As I sit here writing this weeks blog in a library in Inverness it almost doesnt seem real that last week I was away on holiday. But even without wifi in my accomodation and no data left on my phone I am still managing to get through the days slightly unscathed.
Monday 27th June
After a wonderful weekend in St Andrews I arrived back to the flat in Edinburgh at 11pm – a lot later than I had anticipated considering I had washing and ironing and packing and dinner to do before we left in the morning.
Midnight came and went and I’m ashamed to say that ironing became the last of my concerns and I stuffed everything (unironed) into my case. 5:45am and my alarm went off. After dragging myself out of bed and making toast and tea for the journey, Cameron and I set off for Cairnryan for our boat sailing at 10:30. I’m not going to lie, I slept for most of the journey. Late nights and early starts do not agree with me, but when they are in combination that’s a recipe for a disaster. Poor Cameron had to drive 3 hours being equally as exhausted as I was.
The boat was fine. We obviously had to get a full english and a cup of tea to perk ourselves up after that we wandered outside as the sun was out,the views were pretty nice leaving Scotland and entering Ireland. Then we watched The Intern which was on in the film lounge.
Once the boat journey was over we headed to the titanic museum in Belfast. This was very worthwhile, although expensive. The best part was the ride in the middle, where you sat on a seat which reminded me of ‘It’s a Small World’ at Disneyland Paris and they took you around hearing stories of different workmen on the Titanic.
After spending a couple of hours at the exhibition we then drove to the Galgorm Hotel and Spa where we were staying. This hotel was outstanding. The staff were unbelievably friendly and nothing was too much bother for them. I came across this hotel via Youtube – a vlogger that I watch had stayed here and the spa looked unreal.
Our room looked out onto the spa, just to the right of the hot tub. Once we arrived at the hotel, we firstly booked a dinner reservation at the Italian restaurant and then after finding our room had a good long nap. We woke up just in time to fit a G&T in before dinner. The hotel has a brilliant gin bar in a conservatory overlooking the river with hundreds of gins and tonics to choose from. I opted for the Bloom gin with Elderflower tonic and it was heavenly.
Dinner was 2-for-1, much to our delight. I had a Diavolo pizza which is my all time fav. There was talk at dinner about maybe having another drink or playing a bit of pool but when the push came to the shove we decided actually sleeping was a much better idea.
Tuesday 28th June
We were up fairly early on Saturday morning as we couldn’t miss breakfast, one of the best things about a hotel! Breakfast was even better than I had imagined it would be. There was everything you could ever dream of – including crepes (my ultimate breaskfast food) and Guinness bread and cheese.
Today was the SPA DAY I had been waiting for. We had a leisurely morning reading the paper (you get one in the morning attached to your door in a little bag) then headed off to the spa. We were going to book in for treatments however there was no room left for the massages so we took a treatment brochure and had a think about what we would like instead. We decided on the Celtic Sauna Ritual and the 2 person Mud Scrub. The Celtic sauna ritual started just before we booked in to it was our first experience of the spa. This was probably my favourite thing ever. It consisted of a ‘sauna master’ guiding you through the ritual which began with three different oils being individually poured on the stones of the sauna which really heated it up and the sauna master preforming moves with a towel which really moved the air and let it circulate around. The next part was a meditation in a room overlooking the river, with huge big windows open so you could hear the noise of the river and the birds. I know it sounds really weird but if you ever get the chance to try it, please do.
Next it was time for lunch, which we ate in the spa orangery (how posh!) I got a little plater of meats which was really tasty and a frozen strawberry daiquiri. It was very expensive but I suppose thats what you pay for eating in a spa.
The mud scrub was actually great fun. You were given your own personal stem room and showers with little pots of mud. You had to apply the mud for ten minutes, allow drying time for 10 minutes, steam for 20 minutes and then there was a 10 minute long hot shower at the end to wash off all the mud. It was great, I didn’t find it amazingly relaxing however it was really fun and my skin was so smooth and glowy afterwards.
