Blogs from County Antrim, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom, Europe

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Europe » United Kingdom » Northern Ireland » County Antrim October 18th 2018

Thursday October 18 - We had breakfast again at the house before leaving. All of the airbnbs that we’ve stayed at on this trip have offered breakfast - some cooked and some continental, but all were lovely. Today we finished the Antrim coast drive. We headed first to nearby Dunluce castle to take a peek, and then to Portrush to look around. Next we headed to Whiterocks beach. We ate some chips in the car for lunch and then walked over to Downhill Demesne and Mussenden Temple. I’m glad we walked because it was pretty, and I think the site was closed, so I’m not sure we could have parked/entered from the front. The Demesne is an old large house that is in ruins now, after maybe 60 years of being unoccupied. The Temple was built ... read more
Dunluce Castle
Dunluce Castle (old town square)
Dunluce Castle

Europe » United Kingdom » Northern Ireland » County Antrim October 17th 2018

Wednesday October 17 - Today we went to the Giant’s Causeway. It’s a large area of interlocking basalt columns that date to about 60 million years ago, formed from a volcanic eruption. The columns are large and hexagonal, which looks really cool. We decided to do a five mile coastal hike to get there. We parked at the ruins of Dunseverick Castle and hiked in. The hike was beautiful, but it was a little cold and got windy at times. The weather was a little nuts - cold, windy, rainy, hot, sunny...We thought it would take 2-3 hours to get there, based on what our host told us, but it was more like 90 minutes. It was quite cloudy when we got there, and it almost just started to rain, but then it cleared up quite ... read more
Photo bomb
Coastal hike
Coastal hike

Europe » United Kingdom » Northern Ireland » County Antrim October 16th 2018

Tuesday October 16 - Didn’t sleep very well and had to get up at 5am to get ready for the flight. We got to the car rental return around 6am, a little nervous that there would be problems, after our hideous pick-up in Bristol. But it was very easy and they drove us a few others back to the airport without any problems. We checked in with Easyjet, dropped off our bag and found a place to sit down. Our flight was at 8:45 so we were a bit early. We ate our sandwiches and played around on wifi. My computer had been acting up, and I was very worried it would die, but it still worked, even if it took a few failed attempts to get it going. The flight boarded before they even really ... read more
Carrickfergus castle
On top of castle
Gulls

Europe » United Kingdom » Northern Ireland » County Antrim » Belfast September 24th 2018

So we arrived in Belfast this morning. After brekky we did a load of washing and then relaxed and read our books, being interrupted by the butler who was concerned about which shoes Tom was wearing to tonight’s formal dinner, and could he give them a clean, which he duly did. We had been given a choice of shore excursions but I was still grieving for the west coast ports we are missing out on and hadn’t been tempted by them. Tom wanted to go to the Titanic museum, whereas I didn’t like the idea of going to a sunken ship museum when I was on a cruise! So after an early lunch Tom went ashore on his excursion while I had a nap and did some sewing and reading. While he was out we received ... read more
I didn’t eat all of that!

Europe » United Kingdom » Northern Ireland » County Antrim » Belfast August 30th 2018

Was able to sleep in a bit this morning, which was nice. I had booked a black cab tour and was being picked up at 10am. My driver, John, arrived on time and we set off in his black cab. The purpose of the tour today was to get a better understanding of what the people of Belfast call "The Troubles" and to visit some of the locations that have become synonymous with this period in their history. Our first stop was on Falls Rd to see the International Wall and John explained where all the angst began. We are commonly told it was a fight between Catholics and Protestants but the conflict was primarily political and nationalistic, fuelled by historical events. The Unionists/loyalists, who were mostly Protestants, wanted Northern Ireland to remain within the United ... read more
Various heros from the Nationalists
Not a boy band .....
Another mural that speaks against the British

Europe » United Kingdom » Northern Ireland » County Antrim » Belfast August 29th 2018

I was collected from just around the corner from my hotel at 8:15 for the Game of Thrones tour. Here was me thinking I was lucky and was the only person in the tour! Not to be - this guy just drove me to the head office of Irish Tours so I could join up with the group - of 50 other people lol. Once everyone was on board, we were on our way. Our tour guide's name was Sharleen and she had been an extra in Season 6. She was a wildling that hadn't yet turned into a white walker so spent most of her time just lying on the ground haha. She did advise that it would be hard to meet someone in Belfast that wasn't somehow involved in Game of Thrones! The drive ... read more
The stairs Arya crawled up
Arya in Carnlough Harbour
The Stormlands leading to the cave

Europe » United Kingdom » Northern Ireland » County Antrim » Belfast August 28th 2018

After breakfast I checked out of my hotel slightly prior to 9am and then walked for about 15 minutes to the train station. My train was departing at 9:30am so I had enough time to grab a coffee. The trip took 2 and 1/2 hours and I arrived in Dublin Heuston station at 11:55am. I then made my way out to the Luas (lightrail) for 25 minute trip to Dublin Connolly station. My train to Belfast wasn't departing until 1:20pm so I had time to have some lunch at the station. After lunch I decided to use the bathroom at the cafe but when I went to unlock the stall, I couldn't get the door to open. I tried turning the small knob many times but nothing happened. There was no where to grip either the ... read more
200+ years of history - gone
The big blue fish
Sister ship of the Titanic


We arrived early in the morning in Belfast, Northern Ireland (pronounced Norn Iron by the locals), a city with a turbulent past referred to by it’s people as “The Troubles.” The troubles were primarily from 1968-1998 when horrendous bombings and assassinations occurred between the Protestant “Loyalists” who were supportive of a British controlled Northern Ireland, and the Catholic IRA “Republicans” who were supportive of a free and unified Ireland. There has been religious conflict between the Protestants and Catholics well before this time, but this is the period when armed conflict was escalated and a wall was built to keep Nationalists and Loyalists apart known as the “peace wall.” These walls divided communities and peoples many believe exacerbated the problems. Our incredible BnB host Walter (favorite host and accommodation ever, and Mom’s crush even with... read more
The Peace wall
Showing our respect
One of countless memorials


Consecutive weekends found us in Scotland, Wales and then Northern Ireland, with England in between. I didn’t write a blog for any of the others but feel like Northern Ireland deserves one; it being on a different landmass and requiring a plane to get there. And if you agree with the republicans/nationalists/catholics and think the “Northern” in Northern Ireland should not be capitalised then I haven’t previously written a travelblog for Ireland so here it is. We only had a long weekend and hadn’t heard great things about Belfast so intended to spend most of the time on the Antrim Coast; which we had heard great things about. Seems we had heard wrong – Belfast was great. We were very fortunate with the weather and spent the day strolling about in the sunshine. St George’s Market ... read more
White Park Bay
Falls Road
Giant's Causeway


Ireland – Only for the Brave 4 2nd May 2018 Continuing the Grey Haired Nomads’ 2,200mile journey by motorhome, clockwise around Ireland The Giant's Causeway to Belfast Our overnight camp, only a few minutes from The Giant’s Causeway, gave us a fresh window of opportunity. Rising from our slumber at 06.05, we were showered, fed and ready to leave in watery sunshine by 07.00. By ten minutes past, we were kitted up in hats and waterproofs (rain was forecast for 9am), cameras charged, and through the arch at the side of the visitor centre before opening time. We could flash our National Trust membership cards in the car park later. Scattered cloud and an optimistic sun allowed for good light on the rocks and out across the crashing waves. This picture has been etched on our ... read more
The Giant's Causeway
Carrick-A-Rede bridge
Dark Hedges




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