14 Days in Ireland – Day 4: Slieve Donard Overlook (again), Tea with Violet, Cushendall, Cushendun, Torr Head, and Dunluce Castle

After my breakfast of soda bread French toast that 4th day of the photo tour, I loaded myself and my stuff into the van and we set out for one last photo op at Slieve Donard Overlook.  But first….The Secret Garden.  The previous night, as the van turned onto the road from the b&b’s driveway, we noticed off to the side an arched entrance looking into a beautifully-manicured garden we immediately dubbed The Secret Garden.  John promised to stop here the next morning as we started what would be a very full day’s journey to Ballycastle.  Because this garden was private property, we couldn’t very well just traipse on in, happily snapping away.  The best we could manage were shots like the one above, affording glimpses into this fairy tale garden.  Afterwards, we returned to Slieve Donard Overlook for one last view of the Mourne Mountains.  It was raining.  In Ireland.  How unusual.

We didn’t mind the rain much because, as every photographer knows: rain clouds = interesting scenes, like the dappling of sun and cloud shadow in the photo above.

We also returned to this place to help pass time until Tea Time with Violet.  Remember, in my last post, I mentioned that while enjoying a second night’s dinner at the Percy French (I still can’t remember what I ate that night), John’s friend and special guest Violet invited us all to her home for a proper Irish Tea.

From Slieve Donard Overlook onward, we stopped at an arched stone bridge (none of my photos turned out very well of this place) and then at a little car park out in the country where hikers were following a narrow trail hugging a tall hill (or maybe it was a small mountain?).  Can you spot the teeny tiny hikers along the trail in this photo?

I turned around to look across the road from the car park and focused the camera on this picturesque stone cottage with the bright red door.

The caravan stopped for a couple more photo ops before the rains began to fall heavily, forcing us inside the vehicle where the windows fogged up because the heater/defrost wasn’t working properly.  John called Violet to check on the status of her Tea, and down the road we went toward Rathfriland.

I honestly don’t know what I was expecting regarding houses in Ireland.  I guess I imagined that every home was made of stone, had a thatched roof, and was on the small-ish side.   Houses in Ireland – at least, the ones I saw – are all quite large – just as large as the houses in a Houston subdivision.

Violet was all set up and ready for us.  She had quite a spread: cake and  cookies and scones, all prettily laid out on a lovely white tablecloth.  Of course, we all sampled everything on the table and washed the sweet fare down with coffee and tea (we unanimously agreed that the cream-filled sponge cake was the best).  I liked that cake so much that I purchsed an Irish cookbook from Amazon upon my return to Texas (ok, the sponge cake was not the only reason I bought that cookbook, but for a person who doesn’t cook much anymore,  it was the first time I actually thought about trying to cook some Irish dishes myself).

Oh my, the sugar overload.  For the remainder of the day, none of us were very hungry and we all battled the sleepies.  I don’t know how John managed to drive the distance.  Did I mention that it was quite a long day crammed full of photo ops?

From Violet’s house onward to the twin coastal towns of Cushendall and Cushendun.  In the rain.  Well, it was sunny most of the way until we entered the outskirts of Cushendall.

We passed through Cushendall to stop in Cushendun and I was the only person to brave the rain and get a few snaps of a picturesque little harbor with an arched stone bridge (note the rain hitting the water).

Thank goodness for my Vortex Media Storm Jacket camera rain cover.  I don’t know what I would have done without it.  The cover ultimately got saturated at some point during a particular rainy day on the Dingle Peninsula (a later post from now), but for the most part, that bright yellow coated nylon worked extremely well to keep the water off and out of my precious SLR.

Departing Cushendun, our white caravan traveled the Torr Head Road for various photo stops along the Antrim Coast.  I’ve written this before and I’ll write it again:  everywhere I looked on this trip held scenes of incredible beauty.  The Torr Head Road (that’s what they call it, although it may officially be called something else) is a curvy road parallel to the coastline.  Scenes of gorse and deep green countryside and sheep and picturesque homes and sun and clouds filled the camera viewfinder.

