50 shades of green in Ireland

I’m in Ireland! We decided after our semi disastrous Ibiza trip we’d try something closer to home with no airports.  Driving from Newcastle to Stranraer with Reilly was ok, not great, we’ll leave it there. Scotland is stunning, I’ve only ever bounced along the Royal Mile and drooled over Outlander. I’ve much more exploring to do.

I was dreading the ferry. I’m anxious most of the time and the thought of who could I save first if we sink despite the fact that I can tread water for all of 5 minutes was haunting me. I needn’t have worried. The boat from Cairnryan to Belfast was like a cruise ship! I was expecting water pounding off the windows, people being sick overboard, Reilly in the lifeboats and dropping anchor.  Instead we were greeted with Alvin and the Chipmunks in the cinema, free PS4s, soft play area, free internet and swanky lounges. Brilliant- what wasn’t brilliant was the folks staring at me trying to calm a screaming Reilly while they stampeded for the stairs to get back in their cars I only said ‘what the fuck you looking at?’ three times so not too bad I suppose.

We stayed with our fabulous friend Marie and her family in Ardoyne Belfast and Reilly thoroughly enjoyed the parks etc especially throwing my brand new cardigan into the lake. I met an old school friend who jumped ship to Ireland 30 years ago and now has a beautiful restaurant in Belfast called Harlem Cafe.   Reilly toured Belfast in an open top bus while we ate, I genuinely feared for Harlems crockery.  Jon Snow’s spotted = zero.

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Warrenpoint

Next on to Warrenpoint, car journey was hell on earth and I wanted to book a flight home. Reilly tried getting out of his car seat at least 20 times. Tried throwing my shoes etc out of the window and screamed every time I coughed which is approximately every 2 minutes at present. Shane’s granny was born in Warrenpoint and it is outstandingly beautiful. We booked a chalet with the kids in mind, more space, football etc.  When we arrived we were greeted by the owner Jennifer now what would the chances be that she runs her own autism charity MAC Making a changeMAC NI FACEBOOK PAGE helping autistic people enjoy the outdoors with water sports, balancability, orienteering, ziplines, archery, driving range etc  as well as programmes working with siblings, it’s amazing!  And just an hour’s drive from Belfast. It was an instant relax for me. Jennifer gets it, she knows.  Reilly even let himself in their house today and went upstairs for a lie in their bunk beds! Chalet is outstanding and I’d gladly stay longer if I could.  Beech Tree chalet Warrenpoint for anyone interested. We WILL be back.

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Prettiest playground in the world. 50 shades of green.

Reilly has loved today we went to Ring of Cullion which is set in an area of outstanding beauty, huge park and forest walks to the Fairy Village and Giants Lair. Lots of fresh air, stunning views and a bit of magic.  Ellis however not so keen. Bust his lip on a pull up bar and I quote I am 9 year old boy if it’s got fairy in it I’m not interested in it. I’ll ask again in 7 years I bet the response is different!

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Back to Warrenpoint and a play on the beach and in the park for the lads. Sitting on the grass having an Orangina when Shane remembered it’s our wedding anniversary, I’d forgotten. We celebrated by going to the chippy and betting the lady behind the counter she could have the contents of Shane’s wallet if she could cut Reillys hair. She’d have been disappointed if she’d won.

Happy days all in all Reilly is handling his holiday like a boss. Ellis and Reilly are getting much better at being in the same room and I’m a bit smitten with Ireland.

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Christine Stephenson

Really busy mam who runs her own charity, has 3 sons and learning about autism every day. Contact me at alphaautistic@gmail.com

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