Though Sunny, Things Are Looking Belleek!

Wednesday -- We continued north to Sligo where we had lunch at the private home of Damien and Paula Brennan overlooking Lough Gill. Paula is a chef, and Damien is an expert on William Butler Yeats. Much of the landscape that Yeats wrote about in his poems was right outside their windows.

So while we enjoyed Paula's wonderful cooking, Damien read Yeats to us and told us stories about him and his family. We had open-faced ham sandwhiches and chicken salad and these Guinness brownies that were out of this world. The tables were beautifully decorated and there was a wide variety of art around their home, very eclectic collection. I really liked some of their pieces though. 

I really loved these vases!

It was enjoyable and I think some of the guests were surprised by how much they liked the poetry. Of course, sitting in the heart of the country it was written about added a lot. We said our goodbyes to Damien and Paula (after I had plucked a couple more brownies off unguarded trays) and drove a short way to a grotto. 

We continued north to slip into Northern Ireland and find out how Belleek Porcelain is made. In 1849 John Caldwell Bloomfield, an amateur mineralogist, inherited property in the County of Fermanagh in Northern Ireland which encompassed the village of Belleek. (Wouldn't it be nice to inherit a village?) Like Henry Mitchell, he was concerned for his tenants during the Great Potato Famine, so he had a survey done of the land and found it was rich in minerals.

So Bloomfield had the feldspar, kaolin, flint and waterpower that was necessary to make the ceramics. The clay he made was incredibly thin and pearly, but deceptively strong. He had the materials, but not the artist's skill to form it. He searched out Robert Armstrong at the Worchester Porcelain Co. Once Armstrong saw the beautiful white ceramic material, he signed on. Now they just needed a backer. Enter banker David McBirney, an acquaintance of Armstrong's. The only thing left to acquire was rail service. Bloomsfield rallied and lobbied and soon they had trains that brought in the coal for the kiln, and took the finished product to customers far and wide. I love stories like this when someone is so resourceful and overcomes obstacle after obstacle to reach their dream. John Caldwell Bloomfield put Belleek on the map and made Ireland one of the top porcelain distributing countries in the world.

So, of course it was necessary to purchase some of this, to literally bring home a piece of Ireland. 


After this we traveled to the 15th century Lough Eske Castle Hotel. We checked in, strolled around the grounds and took some pictures. Then we ate dinner at the castle's pub and enjoyed cocktails. I think one I had was called an Irish Sunrise. The interior of this hotel was fabulous and I loved the outdoor statuary. Still, it didn't have the picturesque grounds that Ballynahinch did.

Dug this guy!

Check out his flames!

This one was cool!

And I love it when lion statues aren't just doing the usual. This one seems to be sleeping.

I like how this one's mouth is open like he's panting!

Love the fish jumping in the fountain!

Nicest bathroom by far.Separate toilet, shower, tub and sinks. Candles in bathroom ~ nice touch!

Sweet bed!

View from outside our window.

After a great breakfast our coach awaited to sweep us off to our next destination...


  1. One of my favorite vacations! I loved Dublin and one must see the library at Trinity College. We braved the ferry crossing over the 'moat' and stayed at Waterford Castle and I ruined myself by purchasing a Kings of Ireland vase at the factory. I shipped it from there and it arrived home safe and sound...cherished to this day, with all my fond memories of that marvelous isle. Looks like you have many of the same experiences.

    1. Yes! I'd go back any time! Love it there! Thanks for spending time here!


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