Reading My Way Around the World

Monday 21 June 2021

Happy Solstice

I can hardly believe it's Midyear's Day - and it still feels like the summer has to come.   How are you doing?  I wish you all the joy of the Solstice, whether winter or summer, and a continued happy and healthy rest of year to come.

We spent a week at the start of June up on the north coast of Co. Antrim, an area I absolutely love and which is gloriously unfamiliar to me - growing up in the west our summers were spent on the Donegal or Sligo coast.  It's part of the Wild Atlantic Way tourist route. The photo above was taken at White Park Bay just around the corner from the Giant's Causeway - there were only two other people walking there when we visited this 2 mile stretch of sandy beach.  Beautiful.  In a way it's a blessing at the moment not being able to travel far - we're getting to see parts of our own country with fresh eyes.
From there it's 20 miles west to Donegal and 11 miles east to Scotland.

White Park Bay from the road above with Tor head in the distance.

While we were there we spent an afternoon on Rathlin Island which is the most northernly part of Ireland, another place I've always wanted to visit.   You can see from this map how close we are to Scotland.

There's something really special to me about islands and this place is no different.   We were limited in the ferries we could get - lots of people very happy to be allowed back out to the island - so we didn't have a lot of time but it was still worth the few hours we were there and we'll definitely go back.   
(My photographs were terrible as I couldn't go down to the viewing platform so I've borrowed a few from the tourist board). 
photo DiscoverNorthernIreland

photo RSPB


Rathlin is special for many reasons, mainly as a roosting site for puffins and many different seabirds who migrate there each year.  The seabird centre, run by the RSPB, gives access to a viewing platform to watch the many nesting sites.  It was also the place that  Marconi used for his first transmissions across the Atlantic.  

One of our local authors, Bernie McGill, wrote a cracker novel based on Rathlin called The Watch House- definitely worth a read (imho) - set at the time of the modern world starting to impinge on island life.

The supervisor at the Caravan Park:)

Things otherwise here are fairly routine  - I've discovered that I work best to deadlines and without those practising is just a chore.   "I sing for other people" someone said recently and it resonated with me.   Still no dates for concerts as the arts centres and touring venues have no date to open and will need weeks to get the venues ready for people again.   But, there's lots of work getting done in the garden - it's finally taking shape and Tom has just finished building me a garden glass house made from reclaimed windows and wood - I knew there was a reason I married him lol    


  1. Oooh, I can't wait to see the Glasshouse!!! How exciting! I know what you mean about singing for audiences! I definitely play more for others!
    There's something really special to me about islands too! I adore visiting small islands. Actually, first time I came to island to stay with my friends in Youghal (and to play for Good Friday vigils at their church), I went to a talk at the Youghal society and it was a talk on the Islands of Ireland- it was so fascinating and I had no idea there were so many islands surrounding Ireland!

  2. Solstice blessings to your home from my home 💗🌞 I only watched a programme on Rathlin island the other day - triggered by a conversation the other day. Small world - talking of small - islands - small ones pull me too - I love the ones you can get to by foot when the tides allow it, it gives that magical tension of making sure you can get off again before the tide turns too far :) xx

  3. Hi Fil - totally soggy summer solstice - it was bucketing! But good rains - cleans the air and rests the soil ... so pleased to read about Tom 'giving' you a garden glass house with reclaimed items - and that the garden is benefiting from all your work. I can understand you working to deadlines ... makes sense.
    Your island visit sounds idyllic, as too the trip away ... it sounds a fascinating area to visit, glad you'll go back at some stage.
    Take care and all the best for the year ahead ... cheers Hilary

  4. Bit late reading this due to i'net problems, but that looks a lovely place to visit & glad you can have a few short breaks. Not much gardening here, but your greenhouse sounds a bit like something we've thought about. Good to have a handy husband isn't it? Take care & hugs. I really owe you an email.


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