What an excellent day out arranged for the volunteers by none other than Jenny. She even seemed to control the weather as the rain showers appeared briefly in between places of interest.
It was unfortunate many who would have liked to have come couldn't as someone had to man the fort!
Our first stop was to Glenarm where after an early rise for most we were more than ready for our raspberry and white chocolate scones.
Can you see the anticipation on their faces.
Jenny making sure we were all organised for our tour of the castle.
We got back on the coach as the castle was quite a bit away. The driver needed a medal for the manoeuvring he had to do around the parking area more suited to horses than vehicles.
We received a very warm welcome to the castle butfrom this point I can not show any photos out of respect for the familystill living there. This was so obvious as it had such a homely feel. It had its portraits and paintings as mountstewart does but the rooms were of a much smaller scale and their own little touches.
The entrance hall had many portraits reminding you of the ancestors, a fireplace to warm you and some pieces of history telling you about a fire they had had that badly damaged this part of the house.
There are some sculptures and ceiling paintings related by one previous lady of the house and although she may have felt she was extremely talented the pieces themselves would have been more suited to Barry's amusement arcade to this rather grand entrance. The lady giving the history did mention there were to be a further two but the husband havingseen the four in place refused to have more. We went from here into the drawing room. It was gorgeous with the old and new blending perfectly.very welcoming to children also with Aesop fables tiny murals painted at the top of each wall encroaching on the ceiling. Many family photos from different eras, small busts and some needlework. A lovely size of room in two parts the greater part being the lounge area with small dining part adjoining. Then into the dining room which again had some little murals but this time the cherub like characters are believed to be based on a former resident. A wake table on one side and central table that enlarges to seat 20. Again many portraits and paintings of a maritime nature. A gorgeous Victorian side board and various other pieces of furniture. Bypassing the staircase and more portraits we went along a tiny hall to the blue room named because of the wallpaper. A very cosy sitting room with many paintings of horses and again furnishings old and new looking out to the front of the house and garden.
A very interesting tour with so much information I can barely remember but seeing the connection with Frances Ann whom we all know well in Mountstewart. Then off we went to the walled garden so that the other half of our group could have their tour.
We were quite amazed at the colours still for this time of year and loved the different areas set out especially the parts left wild and the Large mound you could climb to view the garden.
We came across a number of fruit trees as well as wild flowers and shrubs. One we had never seen before but thanks to a gardening group visiting they identified for us.
They said it was used to make jelly that was put around meats.