It’s been quite a summer for Paddy and Plunkett! They’ve spent a glorious couple of months seeing all there is to see in Sussex and Kent, from white cliffs and lighthouses…
… To fantastic castles!
But it’s hard to get out of the way of travelling once you get started, so after the briefest of stopovers at home, they were back on the road again! This time, their wandering paws took them somewhere a little closer to home…
First stop, Ballintoy Harbour! This picturesque little town, situated a bit east of the famous Giant’s Causeway, may not ring a bell with all of you, but fans of “Game of Thrones” may find this place more than a little familiar. Careful, Paddy and Plunkett… You’ve ended up on the Iron Islands! And look, here come some of the locals!
Well, it turns out that only a couple of them were bona fide Iron-Born… the rest are visitors to the area, taking one of the many “Game of Thrones”-themed tours that have sprung up in the wake of the HBO series’ success. The use of out-of-the-way places in Northern Ireland as locations for Game of Thrones has been a huge lift to tourism in these places… and in the country as a whole. For the first time, people are getting out and exploring the natural beauty of Northern Ireland, rather than focusing on our troubled past… and I reckon that’s something to celebrate!
Here’s Paddy posing with some of that spectacular coastline, to give you a taster…
…And check out this amazing natural stone arch!
Back in Ballintoy, Plunkett’s well-publicised love of unusual architecture led him to seek out a local landmark!
This is Bendhu House, and it was the lifelong project of Newton Penprase, a lecturer from the Belfast College of Art. He started it in 1936, and he continued to add to it over the next few decades, earning the building a reputation locally as “the house that was never finished”. The fact that he taught fine art has really left its mark – each window perfectly frames a view, and apparently Penprase brought his students up here to teach them about composition. He was also responsible for the sculptures you can see on the exterior, which add to its unique look!
Penprase died in 1978, and his house was sold and subsequently fell into disrepair. However, in the early 90s, it was bought by its present owners, who have made it their mission to sympathetically restore this incredible, one-of-a-kind home.
And speaking of home, Paddy and Plunkett are off to put their paws up for a while! I think they’ve earned some down-time, don’t you? Of course, please feel free to share your own weekend plans in the comments – you might just inspire them to start planning their next day away!