Exploring Ireland: Kinbane Castle, Ballycastle, County Antrim, Northern Ireland


Kinbane Castle is one of those places that you can't quite believe is true. I really had no idea what to expect as I'd never heard of it but as soon as I clapped eyes on it, it blew me away.

Located in Country Antrim, the ruins of Kinbane are perched high on a white limestone cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Across the horizon you'll spy Rathlin Island and you'll be only 5km from Ballycastle. The original two-storey castle was built in 1547 by Colla MacDonell but was besieged by English forces in 1551. After being passed to Owen MacAllister as a reward for his loyalty to the MacDonell family, the castle remained with descendants of the MacAllister's until the 18th Century.





There's  no easy way to see Kinbane and you'll have to be prepared for a lot of treacherous walking. Up and down 1000 steps to be exact. But it is 100% worth it and I'd do it thousand times over. You'll find a car park at the top of the hill when you can leave your car. Make sure you take a bottle of water with you. There are no handrails surrounding the top of the cliffs so you have to be extremely careful. It's certainly not a place to go when it is windy. But if you keep your wits about you then you'll be rewarded with some insane views. I really couldn't stop taking photos! 





At the minute it seems to be a bit of a hidden gem because we hardly saw any other people. I'm not sure it will stay like this for long because tourism in Northern Ireland is quickly gathering momentum. Such a double edge sword. Amazing because Northern Ireland is honestly one of the most beautiful places in the world. But sad because it's losing some of it's magic due to the insane crowds. It doesn't have the infrastructure to deal with it. I feel it's a place to visit sooner rather than later. I'd love to go back one summer with a picnic and spend the whole day up on those cliffs. I honestly don't think I've ever felt as peaceful as I did in those few hours I spent at Kinbane Castle. Such a magical place.

0 Comments

Where to eat along the Causeway Coastal Route


Lost & Found, Coleraine
I'm still shocked we managed to find such a cool place in Coleraine of all places! Coleraine reminds me of my Essex hometown and we have nothing as snazzy as this! This little cafe is well worth coming a bit out of your way for. Serving brunch from 9.30-3.30, everything on the menu sounds so delicious. After much deliberation I decided to opt for L&F Italian Eggs. Crispy Parma ham, lashings of pesto, fresh rocket and two poached eggs were piled high onto top of sourdough toast. The eggs weren't as runny as I would have hoped but it was still great.


Mini Maegden, The Giant's Causeway
Head to a little car park just a stones trow away from The Giant's Causeway, Mini Maegden is a little retro caravan converted into the best cheese toastie food truck. It was absolutely packed and for good reason! I opted for the cheddar, blue cheese and mozzarella toastie with an added extra of chorizo. All washed down with a refreshing homemade watermelon and rose soda. The toastie was perfectly gooey, so full of flavour and had a delicious crunch. I'm so pleased my boyfriend has family not too far from it so I can visit again!


Maud's Ice Cream, Ballycastle
Right next to Ballycastle Harbour is Maud's Ice Cream. You'll be spoilt for choice for both the cones and the ice cream. I decided to treat myself to a waffle cone dipped in chocolate and sprinkles with a scoop of sea salted caramel and a scoop of honeycomb and vanilla. It was so tasty and the perfect treat to have overlooking the beach.


The Copper Kettle, Bushmills
One of my favourite things about visiting Ireland is the opportunity to indulge in a heavenly Ulster Fry. They're version of a fry up, it usually comes with soda bread and potato bread. It is one of my favourite things in the world! Sadly The Copper Kettle doesn't offer black pudding but you can't win them all! It's a great little cafe to stop off at to start your day off right before you head over to the Giant's Causeway nearby.


Harry's Shack, Portstewart
I had a table booked here last January but cancelled it at the last minute as another branch of the restaurant had just opened in Derry where we were staying. So I've waiting a long time to eat here! It was well worth the wait. Located on the beautiful Portstewart Strand beach, the wooden shack has such a great atmosphere. We went on an evening where they had loud music outside and it looked buzzing. Their selection of Irish gin is incredible and I'd love to go back to sample them all! I had a generous portion of spicy chicken to start with such a moreish sauce and the fish and chips for my main. Just what I needed after a day of rain!


Roark's Kitchen, Ballintoy
One thing you'll notice on your road trip is there will always be somewhere to stop for a slab of cake Roark's Kitchen is right in the heart of Ballintoy Harbour and offers incredible views. This giant slice of red velvet cake was only £2.50! And you always have to have a bottle of Club Orange when in Ireland...


Pablos, Belfast
If you're looking for a quick bite to eat then Pablos is your man! This burger joint only has a couple of tables outside to sit down so you may have to opt for a takeaway. The spicy freedom fries were heavenly and I could have eaten them all day long. The patty in my cheese burger was a little too fat for my liking but it was cooked well. They certainly didn't scrimp on the fillings which is always nice.

2 Comments

Buying a house 101: the pros and cons of choosing a 5% deposit mortgage


We ended up opting for a 5% deposit to secure our mortgage. It was essential for us to get on the property ladder. We saved £12,000 in order to buy a £240,000 two-bedroom 1950's terraced house in Essex. Keep in mind not all banks or building societies offer this so it really does depend on if you'll be eligible. This was the perfect scenario for us at the time and I don't regret it one bit. As with all things there are pros and cons with it. Here are just a few pearls of my wisdom of what I found out. I really hope this new house buying series is helpful!

Pros
You can get on the property ladder a lot quicker as you don't have to save as much. At the time we bought, the house prices were going up so quickly that we could barely keep up. If we had stuck it out to save a 10% deposit there was a chance we would have been priced out. We just knew we had to take the plunge while we could.

By saving less for a house deposit, you have more of a chance to save extra to spend on doing the house up. Our house look quite a while to go through so we had four months between having our offer accepted and getting the keys. In those four months we were able to save some money to help with the renovations.

There are quite a few Government Help to Buy Schemes to choose from so there is great variety to find one that works for you. Some are only suitable for new homes. Sometimes we all need a little helping hand!

Cons
Your mortgage repayments will be higher each month as you are borrowing more so you need to really think about how this will effect you. Buying a house is a massive financial strain and it can be very hard to adjust. I still think you need enough money to be able to venture out  for a social life a few times each month.

The main Government's Help To Buy scheme only applies to new builds. Which is great if you're after a new build! But we wanted to avoid a brand new house. My dad and boyfriend both work in the construction trade and were adamant an older house is always best.

You can only use certain lenders as not all banks and building societies offer the opportunities. This can quite limited who you use.


1 Comments

Search This Blog

About me

About me
A Essex based lifestyle blogger who lives a champagne life on a lemonade purse!

Get in touch at
sophie.warner89@yahoo.co.uk.

As from July 2015, all PR samples will be marked with a *.
Follow

Blog Archive

Design by elevatormusik. Powered by Blogger.

Copyright

All content copyright to The Story of a Girl Who Lives Above Her Means unless stated otherwise.