowallane Garden is magnificent--the view down the walkway was particularly appealing; it was grown-in the exact right amount. It looks lush and comfortable without being either too spare and formal or too overgrown.

    The picture with the square tower was atmospheric and intriguing, with its look of age and the other buildings mostly hidden in the greenery. I enjoyed the Argory, although I was not very fond of the yellow-mustard color of the marbleized walls--perhaps in person it looks different.
    --Road to Parnassus

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    1. Dear Jim - I am pleased that you enjoyed the photos, I was actually unsure of them, they were taken in the rain with large drips landing on me whilst I sheltered under the trees!!! The gardens were spectacular, but the weather not suited to photographs.
      Yes, I would definitely not like the marbleised walls in my own home. However, in this Edwardian home, which I felt had a very masculine entrance hallway, I thought it suited the ambience.

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  3. I only hope to travel sometime in Ireland ... Beautiful gardens, stunning green everywhere ... Thank you for sharing, Rosemary !

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    1. If you have the chance Dani do visit Ireland. It is a magical place, steeped in folklore, wonderful countryside and special people.

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  4. Travelling through the coasts of England, South & North Iralnd and Scotland sounds like something we ( R & I ) would love to do!
    We have been to Dublin years ago, and practically fell in love with the city, it's people, everything!
    The Argory is full of interesting corners and details and history. A beautiful place!

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    1. Dear Demie - Dublin is a great city to visit - lively, lots of interesting things to see and vibrant lovely people. I am sure you would enjoy a visit to both the north and south of Ireland - a magical place.

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  5. It looks like your trip took you not only to Ireland but also back in time Rosemary. Wonderful pictures. Must be great wandering around in such an old house where everything is just as it was more than a century ago.
    Bye,
    Marian

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    1. It is lovely Marian to see properties which still retain the atmosphere of lost eras. The Argory certainly had the Edwardian feel still present today.

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  6. Dear Rosemary,

    Your photos are beautiful and I enjoyed looking at every single one of them. I've been wanting to visit Ireland for years, maybe one day. The husband has been to Dublin but that was a long time ago.

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    1. Dear Paula - sometimes we are so busy going off abroad that we forget what is on our doorstep. Do try to visit if you get the chance, you will enjoy it.

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  7. What a treat for the eyes! So much green and manmade beauty too. Must have been a delightful time, apart from the weather.

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    1. Yes Karen, it was a shame about the weather, however fortunately, it did turn lovely after a couple of days.

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  8. I'm thoroughly enjoying the comforts of armchair traveling through your posts! Thank you for taking the time to share your gleanings with your blogging friends! Amazing gardens, architecture, history and more!

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    1. I think that when I returned home I felt that armchair travelling was the way to do it, we covered such a lot of miles. Thats the end of travel for 2012 apart from visits close to hand.

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  9. Hello Rosemary:
    What a packed programme for your week away! Rowallane Garden looks to be exactly our kind of place. Ireland has such a wonderful gardening heritage and, of course, the climate is conducive to the creation of great gardens. We first saw Rhodochiton growing at Sissinghurst and fell in love at first sight. However, it never worked for us no matter how hard we tried!

    The Agory would be a perfect choice for us as we are fascinated by this period [indeed, we sometimes wonder if we still live in this era!!] and it all looks to have been so wonderfully well presented. One can almost imagine that the 'family' has just stepped out for a while to allow the visitors to pass through the rooms!

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    1. Hello Jane and Lance - I am sure that spells disaster for me too with the Rhodochiton. However, I have an old packet of unopened seeds so I will give them a try.
      I can see your straw panama hat nonchalantly hanging in the grand hall Lance, I think that you would be very much at home in the Argory.

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  10. All the photos are amazing ! I would like to be in the gardens and I liked the photo
    of stairs and the wall with so many paintings ! I would like to see them !
    Olympia

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    1. The hall and stairway in The Argory was extremely atmospheric - rather like stepping into a time warp or a period drama on the TV.

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  11. Dear Rosemary,
    Your photographs are lovely. I think you have the 'eye' for taking them. I like the one you took of the stone gateway leading into what I am guessing is another part of the garden? I would like something like that in a garden one day. I also like the photo you took through the wisteria covered window - at least I think it is wisteria.
    I have not been to Northern Ireland myself or much of Ireland at all for that matter - only Dublin and Glendalough. I hope that you will post some more photographs of your trip there!
    Bye for now
    Kirk

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    1. Dear Kirk - that is very generous of you. I was, in fact, not very happy with the photos due to the rain, it made it very difficult.
      You are right, it is wisteria covering the window. If it was over my window, I would have to trim it back, but in that house it added to the atmosphere.
      Yes, I will post more. Some of the places we visited were extremely special, and they are yet to come!!!

