Off the Rails with Paddy and Plunkett!

Or rather on the rails, because the boys recently took a road trip… By train!

Their first port of call after leaving home was (of course) a quick tea break in Belfast. You can’t go adventuring without fuelling up first!
Paddy and Plunkett at Belfast City Hall - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThey found a nice spot where they could look out at the City Hall, and watch the black taxis scoot by.

Then, suitably caffeinated, they continued on their journey – riding the train to the end of the line at Bangor, where they planned to have a look around Bangor Castle. Plunkett likes a good castle, as we all know. But there was a surprise in store for Paddy as well…
Castles of Stone and Sugar - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
…A miniature version of the castle, built entirely from SUGAR! It’s lucky this was safely locked up in a glass case, or Paddy would have treated us all to his best Godzilla impersonation.

Bangor Castle (the real one!) has been here since 1852. It was built as a private residence for the Ward family, who quite literally used to own half the town of Bangor. When the last surviving member of the family died in the early 1940s, the local council bought Bangor Castle and converted its large “music salon” into a Council Chamber, and the rest of the building into offices. The castle’s courtyard and stables were then redeveloped to house a museum dedicated to the history of the local area, and that’s where the boys are headed!

Bangor has a rich history, which Plunkett can’t wait to read up about. Here he is learning all about St Comgall, who founded nearby Bangor Abbey in the middle of the 6th century AD.
Plunkett Reads All About Bangor's History - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
He sounds like a barrel of laughs – according to Wikipedia, under his rule “prayer and fasting were incessant” and when you weren’t fasting, “food was scant and plain”. Despite this, Bangor grew to become one of the most important monastic sites in the Province, second only to Armagh.

Meanwhile, Paddy has skipped ahead, and discovered another miniature – this is how Bangor Abbey might have looked in its early days!
Beasties Visit Bangor - In Miniature! H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
He also found this.
Sir Paddy of Beastie - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Plunkett, look! I’m a knight!”
But Plunkett was a bit busy examining this spiffy slate sundial.
Sundial from Bangor Abbey - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesMade in 1630, it’s not just for telling the time! A skilled user (ie, not me) could use it to get information about the tides as well.

The lads did eventually reconvene, and took a quick breather on a beautiful wooden chair…
Wooden Chair, 17th Century. Also pictured, 21st Century Beasties. H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties…Before heading outside to investigate this interesting hut, a reconstructed monk’s cell! It actually looks quite cosy, don’t you think?
Where Monks Live - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesAlthough perhaps a door might be a welcome addition. Then, Paddy spotted something…
Paddy, Plunkett and a Very Familiar Curragh - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Plunkett, don’t we have boats like this at home?”
“We do, Paddy! It’s an Irish river curragh, and it was made by one of our human minders. Look, you can even see him at work in the photos on the information board!”
Making an Irish River Curragh - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThat revelation left Paddy wondering if this made him a celebrity, while Plunkett pondered the possibility that someday, someone might let him live in a museum. Deep in thought, they wandered back inside… Where they almost missed the Bangor Bell!
Paddy, Plunkett and the Bangor Bell - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThis bell is made of bronze, and dates back to the 9th century, when it was most likely used to summon monks to prayer. But it’s had an interesting life! The bell was apparently unearthed by gravediggers working in the Abbey churchyard in about 1780, leading people to think that it might have been buried there to hide it from marauding Vikings. It was a savvy move, since Bangor was plundered by the Norsemen at least once around this time – that’s the downside of building your Abbey with a sea view, I guess.

Speaking of sea views, there were plenty of those to be had from the train on the way home!
Train With a View - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
The boys also got a good look at another notable local pair, thanks to a little help from a fellow traveller!
Goliath Cranes, Belfast - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
The two massive cranes at the Harland and Wolff shipyard greet you as you head into Belfast from the east, and they’re probably the city’s most recognisable landmarks… their size and colour make them pretty hard to miss! Although they’re only relatively recent additions to a place that’s been home to humans since the Bronze Age, they’re now well and truly part of the skyline – so much so that they even have names! Goliath is the older of the two, and at a mere 96m (that’s 315 feet) tall, he’s a bit smaller than his “little” brother, 106m tall Samson.

