Spent the last 3 days on a trip to Northern Ireland. Barbara, my farm host, has built 3 holiday cottages attached to the 150 year old family farm house that we're just finishing and about to let out. Here's a page I put together for the cottages and for potential guests to check out. http://barbarascottages.blogspot.com/
We needed to completely furnish the houses before our bookings in just 2 weeks. Ikea was the place to do it but the Dublin store doesn't open till late July. So we hired a massive moving van and drove 7 hours to Belfast.
Stayed with a friend in Magherafelt that night then got up early the next morn and got to Ikea before they opened at 9am. Went over our gargantuan list while we downed some breakfast and coffee then spent the next 2 days meticulously raiding Ikea from open until close, a total of about 16 hours. We'd gone mad by the end of it and were dragging eachother out of there.
Northern Ireland was pretty interesting, having been in the south of the Republic of Ireland for the past 2 months there were many very noticable differences. For one there were Union Jacks flying everywhere, which I thought was fairly smug. The currency was sterling, which was a pain because we had to get our money changed over from euro. We didnt really have time to drive through Belfast city center but you could see a feel the torment that has hung over the city for ages. The people were really quite lovely though and I adore the accent. It's a queer blend of ancient Irish and Scottish. Very warm, light and melodic. Everyone sounds like there from The Secret of Roan Inish which I love. Overall I really liked the North and will be back sooner than later.
Our lovely Ikea associate that helped us with our mattresses.
Job well done.