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    2. Dear Rosemary,
      I think that we always look at our own work with a very critical eye and I know rain can spoil the effect we want to achieve but I really do think your photos are great. So I look forward to the rest.
      Yes I don't mind seeing the wisteria on someone else's window looking all ethereal but I would trim it on my own too!
      Kirk

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    3. With your own work often the expectations are higher than the results.
      We had better weather for the rest of the trip which also helps.

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  12. Dear Rosemary -

    I'm sure you enjoyed looking at all the exotic plants, and I'll bet you got some good ideas for your own garden, too!

    I enjoyed getting a peek into The Argory — so much of the furnishings look to be mid-19th century. I like that more and more museums are now creating displays that give a lived-in look. I heard recently of an art gallery that displayed Dutch still lifes of food in a roon set with a dining table that would have been typical of the same period. I love it!

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    1. Dear Mark - The eclectic interior of The Argory evokes the family's tastes and interests which for me was very appealing.
      Most of the rooms lay under dust sheets for forty years before it was finally handed over to the National Trust in 1979.

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  13. beautiful, Rosemary! i think (at least as a foreigner to the British Isles) that Northern Ireland is forgotten in favour of England, Scotland, Wales and Southern Ireland when planning holidays. It's nice to see that there is just as much history to be seen there! When I eventually make it to Ireland, I'll make sure to visit both parts!

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    1. I suspect Roanna that it has mainly been neglected because of the troubles in Belfast and the surrounding area. It is now very much on the up and up, and is fast becoming a tourist destination. It has lots of interests to offer - beautiful countryside, history, and a warm welcome.

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  14. Hi Rosemary, what a gorgeous place. The art and mirrors are stunning. We nearly booked a trip to Ireland in 09 but changed our minds. Perhaps one day. Olive

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    1. Do go Olive if the chance arises again. The north and the south are both lovely to visit. Lots and lots of things to see and do plus gorgeous scenery.

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  15. A very special house. Some of the rooms are very impressive.

    Greetings,
    Filip

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    1. It is a time warp Filip, and interesting to visit.

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  16. A wonderful trip & inspiring photos. Am I the only person to wonder what is peeking out from under the nightshirt on photo 12...?

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    1. Thanks Nilly and yes, you are the only one.
      I wondered if it might invite any curiosity, you have sharp eyes. It is a rat, a toy rat I might add. There are rats in each room to encourage little visitors to look carefully around and see how many they can spot.

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  17. As much as the rain is not fun to walk around in, it adds just the right atmosphere to pictures of old stone and gardens, especially in your fifth photo. I love the Rodochiton, their colour and shape are quite exotic looking, as if they belong in an Amazon forest rather than the UK!

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    1. The Rhodochiton is very exotic looking and apparently it comes from the forests of Mexico, so it does seem surprising that it grows here. It needs to be in a glass house and only goes out for the summer. You can grow them from seed so as I already have a packet I shall give it a try and see how I get on.
      The rain on our first day was disappointing, but luckily after that it picked up.

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  18. Well I can honestly say, I had noticed the beast, peeking out from the night shirt...but Nilly has beaten me to asking about it.
    Ireland is full of amazing places to visit, and this looks like a real gem. Somehow rain in Ireland is always acceptable. I too, know the south quite well, but have yet to venture north of the border....it is on the must do soon list. A lovely post Rosemary. J.

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    1. We all found ourselves collecting rats and pointing them out on the visit although there were no children with us!!!
      We were very impressed with northern Ireland. Belfast is a fine city with some good Victorian and contemporary architecture, lots of green spaces, and surrounded by hills.
      Some of the special things we saw there I shall show in the next few days.

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  19. Hallo Rosemary!My desire is to visit Ireland one day! All your photos are amazing! Very professional!I traveled with you today on these unique places !Wish you a great October month!
    Dimi..

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    1. Hello Dimi and thank you. Glad to have you travelling with me. I do hope that one day you get the opportunity to visit Ireland - it does have a special magic.

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  20. Hello Rosemary

    Your Rowallane House and Garden visit, despite the rain, which has even enhanced your images, looks like the perfect day. From the ochre marbelized walls and brass stair rails to the selection of etchings framed uniformly all is beautifully preserved.
    Thank you for sharing this special visit

    Helenxx

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    1. Dear Helen - fortunately the rain eased off for the rest of our visit and we even had some lovely blue skies later in the week. I loved the hallway and stairs in The Argory, the beautiful cantilevered stairway simmering with brass, and the black and white chequered board tiled floor.
      Pleased that you enjoyed seeing it.

