Sea Glass Adventures On The Northern Irish Coast

Sea Glass

Welcome everyone! I’ve made so many wonderful memories sea glass hunting this past year that I decided it would be best to keep them all in one place, both for myself and for potential customers from my upcoming Etsy store selling wire wrapped and drilled sea glass from my foraging adventures (stay tuned for launch date some time in April). I keep each batch of sea glass separate so that I can recall the memories of each particular day while I make the jewellery, sharing with you which beach each piece is from and what we did the day we discovered it.

 

My Love Of Sea Glass

 

I adore the romance and mystery of finding these shining jewels amongst the pebbles/rocks. To walk along the beach with the sound of the waves and the salty sea air looking for treasures or ‘mermaid tears’ as they’re also called. Knowing that what was once thrown away as trash, has been taken by the ocean, tumbled and shaped over many years into these smooth precious keepsakes. Wondering what their story is and how they came to be there. This is where I’ll share each adventure we have , mostly from the North Antrim coast here in Ireland, a place that is very dear to my heart and holds many special memories for me ever since I was a child. Thank you for being part of our journey 🙂

 

Glenarm Beach

1st Trip

Aaaah bliss...

Aaaah bliss…

I had no idea that day just what chain of events would happen after being at the beach! We had stopped for coffee at the walled castle gardens before taking a walk in the sunshine through the town where we picked up a gorgeous rosemary focaccia bread from a new craft store called Blackthorn and Willow (which I’m now honoured to have stocking my jewellery!)We discovered a stunning forest hike with red squirrels, blackberries, honeysuckle and ferns. We searched for faeries, played by the river and chased falling leaves (read more about my love of Glenarm here ). After a few hours we headed down to the beach and I found my first few pieces of sea glass. I got excited and kept hunting. Coppertop hunted with me, crying out excitedly as she found some shining among the pebbles, before she started splashing along the shoreline while I kept looking. We came away with a large bag of glass and as I walked along the beach I daydreamed about how I could create jewellery with these little treasures. Little did I know… 🙂

2nd Trip

Boots filled to the top with sea water!

Boots filled to the top with sea water!

This beach trip was a bit of a surprise. We’d been at a corn harvest earlier in the day where we got to see old fashioned threshers processing the corn stacks into the grain and stalks. I t was really interesting to watch and very humbling seeing all the work involved to produce food that we take for granted. It definitely made me feel more connected to the land, especially after being part of a barley harvest the week before.

So after the harvest we drove over to the coast for a quick beach walk which turned into a foraging session and some chips down by the shore. The seagulls were doing their best to nab our chips but we managed to wolf them down. Coppertop had a bit too much fun splashing on the shoreline as she squelched over to me with her boots full to the brim with sea water! After a quick clothes change we were on our way back to survey our finds which included a beautiful amber teardrop!

Another day's treasures, check out my perfect amber teardrop, can't wait to see the jewellery piece for that!

Another day’s treasures, check out my perfect amber teardrop, can’t wait to see the jewellery piece for that!

 

3rd Trip

Still a bit grey and drizzly but one of my favourite places in the world

Still a bit grey and drizzly but one of my favourite places in the world

We obviously hadn’t learned our lesson from getting drenched at Drains Bay earlier in the day (see further down this post) as we decided to head on round the coast to my favourite spot. It was still a bit grey and drizzly but not enough to stop a little beach combing! As we trawled through the pebbles, a local photographer came over to ask what on earth we were doing and to take some pictures of us. So out there somewhere are photos of a very self conscious moi awkwardly squinting at a piece of sea glass in the sunlight! I got the chance to take a few moments by the water to breathe deeply and watch the gentle waves in silence. I left feeling energised, at peace and uplifted. Just wonderful memories 🙂

 

Waterloo Bay (Larne)

1st Trip

Our surprise new favourite beach!

Our surprise new favourite beach!

I wasn’t expecting to find this hidden treasure of a beach when we visited Larne that day! We’d gone for breakfast at a seaside café there and decided to go for a walk afterwards. What we found at the end of the path was a lovely wee stony beach looking out across to Scotland. Coppertop and I hunted for glass ( she was better at it than me as usual) then she and my dad played amongst the pebbles at the shoreline, running away from the waves while I kept searching for more ‘Mermaid Tears’, marvelling at how many perfectly smooth treasures I was finding. It made my heart sing listening to Coppertop’s shrieks of laughter with my dad as background noise. We returned to the car with full pockets as I hadn’t brought a bag on our surprise trip 🙂 I think it was this day that I really started thinking I could make a go of handcrafting these treasures into jewellery pieces as I found so many perfect pieces!

