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Two weeks ago, I had the honour of attending my first Irish wedding reception, which was a flamboyant affair with lots of good craic. The reception was held in Carlingford in County Louth, Ireland, which is about a two-hour drive from Belfast. I carpooled with two friends, and we decided to make a weekend out of it—it turned out we had excellent timing, because the weather was magnificent, the sun was out, and everything was green and beautiful and picturesque. And I thought, well, why not make a blog post out of some of the photos I’d taken.

A few facts about Carlingford:

  • Carlingford is an Irish coastal town with an urban population of about 1,000 people;
  • The town is about 11km south of the border with Northern Ireland, and 90km north of Dublin;
  • Carlingford has a castle! King John’s Castle is named after King John, who reigned from 1199–1216, was younger brother of Richard the Lionheart, and has his own Shakespearean history play (surely the highest honour attainable by a British monarch or Roman figure). Unfortunately, work on restoring parts of the castle (it’s pretty darn old!) has been “under construction” for many, many years, and the inner castle remains inaccessible;
  • There are remains of a Dominican Friary, which was established in the 14th Century; and
  • You can grab a pint of Guinness at Taaffe’s Castle, which is basically a pub in a castle. It’s really all about the Guinness and the castles.

One of the wee Medieval streets in Carlingford. We had a lovely time meandering through these and going into the homely little shops.


The view of Carlingford’s town centre from a road along the coast.


We had our pre-wedding dinner at the Carlingford Arms. I went for this tasty darne of salmon with parma ham and a bearnaise sauce.


A full Irish breakfast at the Grove House where we stayed.


It was such a beautiful day! Here, we’re walking along the water towards King John’s Castle.


King John’s Castle!


Castle, mountains, blue sky… Mmm!


Carlingford was strewn with signs pointing (in different directions) to this cavern. Although we followed a couple of the signs, we couldn’t find the entrance… But apparently it does exist!


The words didn’t photograph well, but they read: “Closed this season, reason, freezin.”


The entrance to Taaffes Castle, where we decided to stop for a muffin and cup of tea before embarking on our journey back to Belfast.


This chocolate muffin was amazing–all warm and gooey and chocolatey, and everything a chocolate muffin should be.


The moment we realised the warm, old-fashioned, ambient atmosphere was created by LED lights.


Mmm, lovely [Irish] pubs…

Sleeps and eats:

Grove House Carlingford. B&B. Breakfast included. I paid €80 for the night through Booking.com (and got a triple room!), but the lovely lady who runs the place told me to ring her next time for better availabilities.
Grove Road, Carlingford, Co. Louth, Ireland. +353 42 937 3494.

Carlingford Arms. €14,50 for my salmon; €4,50 for a pint of Guinness.
Newry Street and Market Square, Carlingford, Co. Louth, Ireland. +353 42 937 3418.

Taaffe’s Castle. €5 for a chocolate muffin and coffee/tea. Would love to return for a pint of Guinness.
Newry Street, Carlingford, Co. Louth, Ireland. +353 42 937 3770.