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Easter Weekend in Northern Ire
Fri 6th Apr 2012 to Mon 9th Apr 2012
organised by Central Scotland

Car Count : 10
[ show pre-run info ]


6th to 9th April 2012

The weekend started in familiar fashion, Wattie was moaning. Apparently the 6am start time was a bit early for him however a warm hot cross bun in Whitburn meant that by the time Marshall arrived in the RAC van to see us off he had cheered up.

Hot cross buns to start the day.

Six cars headed off down the A71 on a grey morning but with hoods down to arrive at Troon for the morning ferry. After a very quick stop for bacon rolls and coffee we boarded the ferry  for the two hour crossing to Larne where we were met by Joe and Geraldine along with Joan and Robert from Northern Ireland. Joe led us to Antrim to check in at the hotel while Robert waited on the 3 cars arriving slightly later from Cairnryan.

A meet and greet party led by Trina welcomed us to the hotel with an information pack and chocolate miniatures of the Titanic and as we checked in the other 3 cars from CS arrived. A quick unpack and down to the bar for lunch and a refreshment. Well that was the idea but we were met by a sign advising everyone that as it was Good Friday the bars in Northern Ireland would not be opening until 5pm. That did cause a little bit of consternation, however, after discussion the waitresses found out that residents were excluded from the local laws and refreshments became available. Soon after Gordon and Moira arrived from the afternoon crossing to complete our numbers.

In the evening we were due to go on a boat trip around Lough Neagh but due to the low water the boat could not be launched so alternative arrangements were made and a Chinese buffet arranged. Taxis appeared and we headed off for an enjoyable evening of Chinese food, beer, wine and banter. Afterwards we returned to the hotel to continue the chat with old and new friends from Northern Ireland.

Saturday morning arrived and we gathered under heavy skies in the hotel car park and by the time we were ready to leave 38 cars were assembled. After the requisite group photo we headed off for the Antrim coast only to lose our first car at the first rounabout. Luckily it was a very understanding member of ours who got lost and headed off down the motorway for Belfast and I understand that Wattie never moaned at Janet once for getting him onto the wrong road. We met up with them again 3 hours later.

The morning was grey but dry with occasional sun so we had a top down run around some wonderful coastal roads but when we stopped for a comfort break we discovered that another 18 cars had also disappeared – something to do with the pace of the convoy encouraged half the group to go over the hills rather than around the coastal route. We continued on with superb views over to Ailsa Craig and Ayrshire climbing some steep and hairpinned roads to the north east corner before dropping back down to Ballycastle for lunch. Comments were made that the road had been so good that it would be an idea just to go back the way we had come in the afternoon. The other group, now including Wattie and Janet, arrived minutes later and we headed off to the golf club for soup and sandwiches.

After lunch we continued west around the coast to drop down into the scenic bay at Ballintoy Harbour. Unfortunately by this time it had become rather damp with a heavy mist which restricted the views but it did not dampen the spirits nor did it preclude some from trying the local delicacies of honeycomb, honeycomb ice cream and Yellow Man.

Ballintoy Harbour

Photos of this scenic spot completed we headed onto Bushmills where we visited the distillery before returning to the hotel.

A quick freshen up and it was soon time to collect in the bar and await the convoy of taxis taking us on the short trip to Masserine golf club for dinner, music and dance. Well dance might be overstating it but the efforts certainly brought plenty of smiles to those watching – videos will be available.

A buffet dinner was served, Peter and Trina gave us a welcome speech and then Jim and Maria gave gifts to Peter, Trina and Joan as a token of thanks from CS for having us over and for the work in organising the weekend. The band then arrived a bit late due to a traffic accident but soon made up for it with their excellent music which encouraged many on to the dance floor. No doubt there were going to be some sore aged joints from those trying to dance as they had done in their youth. Names will be with held to protect them from future ridicule ...... however Calum and Chris have videos.

