Continuing on from where I left off, here’s some pics from the second half of our trip…
We took a wine tasting class one night at the Yellow Door… so fun.
I took lots of notes so I could appear to be very studious
you can never go wrong with wine & cheese pairings
see, totally serious students
me, Anna, Eimear, mum
My cousin Laura flew in with her daughter Madison from Nottingham… Maddie is two and a half and such a sweetheart.
How cute is her tutu? I love girly girl outfits.
We figured a girls day was in order so we headed to Belfast for lunch at James Street South, one of the top foodie spots in Northern Ireland.
waiting for our table
Anna & Maddie
the food presentation was gorgeous… I started with the celery soup
Mum had the smoked haddock
I had a second appetizer for my main… the iberico ham which came with artichoke and an olive tapenade.
mum had the loin of pork
Eimear had the calves liver with braised oxtail
I wasn’t brave enough to try it… sounds scary.
Anna and Laura shared a couple of dishes…
I think this one was the john dory & monkcheek
they also shared the cured salmon
No Irish meal is complete without potatoes…
we ordered a side of champ for the table
and some chips
After lunch we drove by City Hall…
my dad used to work right nearby here!
Thanks Laura for making the trip over!
Miss Madison is just adorable!
The next night Anna, her husband Daryl and I had planned a night out on the town… after first having a hot potch dinner of roast chicken, prosciutto & Irish ham, and tomato & mozzarella salad.
First we stopped by McConville’s, which has been around since 1865, but moved to it’s current location in 1900.
I’m pretty sure that sign Anna’s pointing to gives a bit of the history… they’ve really kept the pub true to its origins which is so cool.
your quintessential Irish pub
They still have the original wooden “snugs”… small, private rooms for patrons who preferred to drink or conduct business in privacy.
I’m not really sure what this little guy is for… maybe to hold a cigarette in his mouth so you could light it??
We then headed across the street to Bennetts…
Daryl surprised me with a bottle of Tattinger for us to share!
Thanks so much Daryl!!
we walked home afterwards
but not without stopping first for some chips!
The next day was my Uncle Anthony’s birthday, and our family was coming over to Eimear’s for dinner. Eimear wanted to make a thai beef recipe that she loves, so while she was at work I got to work on the herby mixture that gets poured over the beef at the end. It was really easy, just a lot of chopping… you mix together lime juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, shallots, chili, spring onions, basil, & mint. The end result was fab, plus you serve the beef at room temperature so it’s a great one for a party.
hostesses with mostesses
Mum made a fabulous mushroom & zucchini bake with a parmesan breadcrumb crust and of course some mashed potatoes… again, no Irish meal is complete without them! I made my spicy chili asparagus… it’s so easy, you just heat up olive & sesame oil over medium heat, and then add the asparagus, some finely chopped red chili, and salt & pepper. You can either boil the asparagus beforehand and then dunk in an ice bath (to maintain the bright green color) and reheat in the oil, or if you don’t have time you can cook them from raw on the stove… just don’t add the chili until you’re almost done.
Eimear also made a creamy chicken stew… we definitely had quite the feast!
Anna, me, and my cousin, Nicholas at the “kids table”
birthday boy with his cake
I know this photo is blurry, but I love it of mum and the cake!
It was soooooo good… she made a triple layer yellow cake with cream cheese frosting, topped with white chocolate shavings.
Alas, we are on our last day… Anna took us to Marks & Spencer for a final shop, and then to Hillsborough for the afternoon.
loaded up with Marks & Sparks goodies
and then onto Hillsborough
I used to spend so many weekends here as a child with my great-aunt, Jill
My favorite thing to do was to walk around this lake with her and her dog, Heather.
it was just as wonderful as I remembered
There used to only be two swans, and then one of them died so the remaining swan was left all by himself (swans mate for life)… I wonder when and where all the swans that are now there came from! We asked a couple of people, but no one knew. Jill would have known…
it was fabulous being back
I have so many happy memories from childhood here
I wish we had had more time to walk around
we were able to stop by the Fort though!
It was build in 1630!
um, not really sure what you call these
we walked by the old church
and then around to the front of the fort
One of Jill’s best friends used to be the groundskeeper here and lived at the fort… we spoke to the current groundskeeper and he told us that the fort is completely haunted… he hears footsteps, lights turn on and off, and one time all the burners on the stove in the kitchen ignited and no one was in there!! So spooky. He said there’s no way on earth he would live there, so it’s pretty crazy that Jill’s friend lived here for years and years!
I love this gate
the main walkway from the fort leading to the old courthouse
looking back at a woman walking her dog
some of the old homes
The Plough… one of our favorite lunch spots in Hillsborough
And my favorite children’s toy store, the Cheshire Cat
I was so excited the rocking horse is still there in the entryway!
the main road
Anna & Daryl had been looking at places to live in Hillsborough so I gave her a bit of a boost so she could peek inside one of the ones that was available! Since then they found an apartment actually and have already moved!! I can’t wait to see pictures of their new home.
distance marker to Dublin, Dromore, & Lisburn
Nana had some bubbly chilling for us for when we arrived back from Hillsborough and we had a lovely final dinner together. Our flight to Paris was leaving at the crack of dawn the next day so we had to say our teary goodbyes then. Ugh, goodbyes are so hard. It was such a wonderful trip, but our time there flew by. I wish I were able to go back more often… it’s sad not being able to see everyone all the time.
stay tuned for my Paris recap