The sun and the sound of the waves woke us up gently in our room at the Sandhouse hotel. Poops and myself agreed that this really was the best way of enjoying holiday: just replace
the alarm clock by the murmur of the ocean in the morning. Admittedly we had also set up the alarm clock, just in case. One can never be too sure. We opened the curtains on a stunning view. We found ourselves motivated for the brand new day, so motivated in fact that we insisted on having fish for breakfast. Poops engulfed his kippers at high speed and then surprisingly felt slightly sick for the rest of the morning.
We had a very light day ahead of us with only 2 items on the list: the White Island and Belleek pottery. We jumped in the car and drove in a direction that we hoped would be getting us to Lough Erne in county Fermanagh, where the White Island is. Now, I don’t really want to criticize Ireland but a little more signage information would have been fucking useful. In most parts of our travel we came out fine using our A-Z Great Britain road atlas that had only one page for Ireland. We should have bought a better atlas but it was enough most of the time. But for the White Island we drove all around Laugh Erne before actually finding an entry point that was signed as a camping area. There was no sign for the Marina where you can take the ferry to the island. As we were searching for an entrance we drove through Enniskillen which gave Poops the chills. Twelve people died in an IRA bombing during Sunday remembrance in 1987. This, to Poops, is known as the bombing of Enniskillen. To me, growing up as a young child on the European continent at the time, I must confess that I didn’t know about the bombing. Luckily after nearly one hour of desperate search, our mood lightened up as we found the slip road to Laugh Erne. It is worth all the troubles in the world!
In order to get to the White Island you will need to find the marina that is located at the very end of Castle Archdale country park. We only found signs for Castle Archdale camping park. These are the ones to follow to get to the lake. Once driving to Castle Archdale you will soon discover that the castle is in reality a large size manor with very large gardens and a tiny tea room that does not accept any type of card payment. More importantly, you will find the secret marina and a tiny wooden house where you can buy tickets for the White Island ferry.
The ferry is a small fisher’s boat that can welcome up to 10 persons. The trip lasts approx. 15min each way and costs £4 per person. Be prepared to be thrown into the past as soon as you set foot on the White Island.
The White Island is famous for its 8 carved statues that are build in the remains of a monastic settlement. It’s been destroyed by the Vikings in AD 837 therefore we had no further physical indication of the settlement itself. Between 800 and 1000 the statues were carved. They have been used as building stones in the church as it was constructed.
Now the church has fallen in ruins but the statues remain standing, as enigmatic as ever. We found it was a very inspiring spot for our Phaedrus’s story…
After the White Island, we drove back to Rossnowlagh and stopped in the Belleek visitor centre. If you have not heard of Belleek, these guys have been working on potteries since 1857. It may sound a little boring but this is worth the trip, primarily because they have an awesome tea room where you can drink real tea in one the brand’s porcelaine services. This is a simple touch but your tea tastes so much better for it. Just look at the details on the plates and the beautiful square tea pot! How could it not taste amazing?
We spent an entire hour in the pottery shop drooling in admiration at the sight of the vases, the dishes, the Christmas decoration and the service sets. Not only it is beautiful but there is something for every budget. If you like talented art work, Belleek pottery is the place to go. The visitor tour is free (unless you choose the guided tour) which leaves your wallet ready for the shop and the tea room after the visit.
Finally we drove back to Sandhouse Hotel to enjoy the view by the beach before driving on the next day for our next adventure. We were lucky, the beach was empty, the tide was low and the wind was strong. Poops took his kite and used it to terrorise a few elderly ladies who were walking peacefully on the sand.