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  21. We do love Ireland but have only been to Kerry and Dublin. Northern Ireland looks lovely too. Those gas lamps look amazing. Thank you for sharing your trip with us.
    Sarah x

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    1. Dear Sarah - as I mentioned we had only been to the south previously, but we were very pleasantly surprised by the north. Lots of places of interest to visit and lovely countryside. In Belfast they are delighted with the turn around in tourist visits, and are pleased to welcome people from far and wide. Apparently Cruise ships have even started stopping for a visit there now, and especially since the Titanic exhibition opened.

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  22. Dear Rosemary,

    I am in sweet awe of your pictures; stunning and elegant. Ireland is an amazing country and your post has revealed a corner of it I have not had the pleasure of visiting yet. Thank you.

    I'm off to visit you forthwith!

    Stephanie

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    1. Dear Stephanie - how very strange, I was just looking at millefeuiles for the first time and wondering how I could follow you when your message came in.
      I do not know how you find the time to make those entrancing hares, and you have a young family too.
      Looking forward to keeping in touch.
      I will put you on my sidebar.

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  23. Dear Rosemary,
    What a wonderful treat to be transported to these lovely sites! I love the photos of the Argory, with the rooms set as though for the family living there....such charm and humanity. I especially liked the shot of the bedroom with the hot water bottle next to the pillow. Snug and beautiful. Inspired, I'm already thinking ahead to next year's garden improvements. Thank you!
    Warm regards,
    Erika
    p.s. It's probably too late to post a comment on your wendy house post, but I wanted you to know how much I enjoyed it!

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    1. Dear Erika - I actually ended up doing the Wendy House post as a result of a comment made by Mark. I showed a post on thatched English cottages and he said he recalled the Queen being gifted a thatched wendy house as a child - so it is thanks to him that I did the post.
      I am pleased that you enjoyed your visit to The Argory - a special Edwardian atmosphere pervades the house.

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    1. Thank you - glad that you enjoyed seeing them.

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  25. What gorgeous photos, Rosemary. I've been to Northern Ireland a couple of times, but always for family events. One day I must visit to see it properly and your post makes me want to so this. :-)

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    1. Dear Perpetua - does this mean that your Broadband is fixed?
      By the time I have finished showing you more of Northern Ireland you will be very keen to return and see it for yourself. It is rapidly gaining a reputation as a destination 'hotspot'.

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    2. We very much hope so, Rosemary - at least, it's working well at the moment. :-)

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    3. Good, pleased to learn that.

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  26. Great house !
    Thanks to share this gorgeous pictures...
    Best regards from Paris,

    Pierre

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    1. Dear Pierre - glad you enjoyed seeing The Argory - a house with a very special atmosphere. Thank you for your comment.

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  27. What a wonderful way to reveal some of the ancient and beautiful 'secrets' spots in Northern Ireland: amazing pictures, interesting descriptions and also a bit of rain... You haven't missed anything out, Rosemary! … There is nothing left for us, except the pleasure to give you a couple of suggestions for your next visit: Antrim Castle Gardens (Co. Antrim), an absolute gem and you will find nothing like these 400 year old gardens anywhere else! Springhill (Co. Derry/Londonderry) with its beguiling spirit will definitely capture your heart. Described as ‘one of the prettiest houses in Ulster’, its welcoming charm reveals a family home with portraits, furniture and decorative arts that bring to life the many generations of Lenox-Conynghams who lived here from 1680. Would that be your cup of tea? :) We hope to read about those and other incredible places in your next post regarding Ireland! ;)

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    1. Thank you - I am so pleased that you are happy with the posts I have done on Northern Ireland. We were very pleased to see how lovely the whole area is. Several of my followers have also been sufficiently impressed to consider giving Northern Ireland a visit.
      I have a couple more posts still to show - one on the Giant's Causeway and one on Mount Steward and the surrounding area.

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  28. Rosemary,
    I've never been to Ireland....definitely on my list. Brilliant photos, once again! I love the interior shot looking out the window. Are those wisteria vines? I don't know your starting location, but I'm surprised it took so long (?) to reach N. Ireland. Hope you are doing well and enjoying your garden.
    Loi

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    1. Dear Loi - we certainly made a longwinded journey out of getting to Ireland. We set off from the Cotswolds and travelled to Holyhead in Wales. There we caught a ferry to Dublin in the south of Ireland, and travelled up to Belfast in the north. On our return we took the ferry from Belfast to Stranraer, Scotland, and travelled back down to England and eventually home.
      Yes, you are right it is Wisteria growing over the window.

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