Really officer, there's nothing in the boot!

Published: May 10th 2008
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Sunday was our travel day. We got a late start since we didn't get in until 2:30am. We skipped breakfast so we could sleep longer. We got up and packed everything so we could head out to Northern Ireland. We picked Jessie up at Corrib Village around noon and headed north through Sligo and Donegal. About 2 hours into the trip, Jessie suddenly realizes that she has forgotten her passport. This is potentially a huge deal since The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are two different countries, even though they are on the same island and it is all Ireland. The Republic is under Irish rule, while Northern Ireland is still controlled by Great Britain. Jessie called one of her roommates that had been to Northern Ireland earlier in the semester and she said they never stopped at the border to check passports. We thought about stuffing Jessie in a suitcase and smuggling her across the border, but since we had a photocopy of Jessie's passport with us, and she had a student ID card from Galway, we decided to take our chances and try to explain it at the border rather than lose time returning to Galway. It turns out that there were no checkpoints when we crossed the border. In fact, the only way we knew we had crossed the border was the speed limit changed to "mph" and the prices were listed in British pounds. The other big difference we immediately noticed was how much better the roads became. We now know which country has more money to spend on roads. Jessie had heard that Northern Ireland was far behind the Republic in infrastructure because of the civil war that had ravaged the area for so many years. What we found was just the opposite...Northern Ireland, at least the part we saw, was much farther ahead of the Republic. We figure it must be the same reason that we in the South want the Yankees to think that we are still backward...because if they find out how great it is, they will move down and stay!

Anyway, I digress. We finally reach the B&B about 7:30pm and check in. It is a lovely old farm house just outside of Ballycastle, a small fishing and farming community on the northern coast of County Antrim. The B&B is still a working farm with horses and sheep. There are rooms in the main house, but we stayed in the family room which was upstairs in the old stone barn. The barn had been converted to a guesthouse with several bedrooms, a kitchen and a TV room. Breakfast was still served in the main house. After unloading the car, we drove down the hill to Ballycastle and parked next to the harbor. Pam ordered a pizza while I got some shots of the harbor with Fair Head in the distance. We ate the pizza at a picnic table in the park next to the harbor, looking out over the beach and down toward Fair Head. The sun was out and there was a cool breeze was one of our best meals in Ireland even though it was just pizza. After we finished eating, we jumped in the car to head down the coast toward the Giant's Causeway. We got about half way there when we came upon a car park with a wonderful view of Fair Head, Rathlin Island and some big rocks sticking up out of the ocean. I managed to get some sunset shots as the sun disappeared, but the best shots were of the Rathlin Island being partially enveloped by fog. We drove a bit farther, but only got as far as White Park Bay before it started getting dark. We decided to turn around and head back to the B&B. The Giant's Causeway will have to wait until tomorrow.

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