Clough Castle with Mourne Mountains in background, County Down
The small village of Clough in County Down houses the ruin of this motte and bailey castle, built in the late 12th century as part of the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ulster. Its construction was managed by the prominent Knight, John De Courcy, who masterminded a programme of castle building to establish Anglo-Norman authority.
This castle at Clough would have controlled one of the main routeways into the area from the south and may also have acted as part of the defence of a larger castle at Dundrum, just a few miles away.
In the sixteenth century, the ruined ‘keep’ was rebuilt as a tower house. The castle sits on a 25ft artificial mound, giving a vantage point for lovely views over the surrounding countryside, including the Mourne Mountains.
Aughnanure Castle, Oughterard, County Galway
Whiterocks Beach, Portrush, County Antrim
Portballintrae, County Antrim
Evening setting sun at Portstewart, County Antrim
Boyne Centre, Drogheda, County Meath
The Battle of the Boyne Visitor Centre, Oldbridge House, Drogheda, County Meath
Owenriff River, Oughterard, County Galway
Lough Corrib, County Galway
Dunluce Castle, Antrim Coast, County Antrim
Portballintrae, County Antrim, looking towards Runkerry Beach
Halfpenny Bridge, Dublin
Portrush, East Strand, County Antrim
In Northern Ireland, a spell of good weather often brings people flocking to the north coast. Portrush and nearby Portstewart are favourites since both have excellent beaches, as well as good shops and eating places, etc.
There’s plenty of choice and places of interest on this northern stretch of coastline including Ballycastle, Kinbane Castle, Carrick-a-Rede with its famous rope bridge, Ballintoy, Dunseverick, The Giant’s Causeway, Portballintrae, White Park Bay, and then the popular towns of Portrush and Portstewart.
With the Covid travel restrictions, the word ‘staycation’ has become a buzzword as we’ve had to face the uncertainty of being able to travel abroad without quite a bit of hassle. Instead, many have made the most of holiday destinations closer to home – places like the north coast. Fortunately, in Northern Ireland we have plenty of suitable places to enjoy a break. It’s even better when we get those temperatures that we’ve been enjoying this year.
Some will remember the days when The Arcadia was a popular Ballroom. Nowadays it's a popular beach cafe.
Portrush East Strand is just one of a number of beaches along this northern stretch of coastline.
Portballintrae, County Antrim
Cahir Castle, County Tipperary
Kilfane Glen, County Kilkenny
This is Cahir Castle, on the River Suir, Cahir, County Tipperary. The castle was built in two parts, with the side closest to the road being built from 1142 by the Prince of Thomond, Conor O’Brien. 200 years later the second side was added; it now houses an audio-visual show for visitors.
In 1375, the castle was granted to the newly created Earl of Ormond, James Butler, for his loyalty to Edward III. It was enlarged and remodelled between the 15th and 17th centuries, then fell into ruin in the late 18th century. The Great Hall was partly rebuilt in 1840.
In 1961 the last Lord Cahir died and the castle became the property of the Irish state and was named a National Monument. It is now managed by the Office of Public Works, who maintain it and operate tours.
Dunseverick, North Coast, County Antrim