Bangor Castle, Bangor, County Down.

Bangor Castle was built for the Hon Robert Edward Ward and his family in 1852. It is presently the headquarters of North Down Borough Council who use the mansions spectacular grand salon as the council chamber. The building is situated in the grounds of Castle Park alongside North Down Museum and is just a short walk from Bangors Walled Garden.

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The castle can be hired reasonably cheaply for wedding services and is a popular venue for those seeking a non-religious event.

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Picture taken Christmas 2015 (spot the tree).

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Bangor Castle overlooks the town of Bangor and its really worth having a walk around it and Castle Park behind. The walled garden (about ten minutes walk away) has just been used in the brand new film by Ben Wheatley called High Rise.

 

 

 

 

Crawfordsburn Country Park, County Down. In the snow

Right now we are having a pretty mild autumn here in Northern Ireland. Its mid October but the weathermen have forecast temperatures up to 17C by Friday which is almost unheard of for this time of year. In fact, our Summer temperatures have been known to only get that high so its quite crazy for us indeed. Anyway, I’m sure Winter isn’t too far away, and when it comes it’ll probably be quite sudden. A few years back NI had temperatures as low as -18C (yes that’s minus 18C) during Winter. I really hope we never get those again. Below are a few pictures I took back in February 2013. I was off work that day and when I woke up and saw a blanket of snow outside I quickly ran and grabbed my camera to walk down to the beach where I live and get a few shots before the thaw. As it was a weekday, there wasn’t a soul around, totally silent apart from the waves on the frozen shore. Fantastic.

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The little sign at the Southern end of Helens Bay beach where you enter the lower reaches of the Country Park.

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During Summer, if the weathers fine, this beach will be packed with day trippers who travel in from Belfast. I guess not many of those have seen it look like this. Like most seaside towns however, those who live there probably look forward to the end of Summer when their areas regain their peace and tranquility. I cant really argue with that.

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Looking through an iced twig towards Crawfordsburn bay (from Helens bay). The Winter Sun has just begun its slow and shallow climb into the morning sky.  No one around but me.

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Quite a beautiful scene. Crawfordsburn Bay frozen in the early morning sunrise.

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The promenade beside Crawfordsburn beach. The snow actually only lasted a few hours that morning as the thaw took place quite quickly. I think I took these pictures around 8am, but by 10am it was mostly gone. Lucky shots then.

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During the Summer, this little bench would likely be in high demand. Not today however, only the snow rests here now.

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Crawfordsburn beach boasts an award of a Blue Flag, an indication that the sea water is above a certain standard of cleanliness, and the beach has good hygienic conditions too. You might just be able to read some of the sign here which sits at the North end of the beach. Without the snow, this area has lush green grass overlooking the sea, where many families sit having a picnic in the warmer months. This year I was actually down here with my children in March and it was lovely.

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Im not entirely sure if this little guy is a woodpecker or a kingfisher. Hes been carved out of a tree and sits beside the main carpark at Crawfordsburn forest. This morning only him and me braved the cold. Everyone else was at work or huddled at home near the fire. Brrrr!

Groomsport & Donaghadee, County Down (August 2014)

Groomsport (from Irish Port an Ghiolla Ghruama, meaning “port of the gloomy servant”) is a village and townland two miles north east of Bangor in County Down, Northern Ireland. It is on the south shore of Belfast Lough and on the north coast of the Ards Peninsula. Donaghadee is probably best known for its lighthouse and harbour. For centuries, it has been a haven for ships, and the harbour has been there from at least the 17th century.

 

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I took this picture looking across a bay just before arriving in the town of Groomsport.

 

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Groomsport bay with its rocky outcrops, this was early on an august morning, almost no one around.

 

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Fading Summer 2014

 

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A gate to where? Groomsport beach.

 

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This old boat sits out of the water at Donaghadee harbour. Its days at sea have long since gone. Looks like the starlings have chosen it as a perch now.

 

 

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A boy fishing off the harbour wall at Donaghadee, beside the towering lighthouse.