Staffordshire Trefoil Guild certainly know how to ‘push the boat out’ when it comes to organising anything and that was just what they did with this year’s holiday . After a short sea crossing from Holyhead members headed for Dublin and an overnight stay. After evening meal members retired for the evening. The following morning there was a visit to Dublin city with free time to explore and look for the ‘tart with the cart’, the ‘hags with the bags’ and the ‘floozy in the jacuzzi’ – tasks all set by the Chairman. We left Dublin around lunchtime for the afternoon’s drive to Lorne House on the outskirts of Belfast. Time to settle into our rooms before dinner, which was followed by a quiz and beetle drive. The winner of the holiday badge competition was announced and badges distributed.

The following day we made the short journey to the Titanic Exhibition where members spent the morning in the iconic building exploring the sights, sounds, smells and stories of Titanic. For some there was also time to visit the cafe, shop and also the SS Normadic the original tender ship to RMS Titanic.

In the afternoon it was Hillsborough Castle, official residence of the Royal Family when they are in Northern Ireland. We were given an interesting and informative guided tour of the state rooms on the ground floor. Unfortunately there was not time to explore the gardens before we returned to Lorne House for birthday cake and tea. There were three birthdays during our visit so lots to celebrate.

In the evening two members of a local Guild joined us for and evening of crafts including a very popular chocolate fountain.

Next day we boarded the coach for the journey along the Causeway coastline to the Giant’s Causeway for amazing landscape and spectacular views. Time for a little retail therapy in the causeway shops then onwards to Bushmills Whiskey Distillary shop.

At dinner we were joined by Ivy Lee, Vice President of Girlguiding Ulster who explained the history of Lorne House and told jokes. This was followed by an indoor campfire and singing. Other visitors for the evening included members of Holywood Trefoil Guild and two Leaders with Girlguiding South Antrim.

Thursday was a free day for members to choose whatever they wanted to do or wherever they wished to visit. Some took a bus journey to a local seaside town others visited the Ulster Folk Museum or other places of interest. In the evening a local Irish dance group entertained us with members joining in.

Friday came too quickly and we started the long return journey home on the Belfast to Cairnryan ferry. We arrived back in Staffordshire very weary after travelling through all four countries of the U.K. during the week and sharing lots of fun, friendship and good company.

Ivy Lee 3rd from right

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