“Hey Plunkett, next time we’re here, we should TOTALLY climb those!”
“Um… We’ll see, Paddy. We’ll see.”

Sounds like Paddy might be waiting a while for that daytrip. Please feel free to distract him by sharing your own recent adventures (preferably at ground level) in the comments!

And thanks so much to all of you who joined us for the first Friday Social last week! We’ll be back in a couple of days for another one… Catch you there!

40 thoughts on “Off the Rails with Paddy and Plunkett!

    1. Thanks, Mandy! It’s been a while since I was last in this little museum myself, so it was fun to have the boys show me around! Thanks for dropping by!

  1. A very happy birthday, my dear! I do hope you are enjoying your day!
    By the way, if may I ask , you had no troubles for have taken photos of the two boys on museum’s items, like that one on the armour?

    1. Why thank you, Tajana! I must confess that after I published this post, I treated myself to a very lazy day indeed! πŸ˜† As for the boys’ escapades, they usually travel solo… So if no-one told them off, I suppose it was ok for them to interact with the exhibits! Thanks for your comment πŸ˜€

        1. Yikes! Maybe Plunkett will have to curb Paddy’s antics a bit more carefully in future! Some museums CAN be very strict though – an attendant in one of the big galleries in Berlin once sent me back to the ground floor from the top of the building to put my handbag in the cloakroom because it was “too big”. I can only imagine how he would have reacted to Paddy tearing around the place! πŸ˜†

  2. What a fun getaway! I wondering what the fast-loving St. Comgall might make of that sugar castle, though. Probably a clear sign of the devil’s temptations (which it totally is). And although that monk’s hut looks like one stiff wind might topple it, the curragh seems almost the right size to cover up that doorway – transportation AND protection from the elements! It’s good to see being crafty is in the Crawford blood (assuming that is a relation and not just some random Crawford).

    1. Yikes, I never thought of that! Let’s hope the sugar castle doesn’t enrage St Comgall and lead his troubled spirit to haunt the museum cafΓ© for evermore! πŸ˜† And good shout on the curragh-as-door… Although if you wanted to pick up super penance points, you could pop the wooden seat off the curragh and shelter underneath, Γ  la tortoise.
      Oh, and the curragh is indeed the handiwork of a family member! My dad… Woodworker and joiner extraordinaire πŸ˜€ Thanks for joining the boys on their visit, Tammie!

      1. I’ve heard of monk seals, but never mock turtles! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ I better not tell Mr Husband about your dad…he’ll want to change the itinerary to spend our entire time in Ireland learning tricks of the trade from the master himself!

        1. Well then, you’d better not tell him that he runs curragh-building courses! πŸ˜‚ You should be safe enough though… From what I remember, the building process involves a bit of waiting between the stages while the hazel gets accustomed to its new shape. Buuuut if he’s interested, he can get a taste of the art of curragh construction here!
          https://m.facebook.com/brucecrawfordcurraghs/

        2. Hahaha! Sounds like a game of deportation chicken is in order – how long can you stay in Ireland before the US misses you and comes to take you back? πŸ˜‚

        3. Ah, unfortunately, it’s the pesky Irish/UK immigration control that would be booting us out and dragging us kicking and screaming ( and clutching our half-finished curragh) back to the US ☹️

        4. Hmmm… I suppose Ireland is only the “land of a hundred thousand welcomes” so we must run out of them pretty early in the year, and then resort to turfing people out when their holiday is over. Sorry about that.

        5. On it! I guess we’ll see if there’s any truth in the old adage “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb”… πŸ˜‚

    1. Haha! Thanks, Laura… Expect to see Paddy in the long-awaited sequel to “A Knights Tale”, coming soon to a theatre near you! πŸ˜‚ Cheers for dropping in!