Torr Head (“Tall Rock”) is so named because of the soil erosion which uncovered the metamorphosed stone beneath.  This prominent rock marks the closest distance between Ireland and Scotland (12 miles).  There’s a new coastguard station right at the top of the hill, and the old coastguard station (built of stone, naturally) is left in rather picturesque ruins next to a new car park.

  Looking out to that promontory, which is Torr Head

 A closer view of Torr Head

  Torr Head and Scotland beyond

  White, green, and blue

  The view from the Torr Head car park

Along the narrow way from the main road to the carpark are thick hedges filled with gorgeous wild fuschias.  I haven’t seen fuschias since my Seattle days, and even then, the fuschias I saw were in hanging baskets and not actually growing out in the wild.  These lovely flowers are not native to Ireland, but grow prolifically throughout the coastal areas because of the conducive weather.

 Not the greatest photo in the world, but I didn’t have my macro lens with me for this trip.  The best I could do was a closeup using the 24-105, and that doesn’t always work out very well.

After about 45 minutes at this stop, we resumed our journey toward a sunset shoot at Dunluce Castle.  We did stop for dinner at the Hunter Bar, where I ordered my first curry in the UK (remember, Northern Ireland is considered part of the UK).  Delish!  Even John agreed, and I’m pretty sure he’s eaten alot of curries during his photo tours.

We checked into our night’s accommodations Brown’s Country House before driving on to the castle.  I don’t even know where to begin with that magical place.  It’s a major tourist attraction, but because of the hour at which we arrived, everything was closed and the tourists were gone.  We had the whole place to ourselves.  Naturally, we couldn’t actually walk inside castle at that time of night, but the photo opportunities were everywhere.  The golden sun was setting and in the distance, a storm squall of blue-pink clouds brewed.  The castle was moody, the seascape dramatic…..and it was cold, windy, and wet.  Totally stunning.

When we finished up an hour later, we returned to our night’s lodging.  Brown’s Country House is a nice enough place, with a few caveats.  I wrote up a review in TripAdvisor.  The heat was on (a plus in their favor).  My electric hot pot didn’t work and it was too late at night to go downstairs and try to get a replacement (a minus) so I couldn’t fix the tea I had so come to enjoy and rely upon.  The toilet made a HUGE horrendous noise like it was dying or something, so I tried not to flush it too many times during the evening.  And my room didn’t have a desk. Instead, it had sort of a “ledge” right over the heat radiator that was large enough to accommodate a small laptop and mouse (only just) and my portable HD if I arranged everything just so.  And there were no chairs – only a stool.  Sigh.  One must make do with what one has, right?

Breakfast the following morning, and humorous converation with the loquacious lodge owners/operators helped considerably (good food always helps my mood).

Next:  Day 5: Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-a-rede rope bridge, scenery shots, Bushmills, Dunluce Castle again, White Rocks, Strabane, and on to Donegal

©2011 Rebecca Latson Photography, all rights reserved.  Please do not use my photos for any purposes without my explicit permission.



Filed under 14 Days in Ireland, Day 4, Ireland and London Trip 2011

159 responses to “14 Days in Ireland – Day 4: Slieve Donard Overlook (again), Tea with Violet, Cushendall, Cushendun, Torr Head, and Dunluce Castle

  1. Starting a Google search now for “Ireland vacation package.”


    Thank you for the inspiration!

  2. I was just in Ireland last month and had the time of my life! I also traveled around a fair bit and saw some of the most incredible scenery that I’ve ever seen in my life. Dunluce Castle was incredible!

    Thank you so much for sharing your photos…they reminded me of how incredibly beautiful that island really is.

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! 😀

  3. flo

    beautiful photos, always wanted to go to ireland, hopefully someday.

  4. Thank-you for sharing your trip to dreamland. My journey to these places of Ireland are still on the waiting list.One of my fav. snaps of yours is the long stairway upwards. It reminded me of an oldie tune: stairway to heaven, by Led Zep. Nice feedup, keep it on.Bye

  5. Incredible photo.s .. I live in Ireland (Galway, west coast) and these pic.s are stunning. Sometimes, I forget how beautiful it is here.
    Hope you’re sojourn went (is going?) well.

