Travel is in my bones. It’s what quenches my lust for adventure and exploration. I was in Scotland early this summer shooting a friend’s wedding and I knew that I wanted to turn that into a mini tour. This tour spanned from Glasgow to London to Northern Ireland. I talked about the wedding in Glasgow here and my trip to London here. In this post, I want to tell you all about my time in County Tyrone in Northern Ireland. I chose this spot based on two things: The Giants Causeway and a lovely Airbnb cottage I found online. The Giants Causeway is a natural wonder and on my son’s “must-see” list for our trip though two hours north of the cottage. If Airbnb is new to you, march right over to their site and take a look!! I was able to travel on a small budget using Airbnb to stay in an apartment in Glasgow and a cottage in Omagh.
Our flight from London to Dublin was a piece of cake. Pick up of our rental car could not have been easier. The driving from Dublin to County Tyrone was…..um a bit scary. It’s a two hour drive from the airport to the cottage, on the left side of the road with the steering wheel on the right side of the car, with odd signage and traffic patterns. Our first whoops was stopping to pay a toll and driving up to the left. I had to stop, park and get out of the car to pay the operator whilst the men in the car behind me were snickering.
We arrived in Omagh to find a spread on the kitchen table of fresh eggs, butter, milk, jam, bread and a cake with the number 16 on it for my son’s birthday. We felt so incredibly welcomed! Our hostess met up with us and graciously gave us a tour of the property. She showed us how to gather eggs from her “ladies” should we want more. Fresh eggs from lovingly cared for chickens are incredibly different from eggs bought in the grocery store. It’s amazing how rich and orange the yolks are! That evening, we walked down the road to pick up additional groceries. I had a goal of making breakfast and lunch at the cottage and only eating our dinners out in order to save some money. We spent the night by a peat fire and making our plans for the week, pricing out activities and efficiently mapping out our routes.
Our first stop was to explore the local area of Omagh in County Tyrone. We thought it best to see one of the many stones, stone circles, stone crosses. The first and only one we were able to locate was the Ogham Stone. It is a stone with notches and strokes erected in the late Iron Age. There was a small sign on a small road which took you down a small path to the stone. My teenage son was not impressed. We snapped a few photos and took in the views of rolling hills and the stream that ran nearby. It wasn’t mind blowing, but it was peaceful and quiet in that field. The stone was only six minutes from the cottage so we pushed on to see the town of Omagh and to find a coffee shop. The Riverfront Coffee House on Market Street hit the spot! My friend Jackie and I relaxed with creamy lattes and chocolate pastries while my son went exploring in the town.
Another day, we decided to seek out the Donaghmore high cross though we became very lost and gave up. My son really wanted to get out of the car and go hiking so while driving through the Sperrin Mountains we stopped at Gortin Glen Park. It was a serene hike through the pines and ferns. There were hardly any other visitors so the park felt like it was our own.
Just down the road was a series of hills labeled “Mossey Hill” and a small car park. My son insisted on climbing the hills and rolling down them. I wasn’t even sure we were supposed to be there, if it was private property or public property? In any case, we climbed those hills and watched sheep make their way in the lane below. It was other wordly being on top of those hills. They really did have fabulous views that stretched far across the county. I have never seen a greener place in all my life!