Posted by Special guest blogger on 11/18/2014 to
Danu Bucket Challenge
Growing up in a specific area you never look at it as a tourist destination and never see how special the place actually is. When I heard about the #danubucketchallenge I had to get my thinking cap on to what I could offer to the challenge. After all did South East Down have anything to offer?
It was soon to be acknowledged that what South East Down had to offer the challenge was copious amounts of the perfect weather for ducks. However with only a brief window of opportunity to get something I braced the wind and the rain and I took myself and the family to Downpatrick to visit Saint Patricks Grave.
Saint Patrick is probably one of the most famous saints around the world. On the 17th March every year, all over the globe, people dress in green and toast the Saint who brought Christianity to Ireland which is said to be the most splendid chapter of our Irish history. However Saint Patrick does not lie in this grave alone, the remains of St Brigid and St Columba were reinterred in the 12th Century by John De Courcy thus fulfilling the prophecy that three saints would be buried in the same place.
When I got up the large hillside on a dark Monday evening, the wind blew wild and the rain wasn't taking a chance to come down. After much debate, it was decided it was too dangerous and wet to have a Glimfeather in action shot, and instead owl spent a brief time at the grave side to pay its respects to the Patron Saint of Ireland.
Feeling very disappointed that evening that this was only technically "half a shot", I hoped that even if Saint Patrick couldn't save me from the weather when visiting him, that he would somehow ensure I got a minor window of opportunity for something the next morning. However I did ensure that I had plenty of fun with the wrap on its sleepover to give it the Grant baby treatment.
The next morning before the school run I peered out and thought it was worth trying one last time to get something to add. So a little earlier than normal, I packed the kids into the car and off we took a trip to the local lake.
After living abroad for many years it never dawned on me why I really wanted to come back to raise my children where I grew up. But that morning as I spotted the rain coming down over the trees and my two kids were sat by the lake looking all peaceful, kept warm by the stunning Tu-Whoo Tu-Whoo Glimfeather wrap it dawned on me how lucky I was to be living here and how beautiful the surroundings are. Literally on my door step I have Castlewellan Forest Park.
The castle once home to Lord Annesley, is set within a dramatic setting. With the on site Natural Arboretum with one of the most outstanding tree and scrub collections in Europe, Castlewellan Forest Park also has several other attractions which aren't to be missed. Extensive gardens with informal and formal landscaping which is always very popular with wedding parties as well as the 3km lake which hosts beautiful sculptures all the way around its path and the peace maze. Sadly the rain which was coming down over the trees was soon falling on my head...
And at that I give you my #danubucketchallenge from the magnificent scenery on offer in Castlewellan.