  6. What gorgeous shots. Ireland is my #1 dream place I want to visit one day.

  7. BEAUTIFUL! We made a trip to Ireland on our 50th Anniversary, and it was as “magical” as I’d always dreamed. Thanks for sharing and confirming this!

  8. Beautiful – makes me want to go back. With my new camera. Thanks and congrats on being Freshly Pressed.

  9. Ireland is definitely one of the countries I’d love to visit someday. Heard so much of the country and their people. Great photos by the way 🙂

  10. Great Photos! Nice job! Congratulations!

  11. Gorgeous!! Thanks for sharing

  12. Gorgeous. My wife and I went in 2010 and now I want to go back.

  13. carleennimrod

    Absolutely enchanting! I’ve been thinking of taking a trip to Ireland…you’ve inspired me to do it!

  14. Those are incredible pictures. I imagine it took a fairly long time to put it all together for the post. Here is our take on a recent trip to Ireland when I learned, the hard way as usual, not to order a Black and Tan: http://www.changesinlongitude.com/2011/07/order-black-and-tan-irish-pub-ireland-dublin/

  15. Pingback: 14 Days in Ireland – Day 4: Slieve Donard Overlook (again), Tea with Violet, Cushendall, Cushendun, Torr Head, and Dunluce Castle (via rebeccalatsonphotography) « Sandra2891svizzera's Blog

  16. bernadetteryan

    Great pictures. live in Dublin, have never been to that part of the country, want to go after seeing your pictures!

  17. loved it so much that i re-blogged it!!!

  18. Your photos are beautiful! I’ve always wanted to go to Ireland and your photos make me want to even more! Great post!

  19. hmunro

    I loved your narrative *almost* as much as your photos. You did a wonderful job of capturing the light … just gorgeous. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed — very well deserved!

  20. Wow, these are some GREAT photos! I love the pictures of the Irish countryside in their idyllic setting.

    And the rolling green hills by the sea with sheep roaming…would be a lovely experience to share with a girl I bet lol.

  21. Carlie Chew

    Wow! Amazing pictures. I love the picture with the stairway and the cutout in the stone wall, showing the sea and sky behind it. Inspiring!

  22. Amazing photos! The food makes my mouth water!! They look so delicious.

  23. How beautiful the Green Island is!
    Thank you for sharing, my wandering lust has now been sparked by the images of the plush land we know as Ireland!

  24. WOW! These pictures are absolutely stunning! I especially like the ones that look out on the water. They’re gorgeous!! I’ve really wanted to go to Ireland for a while.

  25. yoforit

    Beautiful! I would love to visit Ireland one day too!

  26. So beautiful! This makes me want to go to Ireland RIGHT NOW!

  27. Exquisite photography, magnificent place. It looks fake. The heavy darkened rain clouds were amazingly captured. Congrats on FP.

  28. Beautiful pictures and fantastic writing – thanks for sharing!

  29. beautiful pictures.. 🙂

  30. Agreed, those castle shots are really amazing (along with the rest of them). I’m particularly attached to the one with the stairs leading up to that oval doorway. Amazing!

  31. We’re glad you had an amazing experience in Ireland. It’s an easy to let go and see beauty, isn’t it?

    All best from the crew at Authentic Ireland Travel!

  32. These are great shots! The colors and details are so vivid! I didn’t know Ireland can look this beautiful in photographs 😉

  33. Beautiful! I have always wanted to go to Ireland, and you’re giving me even more of a reason!

  34. Wonderful blog. I like your nature blog. It’s really beautiful.

  35. So GREEN!!!
    Ireland is on my list on places to go before I die & this makes me even more excited to visit there!

  36. Nice blog. I like your blog.

  37. Thank you for the wonderful photos! We leave for our second trip to Ireland at the beginning of October. Reading your blog and seeing the beautiful pics has us counting the days – can’t wait to get back! I look forward to your photos of Donegal, as that is where we will be spending most of our time.

