Author: ollithomson (page 1 of 16)


Whin bushes, also known as Gorse or Furze depending on what part of the world you are in are a common sight across Ireland in hedgerows and, as here, by the coast where they seem to thrive on thin sandy oil. In full bloom the bright yellow flowers stretching along the coast are a beautiful sight. Every Easter as kids we would pick the flowers and boil them up in water to dye our Easter eggs. Whin has a lovely dry coconut scent and when the coastal winds are blowing across sweeps of bushes they carry the scent with them. In the grey of an overcast day, or in the mist or fog, the bright splash of yellow stands out like a beacon. You can see more whin bushes in my pictures from Castleward.

Ballyhalbert and Portavogie

My grandparents lived in Ballyhalbert, a small village of around 300-400 people on the coast of the Ards Peninsula looking out over the Irish Sea. On a clear day Scotland and the Isle of Man are easily visible. As kids my brother and I spent a lot of time there on weekends and during the summer. When I go back to Northern Ireland I always try to spend a day or two visiting old haunts. Thanks to COVID-19 it’s been a while since I was back and I have no idea when I will get back again. So here are a few pictures from a trip I took in 2013.

This first set is of Ballyhalbert Harbour. The sculpture with the large ‘E’ in the second picture marks Burr Point, the most easterly part of the island of Ireland.

These four pictures are from Portavogie, a few miles down the road from Ballyhalbert and best known as a fishing port. My grandfather would drive down to Portavogie and buy fish landed straight off the boats.