As ever the evening passed quickly and it was soon time to return to the hotel for a nightcap before heading to bed.
Easter Sunday duly arrived as did the Easter Bunny with

Easter eggs being handed around at breakfast and being on the cars for everyone as they left. Kay was seen collecting spare eggs by the dozen so Norman may have had to call a doctor later if she ate them all.

As we were all heading off to do our own thing and the NI group were heading home we gathered in the foyer where Peter and Trina thanked us for coming and gave each of us a Titanic mug as a memento of our visit.

Some of us headed to Belfast to view the castle and Titanic centre, some headed east to Bangor and the Ards peninsula and others headed into the scenic area of the Sperrins to disrupt the Easter Parade being held there. As you would expect from CS members, since they had already chased everyone from the road on their first drive through the village and enjoyed it they did a short circuit just long enough to allow the congregation to gather back around the priest to continue the service before they arrived full blast from the opposite direction to scatter the crowd again. I understand that Mino noted that there was a third road into the crossroads but his suggestion that they try it a third time was overruled.

We gathered back in the hotel again later in the evening to discuss our respective day out and have a nightcap before bed. It appears, thankfully, that only one group of Central Scotland members decided to seek retribution on the local religious parades for their having the temerity to close the bars on Good Friday.

C.S. members at the hotel.

Monday morning, after breakfast, saw a group head off into the mist to sample a bit more of Ireland and spend a few days in the Galway area. Another two cars headed off for the lunchtime ferry back to Cairnryan while the rest of us headed off and spent a few hours at the transport museum before a pleasant lunch in Belfast and then the evening ferry back to Troon and on to our own destinations.

An excellent weekend had all too soon come to an end but old friendships had been renewed with our Northern Ireland friends and new friendships had been made. Many thanks to all who attended and to those in Northern Ireland who organised the event and made us so welcome.

Hopefully it will not be too long before we are back in each other’s company  for some more banter and craich.

Report by: Charles Kennedy

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Your Comments
7th Apr 2012 07:04 :: Chic
The first day of the Easter weekend has been survived-just about - eventually got to bed about1am after a good evening at the Chinese in Ballyclare and lots of banter with our Irish hosts. It must be the first time we have ever arrived at a hotel to be greeted by a sign reminding everyone that there was no drink allowed as it was Good Friday .... Thankfully there was a special dispensation for residents. Great to meet Irish friends again but it could be a long weekend if last night is a sample

13th Apr 2012 13:39 :: Gavin
Another belter of an Easter Weekend. The hotel on the outskirts of Antrim was excellent. Our hosts from NI were second to none. Great company and a good laugh was had by all. Thanks to Chic and Heather for liaiaing with the NI organisers. It was great to go driving around the countryside where I was last there over 40 years ago.
The 3 days in the RoI, well that's another story.

13th Apr 2012 14:17 :: Gordon & Sue T
Away wit' yer Chinese in Ballyclare.  You should try the Irish in Yangshuo!

13th Apr 2012 20:16 :: Jim and Maria
What a belter of a weekend. Our NI friends did us proud. Thanks to Chic and Heather for all their work, as  said before, these events do not happen on their own. Thanks to all the CS members for their super company, pleasure to be with them for three days. Added in some photos of our trip South, as Gavin said, thats another story.

15th Apr 2012 11:37 :: Gordon & Moira
First trip to the Emerald Isle for Mo, Go been on business before. Had a great time, thanks to Chic & Heather & the NI group. As for the three days south of the border, I have it all noted! Moira

15th Apr 2012 18:53 :: wattie97
Yep a fantastic weekend with like minded MX5 owners.A huge thanks to Chic and Heather for helping organise this super event.Thanks also to our Irish friends for all the work and hospitality afforded to CS members.I look forward to meeting up with you all again in the furure.

16th Apr 2012 16:46 :: Marcia & Raymond
Thoroughly enjoyable holiday. Thanks to Chic & Heather for all their hard work in putting it together and to those over in Ireland for their hospitality to us.
We both had a great time on this "trip across the watter". Thanks to Janet for quickly throwing together a NI Janet Jaunt on Sunday also.

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