For the past three years, I have found myself in Northern Ireland for New Year’s Eve. “Why?” I hear you ask, “Why would you go to such a cold, dark place for New Year’s?”
Well, it’s not completely bizarre to find myself shivering on a winter’s night on the North Coast given that I have several friends who hail from Northern Ireland. In fact, my current flatmate is Northern Irish and I’ve lived with two other Northern Irish girls in London. So not only was this my third New Year’s in NI, it was my 8th visit overall!
Since it’s become almost a tradition and certainly a significant part of my London/UK life in the past three years, I thought I’d give you a rundown of my three NYs in NI.
Year 1 – NYE 2011
A large group of friends hired some cottages on the North Coast, near the Giant’s Causeway (probably the most notable tourist attraction in NI).
We took walks, played games and rang in the New Year in a small, cold room while the wind howled outside. A good time was had by all!
Year 2 – NYE 2012
I was honored to be a bridesmaid in my friend Emma’s wedding on New Year’s Day 2013. So I was in NI in the days leading up to the wedding.
As NYE was the night before the wedding, it was fairly relaxed. Some of Emma’s family and friends had dinner together in a local pub and then some other people who were in town for the wedding joined us afterwards for drinks and celebration.
It was a quick exit after midnight so that we could all get enough sleep pre-wedding.
Year 3 – NYE 2013
On 28th December 2013, my friend Jane (Emma’s sister) got married – again in NI and again I was honored to be a bridesmaid.
After the wedding, Hayley and I decided to stick around in NI for New Year’s – both because we were in no rush to get back to the real world post-holidays and because it meant a chance to catch up with Emma and her husband Sam, who now live in Belfast.
On your 8th visit to NI (or 4th, if you’re Hayley), you find yourself looking for new places to explore. Fortunately, some friends took us on a lovely walk around Downhill Demesne and Mussenden Temple on the Causeway Coastal Route. It was a bright, crisp winter’s day. We enjoyed crawling over the ruined house and gazing out across the sea (not sure which sea…?). Even though I slipped and fell in the mud (twice!), it was a really nice day.
And we learned about Mussenden Temple, which Frederick Augustus Hervey built as a memorial to his beautiful cousin, Frideswide Mussenden, who is now my personal hero for using her hotness to overcome that name.
On actual NYE, we went to Emma and Sam’s house for an incredibly relaxed evening of drinks, nibbles, games and televised NY celebrations. Delightful.
So there you have it – three New Years, three trips to NI. I can confidently say it’s a lovely place to spend the holiday. But I can also confidently say I will not be there next year. Three times in a row is enough. Next year, I’m aiming for Barbados.