I hope you can read the slogan on this Tee Shirt. If not - it reads - "Eliot's Servant"!
Anyhow, volcanic dust didn't stop me from getting out in the sunshine (cloudy sunshine) for a fun day in south Down. Dundrum castle took my fancy today so we began with a wander through the Castle Woods. They were planted in the early nineteenth century and are a delightful mixture of indigenous trees and wild flowers.
The National Trust has made access very easy though it was a little difficult to hold Eliot back on the steep steps.
We came across a workman repairing a fence and chopping up a huge tree. This is rather a sad story. Someone cut the tree down recently because a local youth committed suicide on it after breaking up with his girlfriend. You can understand why they would want to remove the tree. The workman has been employed by the National Trust to get the area sorted out - the tree had fallen into a neighbouring field and had to be removed.
There were numerous stops on the steep paths and even Eliot seemed to be happy to flop to the ground when the camera appeared.
Having walked all round the hill on a very well maintained forest path we then went to visit the ancient site itself. Built by John de Courcy as part of his ring of fortifications on the east coast of Ireland this is a good place for a day out. Dundrum Castle is unusual in having a circular keep. It is estimated that it dates from 1180 or some say 1177! What's three years at that distance?
Eliot had a great time in and around the castle and looked as if he were King of the Castle. He even cooperated for the timer photo shoot up at the keep. It must have seemed a strange game as we set the camera and then did a quick dash to get in place for the shot! About one in ten worked reasonably well - the rest - well - it's a good thing that you're not paying for film as in 'the old days'!!
The views from the hill top are terrific but I'll not bore you with the dozens of pictures that were taken from that location.
Anyhow the day was moving along very quickly and hunger beginning to set in. We'd passed an interesting looking chip van in Seaforde just a few miles away so that is where a bag of tasty food was purchased.
Eliot had a bit of a sniff around and then decided that he'd be better occupied in the car - sitting in the driving seat is his normal place and that always causes a certain amount of amusement from anyone who is around.
Who cares if the steering wheel has doggie drool? Well actually, I do, but there's not a great deal that can be done about it! The hand wipes are used frequently.
Now....where to eat the battered sausages?
We were only five miles from Tyrella Beach so, in spite of quite a strong cold wind, off we set. It is a very wind swept area - just look at the trees!
Anyhow, we found a sheltered spot, ate most of the food and went off for a wander along the beach. I didn't venture into the water for a paddle (although I'd brought a towel with me just in case) but the icy cold didn't stop the dog from having a good splash. He was the only animal on the beach (and I the only human) so there was great freedom to run. There are very few birds at Tyrella - I wonder why that is so?
Lest you misunderstand - Eliot runs - not me!!
The tide was well in, so the usual acres of sand weren't visible today - we'll just have to go back!
Bringing home a wet dog isn't too much fun so we took a while rambling over the sand dunes which removed most of the water, if not the sand, from Eliot's coat.
What a beautiful part of the world we were able to explore today!
This blog has again ended up as a bit of a 'photo display diary' rather than anything else.... but some days you simply want to relax and enjoy. Just be glad that I didn't upload all 156 pictures that were taken! So much beauty.... a feast for the eyes and rest for the soul.
Lord, how thy wonders are displayed where'er I turn my eye;
if I survey the ground I tread, or gaze upon the sky.
There's not a plant or flower below but makes thy glories known;
and clouds arise, and tempests blow, by order from thy throne.
From: "I sing the almighty power of God" by Isaac Watts
Church Hymnal Number 28