Seasons of Joy: Our Holiday to Northern Ireland

It was mid February I phoned Gary at work and asked if I could book a ferry to Northern Ireland.  He said yes.  So I did.  It was (almost) that simple.  I really felt that as a family we needed a break from the day in day out of life.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love my day in, day out life, although February I notoriously like it less than any other month.  A holiday was just what was needed to bring us out of the February slump.  It gave me and the children something tangible to look forward to, something to plan for and something to save for.  Just the planning was enough to excite me enough that I clear forgot it was that time of the year.

We left at ten, having said our goodbyes to Granny next door and squeezed ourselves and our belongings (minus the kitchen sink) into the car.  I was curious as to how this would pan out, but somehow we managed.  Gary, bless him, even managed to fit my coffee making machine and grinder and coffee beans and insulated mug in the boot.  Maybe the threat of preferring fresh coffee to fresh clothes got him worried, but I was mildly impressed.  Okay more than mildly.  It is coffee we are talking about, after all:

saying bye, bye
saying bye, bye
All crammed in.  I pondered the reality possibly needing to choose between said coffee machine and a child.  I'm grateful to Gary that never materialised.  It would have been a close one....
All crammed in. I pondered the reality possibly needing to choose between said coffee machine and a child. I’m grateful to Gary that never materialised. It would have been a close one….

Approximately seven hours later we arrived at our hotel in Liverpool.  We stay in the same one every year.  It’s cheap and cheerful and has exact standards so we always get what we expect, which is good, clean and comfy accommodation for the night.  We were all really tired.  The journey up had taken far longer than strictly necessary on account of the numerous traffic signs telling everyone to slow down because of an accident or incident (it kept changing).  We never did see what that accident/incident actually was, if in deed their was one.  It may be a bit cynical but Gary and I had visions of traffic control sign operators having a joke at our expense.  Anyway, the next morning we were very happy to see this sight:

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Our ferry.

We always take a room on board because it is nice to have somewhere to go which is private and just for us.  The ferries do a grand job at entertaining us all with a cinema on board for the older children and a soft play area for the littles:

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Soon we were sailing away from England towards Belfast.  Happy sigh.

Once in Ireland we made the most of the beaches:

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Visited old haunts like Cheeky Chimps:

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And visiting friends and family.  I am so grateful to have such a welcoming family and friends.  Each brother, sister and friend made us feel welcome, almost without exception cooked a meal for all of us (no mean feat given there are seven of us) and took time out of their busy lives to squeeze us in.

Thank you everyone, it means such a lot to us all.

Unfortunately the first couple of days I forgot my camera so only captured what came after.  I think I was very tired because I usually take my camera everywhere I go.  Here are the lovely memories I did manage to capture:

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playing golf with Grandad
playing golf with Grandad
My lovely mother in law, who really is the queen of making us feel welcome, encouraging us to relax, and doing all our laundry for us.  We (I in particular) feel very blessed by her.
My lovely mother in law, who really is the queen of making us feel welcome, encouraging us to relax, and doing all our laundry for us. We (I in particular) feel very blessed by her.

We also had our hair cut, as it costs very much less there than here.  This was the afternoon shortly after returning from the hairdressers, when all the girls could not stop looking at themselves in the mirror!

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I will finish this already very long post with some (hopefully) embarrassing pictures of my youngest twin with her new gloves:

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The fluorescent pink, net gloves (even as I write I am cringing) were passed on to her by one of her cousins (thank you M13) although they had once belonged to their eldest cousin E18.  It is possible that there is some place on the face of this earth where they would fit right in (I can’t think of one off hand, but I’m sure there must be somewhere).  However, I am certain they were not meant to be worn at Cheeky chimps or matched with track suit bottoms, or worn to the local shops or even the beach.  Every single member of our family tried to hide, confiscate, and even pay her to get rid of them, but she is, it seems, peculiarly attached to them.  I am just thankful that she got them the day after we went surfing because I am certain she would have some how fitted them over her wet suit.  I guess I should be pleased my daughter has a style of her own and really and truly doesn’t care two hoots what we all think!  Love you so much C12!!

And this brings my holiday post to an end.  Now we just need to start saving for our next trip in a few months time.  I just LOVE N Ireland!

16 comments

  1. Love, love, love this post. I can’t imagine what it must be like to hop a ferry and be in Northern Ireland. How fantastic!!! It looks like everyone had a wonderful vacation. The new haircuts are gorgeous! What a dear, sweet mother-in-law. The love must run through your family! So happy you had this time away with those who love you lots.

    Thanks for sharing your special time. (I never tire of your N Ireland pictures. If it just wasn’t for that big ocean between us…)

    Hugs to you, my sweet friend.

    P.S. To C, your pink gloves are just too cool. I’d say wear them whenever you are near your mum! No matter what she says, I think she might even want to borrow them sometime.;)

  2. What a very, very lovely holiday. How I would love to get there some day. The pictures are wonderful. I understand about your daughter and the gloves. My son is in a phase where he is never far from his hat (which he wears backwards). I have had to put my foot down about taking it off in the most important places. You will see on my blog that he has it on in every picture. LOL!
    Blessings, Dawn

  3. I enjoyed reading your post and looking at all of the lovely pictures. I showed my daughter the hot pink net gloves and she though they were “amazing”.

    1. He is now wearing a men’s size medium. I woke up this morning (Gary was at work) and would have sworn I heard Gary’s voice, only it was T. Sigh. I only gave birth to him yesterday.

  4. I love your pictures, Claire! (But I wonder you took the ferry again! … I still remember your great ferry-adventure-story from last year.)

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