piece of land attached to Downhill House and retained by the owner for personal use. This property has a varied topography including dense forests, open fields, sheltered gardens, a man-made pond and the dramatic cliffs overlooking the Downhill Strand (or beach).
The house was built using the "cruck and truss" construction method, meaning that it has no foundations and the walls are not load-bearing. The entire house is held up by wood timbers (the crucks and trusses) which form arches spaced throughout the structure.
e and an inner ward area that included a large kitchen area with ovens and fireplaces, a bake house and more lodgings for family and staff.
As impressive as the ruins were to see, even more stunning were the breathtaking scenic views that could be spotted through window openings and while walking near the cliff edges of the grounds.
Our next stop was Ballintoy Harbour, a small, picturesque fishing harbour located at the end of a very small, narrow, steep road down Knocksaughey Hill. On our way down the hill, we unexpectedly encountered a uniquely designed house that we later learned was called the Bendhu House. Beginning in 1936, it was built by hand over a period of more than 20 years by Newton Penprase, a professor at the Belfast College of Arts. It became locally known as "The house that was never completed" because Penprase kept thinking of new features to add. Apparently the inside is as quirky and charming as the outside with sunken rooms, portholes, sculptures, wall paintings, ship's cabins, secluded nooks and fabulous views of the harbour.
Once the hub for for north coast fishing, boat building and local industries, business dwindled in Ballintoy to the point where the population declined to only 165 people. Things got a bit more exciting for the village in 2011 when it was chosen for another scene from Game of Thrones, filling in for the fictional town of Lordsport in the Isle of Pyke or the Iron Islands. This is where Theon Greyjoy returns to his childhood home after many years absence and first meets his sister Yara. The boats usually moored at the harbour had to be removed during the shooting. The limestone cliffs surrounding Ballintoy harbour contain caves that possibly date back to the Stone Age.
Finally we reached our overnight destination of Ballycastle, the northeastern most tip of Northern Ireland. From the harbour, we could see pretty views of the rolling hills and valleys of the Atrium Glens. It had rained on and off all day, so we hoped that the next day would be better to visit the Giant's Causeway, a 23 minute drive back the way we had just come.
For dinner we were told that the place to go for good local fish and chips was Mortons, located at the west end of the Ballycastle Harbour. As usual, avoiding the dreaded fat fries which we don't like in favour of coleslaw, we ordered a plate of battered scallops and a plate of cod gourdons, which were small chunks of battered fish instead of one big piece. The fish and scallops were delicious but unfortunately Mortons was just a takeout place with nowhere to sit down. Sitting outside was not a good option in the drizzling weather, so we ended up eating our meal in the car. It was not the greatest ambiance, but the food made up for up and we did have a nice view of the harbour and the glens (when we could see them through the now pouring rain). Despite the inclement weather, we did not let the rain slow us down and we had a great day nonetheless.