With no plans for the Bank Holiday Monday just past, I was delighted when my lovely mother-in-law phoned to invite us for a picnic lunch – we of course jumped at the opportunity!
We decided to meet in the sleepy little village of Glenarm on the Causeway Coast, a midway point between our respective homes. It is a place we have driven through on many occasions but have never actually stopped to explore so we were all looking forward to the visit.
With the sun shining brightly and us all excited to have the chance to explore somewhere new while spending time with our relatives, we met up at lunchtime close to the harbour where my husband’s parents had already set out a delicious picnic for us all. It was such a treat to be served a lovely lunch outdoors and a nice cup of tea to go with it!
The boys rapidly devoured everything in sight and once we had all eaten our fill and packed up the picnic hamper we took off for a stroll around the harbour, which is apparently the oldest one in Ulster – who knew?! Surrounded by the lush green rolling hills of the Glens of Antrim, blue sky overhead and the striking Causeway coastline, it really is an idyllic spot for a leisurely bank holiday wander.
As we gently walked, I chatted with my mother-in-law. It had been a few weeks since we had seen one another so there was lots of baby and wedding news to catch up on and all sorts of other things in between. I feel very blessed to have such great in-laws who have always accepted (tolerated?!) me and who are so involved in the boys’ lives. It does my heart so much good to watch as they enjoy spending time with their Grandparents and I remind them often how very privileged they are to have grandparents who are so active and amazingly curious about the world around them – always out and about visting places, hopping on and off the train to go to shows and events – it’s great! Our oldest son is now taller than both me and his Granny and it was sweet to see them walk together arms around one another and then relax side by side on a bench in the harbour while having a good ole chit-chat while the rest of us watched little fishing boats enter and leave the harbour.
Granda is a font of much wisdom and knowledge and the boys just love spending time learning from him about everything under the sun! I have yet to discover a topic he doesn’t know something about!
With the hot sun beating down on us it was soon time for an ice cream and a saunter around the village’s historic ‘Layd Walk’, which meanders up through the quaint little side streets to a viewpoint which looks out over the Irish Sea all the way to Scotland.
On our way through the winding streets we encountered an old man resting in the sunshine outside his home. As is custom in Ireland, we stopped for a natter, and the man then kindly showed the boys his amazing and wonderful collection of canaries – there were hundreds of them, including some chicks that were just 4 days old with beaks wide-open in hope of some food from Mama Canary!
With thank-yous and farewells uttered, we continued uphill to the viewpoint where we stopped to rest and marvel a the spectacular views. In the heat of the day I felt like I was in a sleepy little village in France rather than an hour’s drive away from home in Northern Iteland! Everyone agreed that it was just stunning to look out across the jutting coastline and sea as well as the impressive rooftop of Glenarm Castle. We couldn’t believe that we had never once stopped in Glenarm before and with no other people around it seemed that its beauty remains a well-kept secret!
Once we had strolled back down towards the harbour, the boys decided it was time to cool-off with a dip in the sea, so off they ran to skip over the waves while the grown-ups watched on and enjoyed a welcome cup of coffee.
I have now concluded that spontaneous days out with my nearest and dearest are simply the best of times and that making precious memories which will last my kids a lifetime doesn’t require much more than a few sandwiches, an ice cream and a lazy wander around a beautiful village – just perfect!