My first cup of coffee indoors at a cafe in almost a year deserves to be included in this week’s Thursday Doors post and it was in a place with a magnificent view.
The Shorebird Coffee Hut in Ballycastle, County Antrim is not only in a beautiful setting but is a relaxing and friendly place to start off a morning of door hunting.
The coffee and cakes are as tasty as the lovely beach themed interior.
I didn’t bump into Robinson Crusoe but I think I might have come across his beach hut. This got me thinking of people who live on islands and have been nicknamed after Daniel Defoe’s fictional character. For instance, there’s Yorkshireman, Brendon Grimshaw, who bought Moyenne Island in the Seychelles back in 1962 and spent years searching for the buried treasure of pirate Oliver Levasseur. At the same time, with the help of his friend Rene Antoine Lafortune, he transformed the 24 acre island into the world’s smallest national park. They planted 16,000 trees, introduced a wide variety of birds and bred giant tortoises. Grimshaw died in 2012, aged 87.
Northern Ireland has a its own ‘Robinson Crusoe’ in the person of Peter McClelland, who lived as the only resident of Coney Island on Lough Neagh for almost 20 years. He retired from his solitary life a few years ago to live in the busy town of Portadown, County Armagh. In 1998 he became the warden of the eight and a half acre island and over the next two decades cleared away invasive species, opened up pathways and planted many trees. He also recorded the wide variety of birds that came to visit and welcomed about five thousand tourists each summer, some day trippers and others camping. He wasn’t totally isolated as he sailed across to the mainland during the week to buy food and goods.
A lot of history is attached to Coney Island on Lough Neagh, from a 13th century Anglo-Norman motte to a round tower dating back to the 16th century. Being a secluded island had its advantages for some in more recent history. Queen Victoria’s son Albert Prince of Wales (also known as Bertie) who would become King Edward VII, stayed there with his mistress, actress Lillie Langtry.
Next week I’ll show you what came after my coffee with a view but in the meantime, Dan has quite a lot of interesting links to an international selection of Thursday Doors over on his blog.