Bellingham Castle is located on 17 acres in the most romantic setting overlooking its own river and weir and is a structure of intrinsic historical and architectural interest. The entrance to the Castle is via a beautiful stone tower and gate lodge, built by Sir Henry Bellingham in 1880, and a long straight avenue flanked by tall broadleaves leading to a large forecourt with landscaped flowerbeds and shrubberies. Lovely doesn’t even begin to describe it!! The castle sits high above the River Glyde and stone steps lead to the water’s edge and to a beautiful weir with footbridges and walkways. A millrace diverted from the river forms a long wooded island with a splendid weeping willow hanging over the weir. Sweeping lawns wrap around the castle and have been landscaped with herbaceous borders, cherry blossom trees and stud railing. Note: A weir is a barrier across a river designed to alter its flow characteristics. In most cases, weirs take the form of obstructions smaller than most conventional dams, pooling water behind them while also allowing it to flow steadily over their tops. Weirs are commonly used to alter the flow of rivers to prevent flooding, measure discharge, and help render rivers navigable.
The magnificent ivy clad castle provides superb accommodations, offering 19 elegant bedroom suites all rich in history and comfort and each absolutely stunning. The castle bedrooms are individually themed, such as Sir Henry’s room and The Music Room. Here you will savor and enjoy views of the River Glyde, or the formal gardens, the fountain or the nearby church steeples surrounded by mature trees.
Period features and furnishings create an authentic, old-world charm while a long tradition of warm and friendly service make Bellingham Castle the perfect retreat from the hectic pace of modern living. Perhaps you’ll be lucky enough to have one of the larger castle bedrooms which boast free-standing baths in the bedroom for the absolute ultimate in luxury not to mention decadence.
You know how I am about food and while at the Bellingham Castle you will be treated to royal fare. Whether it’s a light lunch, afternoon tea, cocktails with canapés or a sumptuous dinner with fine wines, the team of chefs provides a range of offerings using seasonal local produce. You also can enjoy an interlude with your travel buddies while relaxing in the Chapel Bar before retiring. I assure you that the service is outstanding – as it should be for those of you who are “to the manor born”!!
While you reside in Bellingham, one of the many pleasures you will savor is a visit to the Old Jameson Distillery one of the top attractions in Dublin. You will undoubtedly enjoy the Jameson Distillery tour as the expert guides take you back in time and lead you through the fascinating story of Jameson. Set in a recreated distillery scene, you will discover how three ingredients make the number one Irish whiskey in the world! I am not a big drinker, but I discovered Jameson while visiting New Orleans and it is truly a very special smooth libation.
Another top attraction is Trinity College, voted the No. 2 in Ireland on TripAdvisor’s list of Ireland’s Top 10 Attractions for 2013, and also awarded a TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Award and you will be going there and viewing the Book of Kells.
The Book of Kells is celebrated for its lavish decoration. The manuscript contains the four Gospels in Latin based on a Vulgate text, written on vellum, in a bold and expert version of the script. Awesome and timeless doesn’t even begin to describe it! It must have been close to the year 800 that the Book of Kells was written, although there is no way of knowing if the book was produced wholly at Iona or at Kells, or partially at each location.
The Book of Kells has been on display in the Old Library at Trinity College Dublin from the mid 19th century, and attracts over 500,000 visitors a year. It was in 1953 that it was bound in four volumes. Two volumes are on public view, one opened to display a major decorated page, and one to show two pages of script. The volumes are changed at regular intervals.
The main chamber of the Old Library is the Long Room, filled with 200,000 of the Library’s oldest books – most impressive. Marble busts line the Long Room, a collection that began in 1743. The busts are of the great philosophers and writers of the western world and also of men connected with Trinity College – famous and not so famous. I have it on good authority that the finest bust in the collection is of the writer Jonathan Swift by Louis Francois Roubiliac. While here, you will have the opportunity to share the same space with, Aristotle, Francis Bacon, Cicero, Demosthenes, Milton, Plato and William Shakespeare; Note – not a woman in the bunch!!
Please review the complete itinerary and make your plans to tour Ireland and spend time in some incredible castles. No tiara needed, however bring it along if you must! You may just return with a bit of a brogue!!
Click on the link below for more details on this delightful escorted vacation which stays at Three 5-Star Irish Castles.
Eadie, Interlude Blog Team
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