After the mud scrub we just explored the HUGE spa. It was amazing, there were three pools – jacuzzi pool, hypotherapy pool and normal swimming pool which had heated waterbeds around it. The was three saunas and steam rooms all at different temperatures as well as other varients of them. There was even a snow room which was -10 degrees C, and it actually burnt your feet it was so cold. There was a lot of outdoor areas where you could sit however we went on a cold drizzly day so the only outdoor place we sat was the hot tub.
After we had successfully done everything in the spa, it was time for dinner. We ate in the hotels other restaurant – the Grill. I had a chicken curry because I wasn’t fancying any red meat but the curry was absolutely delicious. After dinner we again just went back to our room to watch some TV and go to sleep. We were delighted to find out that the room had a free minibar, so it was only polite to have a couple of drinks on the hotel.
Wednesday 29th June
Breakfast was good as ever, although we were both sad to be leaving the wonderful hotel and the amazing spa. Check out was 11am and afterwards we had a walk around the grounds. The grounds of the hotel were massive and they had maps with routes that you could walk.
The grounds were lovely and we walked a fair distance before deciding to drive down to the coast where my gran lived. We were both starving so I decided to take Cameron to one of my grandads favourite lunch venues – the Bushmills Distillary. The food was great and not overpriced at all which I was surprised about as there were swarms of tourists about.
After lunch we went on a whim and decided to go on the tour of the distillary which was actually dead cheap. The tour lasted 45 minutes and our tour guide was hilarious. You got to see every stage of the brewing process and at the end you could choose which type of whisky you wanted to try. I went for the 10 year and Cameron went for the Honey brew. Now I can confirm that I am not and will never be a whisky drinker. No matter how hard I try I cannot enjoy the taste, its just too strong even with water. I’m sure if you were a whisky drinker however this would taste superb.
Because the rain had stopped when we left, we decided we should take a visit to the Giant’s Causeway. The weather was not in our favour. We walked along the costal path overlooking the causeway and meandered down. As soon as we reached the causeway stones, the rain flew down in buckets. We were drenched from head to toe and so after about 5 minutes decided to head back. Then as soon as we arrived at the costal path again above the causeway the sun came back out. The Gods obviously didn’t want us seeing it.
Once we arrived back at the car the heating went on full blast and we made our way to grans house. We had a lovely evening with cooking from my Aunt and company from my Great Aunt and Uncle. Bed wasn’t until way past midnight (yes, I am a granny and I go to bed very early normally).
Thursday 30th June
Thursday was a day for family. The morning saw us visiting two Great Aunts and a Great Uncle. We left their house at around 2 where we headed straight for Portrush to have a go on the rides at Barry’s which is a funfair open during the summer months. When me and my sister were younger my gran used to take us and it was great fun.
We had a ride on the dodgems and then spent a VERY long time on the slot machines where I found out I have a hidden talent. I am the slot queen. I won a lot of money (only 2p’s I’m afriad) but then I lost it all again. Tragic.
We then went in search of food because what else do people do at 4oclock on a Thursday. We found this gorgeous little place called Babushka which was right between the beach and the harbour. It served some great food and there was a lovely atmosphere around it.
Next I was introducing Cameron to my other granny and grandad where we had tea and cake before we had to leave to go out for dinner.
We went out for dinner with my Aunt and gran to a place in Bushmills called the French Rooms. It has always been a favourite venue to eat out at and it didn’t disappoint. My aunt and I shared a platter of delicious meats and cheeses, humous and salad with crusty bread. It was a lovely way to end the holiday.
Friday 1st July
Today we were leaving to come back to Scotland. I was a bit sad that our holiday had come to an end but grateful that the holiday had been so good. We decided to leave really early for our boat so we could drive around the coast on our way back to the port.
The drive was very scenic and at some points it felt prearious because the roads were so small and you were very near the edge of the cliffs. We stopped half way along in a town called Cushindun. It was so quaint and had a beautiful hearbour and stretch of beach. We ate at the local pub which was tiny but it did great food.
It was a bit strange driving back the costal road as we could see Scotland in the distance, not looking too far away.
We eventually arrived home late on Friday night, where bed was top on our list after having a long day travelling.
We had such a great holiday and are definately keen to visit again sometime soon. The North Coast of Ireland is such a picturesque part of the world. I would definately recommend a visit to anyone and everyone.