After a very wet and dreary week, Saturday dawned clear and bright, perfect for heading out into the country. A friend from Cornerstone, Wendy, picked me up, and we drove out toward Donemana for the Christmas fair and coffee morning at Barrontop Farm. The event was organized to raise money for Sophie Riddles, a young woman in our church who is serving on a Logos Hope Ship.
We had quite a fun time. The ladies of the church had put their hearts and souls into baking cakes, buns and other delicate nibbles. There was coffee and tea, and everything was done up beautifully. I enjoyed sitting with several friends and chatting over the spread. Afterward, we went to look at the goods for sale at the market. My friend Dori has a little business on the side – Dori’s Country Kitchen. She makes delectable jams and chutneys, so I bought some peachy raspberry jam and balsamic red onion chutney. Also, I purchased a loaf of wheaten bread from a resident baker in the congregation. There was a photobooth, too!
On Sunday, I finally did what I’ve been meaning to do for ages – the train ride from Derry to Portrush! Ever since I got here, I’ve heard how lovely the journey is. The train follows the Foyle as it winds up toward and empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Portrush is the last stop, a quaint little beach town on the Northern tip of the Island.
The best day to make the journey is Sunday, when you purchase an unlimited day tracker ticket for £7. I asked Krystyn and my new friend Diana if they were interested, and they both were game! So, after church, we caught the train and headed north. What perfect weather! The Foyle was a mirror of the sky. The train was remarkably comfortable and I was able to introduce two good friends to each other! Diana and Krystyn got on quite well.
On the train, we met two sweet old ladies who gave us directions for where to go. They were darlings, asking us all about our travels and studies. When I told one of them that she had brightened our day, she bashfully said “Oh, stop it!” and gave me a hug. 🙂
When we arrived in Portrush, it was about an hour before sunset. We walked along the strand, breathing in the brisk sea air and gazing at the silver lined clouds. Then we became adventurous and climbed the basalt crags along the water’s edge. Sea spray, whipping wind, natural rock arches, wading through the famous spongy Irish grass…what fun! The day ended with coffee in a cute cafe with floor length windows overlooking the water.
Portrush, we will definitely be back soon!