A postcard from Northern Ireland

A postcard from Northern Ireland

A cliff-top temple, a giant sand dune and a boutique B&B

I’ve been visiting Northern Ireland over 15 years, and this was the first time I have been to Mussenden Temple.

Past summers we’ve simply driven past the temple as we made our way to Castlerock or Downhill beaches where we’d see, in the distance, the temple clinging onto cliffs near Castlerock.

This year we finally got our chance; it was the setting for our niece’s wedding. It is stunning (wedding and the temple).

A cliff-top temple 

Built in in 1785, the temple is modelled on the Temple of Vesta, Rome.  Its original purpose was as a summer library on the estate of Frederick Augustus Hervey, Bishop of Derry and Earl of Bristol. The temple is now property of the National Trust.

It’s worth taking a walk to see the temple in its spectacular setting. If you’re on the North Antrim coast, don’t drive by, pay a visit, you won’t regret it.

A giant sand dune

Is to be found on White Rocks beach off the Causeway Coastal Route. The combination of white limestone cliffs, golden sand dunes and clear waters make this beach near perfect. In 2015, it was awarded blue flag status.

There are signs warning against climbing the dune; but if you choose to throw caution to the wind, scramble up the giant sand dune and roll down. Not limited to kids, many grown ups can be found hurling themselves down the dune at the height of summer!

A boutique B&B 

Our other discovery was the wonderful, boutique bed and breakfast Craignamara, perched on a hilltop overlooking the seaside town of Portrush.

The B&B was opened a year ago, by Rod and Kerry Leitch. They have relocated to Northern Ireland from the Scottish highlands where they used to run a 300 year old inn.

For Rod and Kerry, nothing was too much trouble: whether it was the continual topping up of my coffee at breakfast; making fresh pancakes for the kids; or loaning us a boogie board to surf a giant sand dune. Books and a pair of socks accidentally discarded are making their way to Paris. That’s is just simply great, personal customer service.

We stayed in the family room. The kids were thrilled by the built in bunk bed with reading lights (loving the attention to detail), the flat screen TV (loving English TV) and wifi (loving being connected). There was ample space for the kids run around and play, no tripping up over fold-out beds to make our way to the luxuriously, large bathroom.

Though Craignmara is big, 12 rooms, it feels cosy, the wood-burning stove in the living room kept out the April chill.

If you are holidaying along the north Antrim coast, give Rod and Kerry a call, you’ll be made very welcome.

  • Rooms start at £110 per night.

Recommended placed to eat:

  •  As always Harry’s Shack serves up the best food on the North Antrim coast, and bags top spot for the best location to dine out
  •  Coast Pizzaeria at the Ramora, Portrush, serves up a great selection of pizzas and burgers – great for the kids and easy on the pocket
  •  Amici in Portstewart serves a wide range of good food and is great for families.  Great sea views.

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