However, on learning that the naval frigate had departed, my plans changed.
Instead, I decided to make an overdue trip to Derrymore House, a property of The National Trust which was acquired in 1952.
Derrymore is outside Newry, County Down; though it's actually in County Armagh, at the village of Bessbrook.
I couldn't see any road signs to Bessbrook on my way in to Newry, so stopped the car and told the "sat-nav" that I wished to go to the said village.
So far, so good.
However, on approaching Bessbrook there were no signs - you know, the big brown ones with the Trust logo - so I stopped at the side of the main road twice and enquired of passers-by.
I was told to look for Rose Cottage; and indeed there was an unmarked drive beside this private cottage which I found, having re-traced my steps, as it were.
I gingerly drove up the track, which passed an old walled garden.
Eureka! I saw the familiar thatch and shape of Derrymore House.
There's a car-park beside the house, or cottage orné. It's larger than it appears, because there is a basement below the single-storey "cottage".
I arrived about two-thirty and there were no other visitors, so I ventured in through a corner entrance.
It's a charming building, though only one room is open to visitors, if you exclude the entrance hall.
The drawing-room, as it formerly was, affords a beautiful aspect of the rolling lawn and landscape.
This is a spacious room, with a large central window.
I have unearthed an old picture of the way it looked in the 1960s, though it's largely unfurnished at the moment. Presumably the chandelier is in storage or hanging in another property.
The plasterwork is quite plain, though there is some detail at the fireplace. There are various niches for books and so on.
The ceiling has an oval kind of recess with a chunky chain hanging from the middle, obviously meant to hang a heavy chandelier.
The drawing-room is also known as the Treaty Room, an allusion to the Act of Union which was said to have been drafted here.
Sir Charles Coote considered Derrymore "without exception, the most elegant summer lodge", and I heartily agree.
I've written a bit about the Corrys and Derrymore here.
I remained in the house and conversed with the warden for about twenty-five minutes, before taking my leave and roving into the fine oak woods and demesne.
I passed The Woodhouse, a fair-sized house in the woods which was the residence of the Richardson family before they gave Derrymore to the National Trust.
There is a curious enclosed circular or oval garden deep within the woods, which has a shallow wall and stone archway, apparently of some antiquity.
I terminated my stroll at the Friends' Meeting House (the Richardsons were Quakers).
ON my way back to Belfast, I stopped at the Corry monument, an obelisk at the side of the main road into Newry.
It's generally in good condition, though the Corry arms, carved from a block of sandstone, are badly eroded.