Friday, 15 May 2015

more bluebells...& Belfast botanic gardens...

I have rather fallen in love with the bluebells this year. Not sure if I've just seen more or if I'm noticing them more? Or maybe they are just having a particularly good year? I almost pulled the car over on a little back road the other day when I spotted a stunning patch in some trees at the roadside - then realised I was on a bend on a single track road so probably not wise!

Bank holiday weekend saw us heading to the Midlands to spend a couple of days with middle son and partner ahead of a trip to Belfast, which was part leisure, part work. The Monday was a beautiful warm, sunny day so we decided to visit another National Trust property (definitely need to sort that membership! Have dropped birthday list hints!!) Calke Abbey, where there are lovely grounds to walk in.

Love this little tree growing out of the top of an old dead tree trunk - isn't nature amazing in its ability to regenerate?!

The bluebells were really breathtaking...

I couldn't resist this sneaky pic - can you see the elderly couple in the sunlight? They had just stopped to let the lady rest on the fallen tree trunk - made me feel a little pang of aloneness (even though of course I was with my family so not alone at all) - how lovely to be able to enjoy that together.

It was lovely to see my boy and his partner (and their dog, Poppy - soon to be joined by another red fox labrador puppy!)

...and my sister and niece, deep in conversation as they walked...

The park was beautiful to walk through on such a lovely day...

There were deer down by the water...

and although, on a bank holiday, lots of people had the same idea, it still had a lovely relaxing feel.

On to Belfast the following day, the weather difference couldn't have been more striking with torrential rain greeting us and a cold wind that cut through you. I had never visited Northern Ireland before and we had a couple of days looking around before I had to go to the conference I was there for. Belfast is actually a beautiful city, with some interesting buildings and history and everywhere we went everyone was so friendly. It has, of course, its share of troubled past and that still is very evident with the peace walls and famous murals in East Belfast but I suspect it had a very different feel just a few years ago and the city centre certainly feels as safe as any other now.

It's a relatively small place to walk around and you could see to the hills from the viewpoint at the top of the shopping centre...

Loved this sculpture on the way across to the titanic exhibition...

...and you really can't help but be impressed and moved by the history of the shipbuilding industry and the sinking of that great ship...

I actually took very few photos in the first couple of days because it was so cold I couldn't feel my fingers! I actually had to buy May!!

It was still nippy, but at least brighter, when we went to the beautiful botanic gardens over near the university - stunning displays of tulips outside the grand Palm House...

Lovely trees and shrubs...

and inside the glasshouse, heat enough to mist up my lens, with orchids, ferns, and many tropical plants...

I'd definitely recommend Belfast as a place to visit, and would love to go back and see more of Ireland, both North & South - think it has some beautiful countryside and some interesting history to absorb.

A little less wet and wind would have been nice though... :)

Til next time 

S x


  1. Lovely photos of the bluebells!
    My one and only visit to Belfast was a few years ago when my son was offered a place at the uni there. I had to smile when you said you'd bought gloves. The day we went was so wet my suede boots soaked up so much water, I couldn't feel my feet. I nipped in to M&S and bought new shoes and socks! I didn't take any photos either. In the end he went to uni in Aberdeen.
    Belfast is a lovely city though.
    Have a good weekend xx

  2. I have Ireland on my list of places to visit but have never really considered going to Belfast. Having read this I may have to rethink and do a bit more research on it.

    Calke Abbey is beautiful in your photos. It's one of the possibilities for me visiting just after the next bank holiday, it all depends on my timings being accurate and the roads not being too busy.

  3. I've never been to Belfast but it certainly looks like a good place to visit - probably in the high Summer though! Love those bluebells and the deer are so sweet; sounds like you had a good few days. xx

  4. Wow some lovely photos here, especially the bluebells - and that sculpture is really good. x

  5. You were lucky to see the deer. What a wonderful walk. I love the little tree growing out of the dead one !
    Belfast does look very beautiful.


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