  3. Ooh, looks exciting! I love trains so much. I like that monastic hut, too – I can imagine one living a very contemplative life in that tiny, mushroom-shaped space. And I’m intrigued by the 1630, tide-telling sundial. I wonder if people are still able to create such a thing (or whether that knowledge has been lost). What a beautiful and intricate and useful tool to have. Glad to see another P&P adventure. πŸ™‚

    1. Awww, thanks Shirley! The boys are happy to be back! I was intrigued by the sundial, too… Maybe it somehow tracks the progress of the moon, and that’s how you figure out the tides? I hope Plunkett was taking notes! I also really liked the monk’s cell – it reminded me that, many years ago, this museum had a real Mongolian yurt on loan for a while. I was obsessed with it – it was so cosy! Thanks for dropping in and commenting πŸ˜€

      1. Yurts! When I lived in Switzerland, my aunt had a neighbour who built and furnished a yurt behind his farm. I got a tour and it was indeed the coziest place. Maybe P&P will encounter a yurt on one of their adventures yet!

        1. We’ll certainly keep our eyes peeled! Perhaps we’d only have to go as far as Switzerland, rather than all the way to the plains of Mongolia! How cool that your aunt’s neighbour had one – was he hoping to rent it out to visitors?

        2. Haha, maybe! I suspect that there are many rentable yurts in the country, some at beautiful and high altitude. Apparently, there’s a yurt village near Lucerne for overnight stays!

  4. I so enjoyed reading about the boys adventure! The photos were wonderful but when I saw one of them in the suit of armor I let out a loud giggle – awesome! Now don’t let the boys climb the cranes!

      1. Heehee, I’m happy I could raise a chuckle from both of you! Paddy’s antics do keep us all on our toes here… Although you’re right about keeping him away from the cranes! I reckon he’s slightly underestimated how big they really are πŸ˜† Thanks for dropping by, Tierney (and TTQH, too)!

  5. Belated happy birthday! I hope the boys behaved and had a decent present for you!

    That looks like a very nice trip. When I saw the picture of the armor I immediately worried what would have happened if the beastie had fallen inside??? They are so fearless!

    1. Hahaha! Oh, now THAT’S an awkward issue to have to bring up with one of the museum attendants! πŸ˜‚ Mind you, a suit of armour would make an excellent Beastie house if it was fitted out correctly inside… πŸ€” Thanks for the birthday greetings too, Ivonne – I treated myself to a nice lazy day, and it was brilliant! Cheers for stopping in πŸ˜€

  6. LOLzzzzz the lads are really pushing the boundaries with Paddy’s knight antics and the audacity of their glass-case-enclosed chair sitting! Sinead was reading this over my shoulder and now is super annoyed that I prevented her from scampering into all the spots she spotted in Amsterdam (at one point she tried to run away from me to get into trouble at Rembrandt’s house, but a helpful museum guard brought her back safe and sound hahaha). Anyway, awwww Bruce/Dad! Love the boat! What a star! That’s so cool! Alrighty, St Comgall has inspired me to go get some lunch – thank the boys for the chuckles!

    1. Yeah, I bet St Comgall’s recipe book/Food Network show would give anyone an appetite! πŸ˜‚ I’m beginning to think that Paddy and Plunkett must either have bribed the attendants in that museum or locked them in the broom cupboard to get away with as much as they did on that trip! It’s lucky that the staff in Rembrandt’s house were a bit more on the ball! I can’t wait to see more of SinΓ©ad’s holiday pics… Even if she didn’t get to see as much as she maybe would have liked! πŸ˜† Thanks for stopping in, Weekes!

  7. I never knew Ireland had a Bangor as well, I got terribly confused trying to work out how Paddy and Plunkett could have taken a train to Wales! Geography has never been my strong point πŸ˜‰
    What cheeky museum visitors they are; I always want to sit on chairs that are screened off, but I’ve never dared! I shall just have to live vicariously through P+P’s adventures.

    1. Hahaha! Might be for the best… I reckon it’s only a matter of time before they get chucked out of somewhere πŸ˜† And you’d be forgiven for not knowing Bangor, Northern Ireland… I’d say it’s a good bit smaller than the one in Wales! Thanks for stopping in, Hannah! πŸ˜€

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