  38. loved all the snaps,esp the one with the castle steps,and the last shot…simply amazing…irish countryside is truly beautiful!!

  39. amazing scenery! i was supposed to make a trip to ireland this fall, but it’ll have to wait one more year. i’m so looking forward to it, and your photos reinspired me. thanks!

  40. Love the photo’s, I live in Ireland myself. I always say there are so many lovely places to go at home if we could only get the weather. Love the pictures of the food I would love a nice scone now.:) It’s good to see so many people like our green isle.

  41. Beautiful photos! Nice post!

  42. your photos are beautiful, and make me urn for another trip…. thanks for sharing them.

  43. Beautiful photos. Totally describing what I have in mind about Ireland. Green, green and green. Would love to go there one day.

  44. eham1

    Very bauty place!!! woow amazing!!!! thank you!!!

  45. You take absolutely amazing photos!

  46. These photos are so incredible! I’ve always wanted to go to Ireland and this just makes my heart sing. Such inspiration.

  47. Your pictures are beautiful! I’m going to Dublin on tuesay and cannot wait! I will definitely be taking an waterproof coat!

  48. Beautiful photographs, and some good variety too.

  49. I’ve never been to ireland, but I saw the photo and your writings I feel closer to the Irish.

  50. Gorgeous pictures! I really do need to visit Ireland some time in the future. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! 🙂

  51. an amazing photo! 😀 so beautiful photo! i love it!

  52. claudiaandr

    Que belas imagens, principalmente aquela que parece ser de um castelo!

  53. You are living my all time dream…I have always wanted to go to Ireland and just take pictures and write. Someday I will…..Alas, not anytime too soon!


  54. adrianduque89

    wow great photography!

  55. Really beautiful pictures!! Love all of them. My mom uses to ask me if that places on movies are real. And I showed your pictures and she’s impressed now. She wants to visit Ireland as soon as possible!!

  56. Val

    Wow, your photos are really amazing! I’m subscribing NOW. 🙂 I love the clarity in them. I clicked on a few to view them larger and it was truly worth it. Lovely.

  57. These photos are amazing & they drive me all the more to want to visit Ireland! 😀 O! & that secret garden 😀 I do hope U get more pictures of it 😀 EEEeeeeee!!!! I just can’t get over how beautiful Ireland looks!!!!!

  58. All that in one day!? Wow, that’s impressive. You are definitely dedicated to your art, and, I might add, art well appreciated. I loved the glimpse of the secret garden, made more secretive because it was just that , a glimpse.

  59. I never get tired of seeing the castles and ruins of Ireland. I wish we had ruins here. Oh wait, we do, except ours are called…Detroit.

    Congrats on being FP’d!

  60. I absolutely love your pictures of Dunluce Castle! I wanted to explore it more thoroughly but arrived just past closing time 😦 If time allows, you can view my lackluster images (in comparison to yours:) and Northern Ireland review here:


  61. Thank you for taking me to Ireland with your pictures. The “picturesque stone cottage with the bright red door” i love. There is something so poignant about it.

  62. These photos are amazing! I’ve actually been up near Slieve Donard quite a few times and there’s a beautiful little place a little further away from it called Silent Valley. Anyone that’s thinking of going or is going to Northern Ireland should definitely visit! 🙂
    The photos of the castle in Dunluce are epic! And I live near Cushendall and Cushendun, you could’ve visited me!

  63. You catch it, beautifully.
    Great photos.
    Congrats for being Freshly Pressed.

    Sharing this on my G+

  64. These pictures are amazing! Great coverage of the country! Can’t wait to see more!

  65. Very beautiful and peace !

  66. Great photos! Ireland is on my list to visit and experience. Thanks for sharing.

  67. It’s so beautiful…….
    in chinese we call 世外桃源

  68. Gorgeous photos! My grandmother lived in a little thatched cottage that had a red front door. I remember it well. Two main rooms were the living room, dining room, kitchen and main bedroom. It also had a fire place. Lovely post.