2nd Trip

Look at that! Such a beautiful sight while beachcombing

Look at that! Such a beautiful sight while beachcombing

Our second trip here set the trend for quite a few of our sea glass hunting trips – being in the pouring rain! We had gone for breakfast then decided on a foraging trip, however, the dark clouds rolled in and the heavens opened leaving us drenched. However, the skies soon made up for it with some of the most stunning rainbows I’ve ever seen, I wish I’d been able to capture them all on camera but alas I only managed a few.

It was high tide that day and the storm brought the tide even closer so we had a few near misses with the water, running down the pebble slope to fetch sea glass glinting amongst the water then slipping and sliding back up before the waves caught us! So worth it as we found some stunning pieces that day. Including my first ever pink piece which had me jumping up and down clapping on the beach while my loving daughter solemnly stared up at me like I had gone insane. Only other pink piece we got was on a further trip to that beach so now every time I’m there, I’m keeping a look out for more!

My beautiful pink piece! How pretty is that :)

My beautiful pink piece! How pretty is that 🙂

 

Drains Bay

 

Very atmospheric clouds that emptied over us soon after. Love those waves!

Very atmospheric clouds that emptied over us soon after. Love those waves!

This was a really funny and successful hunting trip! On a gloomy day we decided to try our luck at a beach we hadn’t combed before. We’d only been at the beach for a few minutes when the ominous dark grey clouds rolled in and emptied all over us. Combined with high winds and a high tide, we still managed to gather a decent haul, despite questioning our sanity on several occasions. At one point we even ended up back in the car for ten minutes when the rain got too heavy, then got back out there like the dedicated beach combers we are! On this trip the tide won and I ended up squelching around the rest of the day in soggy socks! Totally worth it though as we ended up finding the biggest piece of peacock blue that we ever found which I turned into a necklace for myself. I also found my first marble (dad has found loads, *grumbles*) which I was really excited by. So excited that I couldn’t get my camera to focus! Of course that could have also been the hypothermia setting in…

 

Holywood

 

The start of our lovely mama daughter day :)

The start of our lovely mama daughter day 🙂

What a beautiful day full of memories this was! I knew it was to be a lovely sunny day so we set off first thing Sunday morning to walk to the train station. A quick 8 minutes later we stepped off the train to the sound of the seagulls and the smell of salty sea air. It was low tide so Coppertop and I were able to walk the whole way along the beach, finding glass, spotting shells and interesting rocks. Jumping over river outlets and playing by the shoreline. We walked further round to the playground where new friends were made. After a while, we sat by the grass with our picnic lunch before heading to the beach again.

Coppertop dug herself a hole to ‘rest’ in, so we lay on the sand with some cake and ginger beer watching the blue sea (can you tell I was an Enid Blyton fan as a child? Well, still am of course).Bliss. After a run back to catch the train, we went to St George’s market in Belfast for some lovely fresh fruit and veggies. Then some soy hot chocolate before heading home with tired legs but happy hearts 🙂

Ginger beer ,sea glass hunting and chilling on the sand...perfect way to spend the day :)

Ginger beer ,sea glass hunting and chilling on the sand…perfect way to spend the day 🙂

Carnlough

 

The first part of the beach where we met our fellow beachcomber

The first part of the beach where we met our fellow beachcomber

An unexpected trip with a lovely chance encounter along the way! Our first time combing this beach though we’d been in the area many times before, it was a favourite spot for my dad as a child. The first part of the beach was filled with large white stones and no sea glass. But we got talking to a wonderful fellow beachcomber who showed us what side of the river we should be looking on. This lovely guy was looking for fossils and showed me these fascinating ‘star stones’ which are actually fossilised plant stems! He was generous enough to give me some of these and wouldn’t hear of a trade in return. He also told me of a local man there who used the sea glass he found to press into freshly plastered walls in the houses there which I thought was a wonderful idea! Something I’d certainly want to do if I ever get my own tiny/cob/earthship house. Found some wonderful pieces that day including a small almost perfect clear heart. Only blip was Coppertop taking a tumble and skinning her wee knees which she wasn’t too happy about funnily enough!

The 2nd part of the beach where we found lots of special pieces

The 2nd part of the beach where we found lots of special pieces