  69. Zoya

    Beautiful pictures…Hope to visit Ireland some year soon.

  70. Breathtaking.. I’m very jealous and hope to one day travel through Ireland myself 🙂

    I wonder, did you ever make it to the Cliffs of Moher? It looks magnificent there…

  71. beautiful pictures. like your blog

  72. maddycruise

    Breath taking pictures. Thanks for sharing your wonderful trip to Ireland!!!

  73. very beautiful! Ireland

  74. YM965

    The pictures are amazing

  75. 831photography

    wow. the picture of torr head with the green hills, blue water, and white clouds is a really artistic shot

  76. fionaqiqi

    i love the views…

  77. Wow, the pictures are amazing…. just amazing…. i wanna get a new semi-pro cam, i was advised to get the Nikon D90, i have interests in shooting nature, landscapes, food, animals… what do you think?

  78. Thanks for the beautiful photos… 🙂

  79. Great photos! I felt like I’m travelling with you!

  80. The place is stunning. And you captured it really well in your photographs.

  81. Wow, Ireland is so beautiful! Great job on capturing these landscapes! And on being Freshly Pressed!

  82. All photos in this blog is very beautiful, and I want to go there…Good pictures!

  83. Charu

    Simply Awesome!!

  84. Great pictures! many thanks for that very nice virtual trip.

  85. Very nice information shared by you. I was just searching this type of information and luckily I got it from your forum. I like your forum also

  86. nazi11112

    Nice pictures… even i have a friend in Ireland…. he did showed me some pics but these pics are just spectacular…. I love the natural side of Ireland…. 🙂

  87. WOW! Nice photos!! Really beautiful countryside nature scenery. Like it!

  88. Such amazing photos! I just LOVED all the green scenic photos. Will be going on my first trip ever to Ireland this winter and can´t hardly wait. Thanks for the inspiration!

  89. wow.. ireland is so really wonderful!
    Im glad you did shared it with us.. 🙂
    you made a great job.. ^_^

  90. stunning pictures you took. they are undeniably great! feels like i’m a step closer to Ireland. oh God, Ireland is already in my head now!! gosh!!

  91. Beautiful pictures. I don’t know why but I suddenly want to visit Ireland 🙂

  92. i love the frames and the contrast (“,) Well done!!

  93. Good shots, and I’m glad you’ve had a good time. I’m from Northern Ireland myself and I’m always intrigued by the love people have for the little island. My mother was born quite close to one of the Mourne Mountains, outside of Kilkeel which you probably passed through. We had a caravan near there when I was young and would spend our Summers going into the mountains, through Silent Valley etc.
    My wife is from Cushendun and that is another beautiful part of the country- I’m a city boy myself but I appreciate the scope and the quiet of the places you’ve visited here. You’re right about the weather, we ‘like’ our rain over here but at least that didn’t stop you from getting out there and taking some stunning shots. There’s something about the non-sunny pics which can make things more memorable. Plus it would almost seem like a lie if every shot was bathed in sunshine.

  94. Anna Marquès i Banqué

    Funny I have a picture from the same point of view as yours in Torr Head! Check mine at http://annilina.com/2011/05/12/feel-the-smell/

    I visited Northern Ireland in 2010 and it is by far my favourite place on earth, thank you for sharing, look forward to the rest of your pics!

  95. Your pictures are beautiful and breathtaking! Ireland is such an amazingly beautiful country. You’re making me miss it 😦 I think I’ll pull my pictures out later and reminisce. Thanks for sharing!

  96. Many congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! I love your photos. I’m planning a trip to Ireland for next year, so I was especially interested in this! Positively inspiring !

  97. Oh no… Now im in love with Ireland as well!!!! 🙂 Will just have to go there someday!!

    Beautifull photos!!! 😀 **

  98. frumoase foto… numai că sunt tare mici…

  99. You have caught it so well, very beautiful indeed!!

  100. Amazing photos, and the story that went along with them made me REALLY want to go to Ireland 🙂

  101. Ellē

    You know, it’s funny; I went to Ireland about 3 years ago for my honeymoon, and when we got back I printed all of my pictures and as my mother looked through them she kept going, “It’s not really this green, the sky is not really that blue, that’s just the setting on you camera.” I am so happy to see that it really is as I remembered and photographed it. Yes, it is really that green, the sky really is that blue, and it really is that beautiful.

    Great photos!

  102. i love the place, wish i could go there too

  103. Gorgeous, great pictures and I will publish on my blog if you don’t mind.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Best Regards,

  104. Gorgeous, and I will publish on my blog if you don’t mind.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Best Regards,

  105. Meg

    Absolutely gorgeous photos! I took a trip to Ireland in April and was spellbound by the country. Visiting Glendalough was a definite highlight. Wish I could go back soon!

  106. Beautiful pictures and that makes me wish I can go holiday in Ireland someday

  107. Beautiful pics! It’s my dream to travel Ireland and England and visit as many castles as possib.e

  108. Pingback: Cenas do próximo capítulo… « Follow the Picture

  109. Stunningly beautiful photography. I love the colors of the sky, especially in the last picture. I’d love to visit Ireland some day. I love green, open land. It’s so natural.
    Great work.

  110. Thank you ~ Beautiful Pics & writings~ Love the land of Ire !!!!

  111. all the photos are brilliant but you definitely did your homework regarding all the names of the places. congratulations

  112. Very interesting text, and pictures are simply stunning 🙂

  113. Friends of mine just left for Ireland; jealous of the views and experiences they will have. We were invited, but couldn’t go. Now that I’ve seen these photos, I wish we’d said yes. Captivating.

  114. thespk

    I love your blog. These photos are really awesome.

  115. That looks absolutely gorgeous!!!

  116. Loved every photo! That trip sounds absolutely amazing! Very very jealous 🙂

  117. Lovely post. And the photographs are breathtaking! Kudos.

  118. geoffwatt

    wow, I spent 5 days there last year, visited many of the same places, wish I’d gotten half the shots you did!

  119. Lovely photos. Looking forward to my upcoming trip this fall – been there 10 or 11 times. it’s hard to take a bad photo in Ireland! Amazing country, amazing people.

  120. unbelievable pictures! so nice to see the sun out and beautiful clouds!

  121. Ireland has been on my dream vacation list for sometime, and the photos here make me want to go right now! Nice job, thanks so much for sharing.

  122. Thanks for sharing,,,Your shots are awesome!I want to go to this place someday!

  123. Absolutely breath taking. 🙂

  124. Lee

    Nice photos =D What is “Irish Tea,” does that have alcohol?

  125. Oh man…the mother country. Incredible photos, I can’t WAIT to get back there some day soon!!! Thank you for the tour!!

  126. Incredible photos….. this have to be alot of works and efforts and it resulted to a very good and high quality blog….


  127. I’m a sucker for a ruin. I imagine what’s gone on and what the walls could say if they could talk. Thanks so much for sharing with us

  128. Awesome! Awesome! Awesome!!!

  129. timawa1904

    Great photos! Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  130. Great photos of Ireland! Torr Head is beautiful and the sponge cake looks delish!

  131. Absolutely stunning photographs! You’ve made me want to pull out my photos from Ireland and have another look.

  132. OH wow, looks incredible! I would love to get to Ireland someday, especially after reading this fantastic journal entry. Thanks for sharing!

  133. Great photos. I love these things. Thanks for sharing about your tour.

  134. I love going on vacation to ireland but I was never able to make such wonderful photos! I love the shots in the castle, they’re stunning!!!

  135. Beautiful! I haven’t been to Ireland but I’m sure I’ll head down once I can, especially after seeing these stunning shots!

  136. its beautiful place…!

  137. Wow this is inspiring!Your post just made me hungry. I really enjoyed your post .Love the photographs and your story!Thank you for sharing that.

  138. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed – you and your photography definitely deserved all the added exposure. Such beautiful images!

  139. Sandra Richards

    Do you sell any if the pictures from your site?
    If so, I am interested in purchasing a couple.
    Please email me.

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