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

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Europe » United Kingdom » Northern Ireland » County Antrim » Belfast October 3rd 2019

We arrived late at night in Belfast, a city made famous because of it's turbulent past referred to by it’s people as “The Troubles.” Dennis had visited Belfast in the mid 90's and didn't have a chance to stay because of a car bombing that had occurred that day that scared off his travel companions, so he looked forward to finally returning. The troubles were primarily from 1968-1998 when 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 an independent and unified Ireland. There had been religious conflict between the Protestants and Catholics well before this time, but this is the period when armed conflict escalated and British troops were deployed to Northern Ireland and over 300 miles of ... read more
Loyalist neighborhood in Derry
Dunluce castle.

Europe » United Kingdom » Northern Ireland » County Antrim » Belfast August 29th 2019

Up at 6:45. Another terrific buffet breakfast at the hotel. The hotel breakfasts are mostly in line with similar offerings around the world, but there are a few different things. "Black and white pudding" consists of hard salty cakes, some black, some white; not a favourite. "Scuffins" are a cross between scones and muffins, and they are delicious. The bread is fabulous. At the porridge station proudly stands a bottle of Bushmill's for garnishing your cereal. How civilized. We board the coach for a city tour of Belfast and meet our new driver, David. (Darius was assigned to another tour.) Our first stop is Belfast City Hall. This turns out to be the grandest, most opulent city hall I have ever seen. Built in 1906 to celebrate the city's new prosperity stemming from the industrial revolution, ... read more
Looking down the grand staircase
Stained-glass window
Mayor for a day!

Europe » United Kingdom » Northern Ireland » County Antrim » Belfast August 28th 2019

We're up at what the Irish call "half seven"; i.e., 7:30. Excellent buffet breakfast at the hotel, then on to the coach. (Tony is very insistent that we are riding on a coach, not a bus.) We met our driver, Darius, briefly yesterday. He's Polish and seems to enjoy our ability to carry out simple conversations in Polish. We head north, paralleling the Irish coast, although the sea is not often in sight. It's about 20ºC and overcast but the forecasted rain has happily not materialized. The Irish countryside is beautiful, a patchwork quilt of various shades of green that mark the boundaries between farms, crops, and mountainous areas. The rolling hills in the distance are reminiscent of the Gatineau. Stucco and brick houses predominant. Many of the homes boast lovingly planned and maintained gardens. Tony ... read more
Exhibit in D'Arcy McGee Museum
Irish countryside
Cemetery where St. Patrick is buried with town in distance

Europe » United Kingdom » Northern Ireland » County Antrim » Belfast August 20th 2019

We hopped a train from Dublin with an Irishman named David and headed north today. What a gloriously, delicious day it was, Again we were pretty lucky, because like a ding-dong I had purchased the tickets with the intention of trying to get the right weather day to do this tour. Duh, there is no right weather day in Ireland, it rains, the sun shines, it rains, and the glorious sun shines. So, I prompted Kerry to get on with it and we grabbed a taxi and headed to the train station at 6:15 a.m. 😳 only to find out when we met David, our tour guide, that I had made the reservation for the following day...yep. Luckily, David was able to squeeze us in with new friends, Kaylynn and her daughter Samma (Samantha) from Utah, ... read more
Carrickfergus Castle and King Kerry :)
Carrickfergus Castle
The Causeway.


On a visit to Belfast, we visited the Titanic Building and the Titanic Studios Belfast where Game of thrones series segments are produced. Also shown the World Residence cruise ship and HMS Caroline. We are expecting 150 cruise ships into Belfast port this year.... read more
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Je prendrai l'avion pour la ville. Je visiterai la ville et la mairie. Je visiterai le musée titanique. Je visiterai la première place d'une attaque de l'IRA.... read more
 Musée Titanique


“It takes a great deal of courage to see the world in all its tainted glory, and still to love it.” - Oscar Wilde We started the day sleeping in until 8:30 (!), followed by a delicious breakfast at the Bullitt Hotel restaurant. I has the veggie Irish (poached eggs, grilled halloumi cheese, mushrooms, potatoes, grilled peppers, tomato chutney, and sourdough toast), and Susan had the full Irish (poached eggs, mushrooms, sausages, bacon, black pudding, white pudding, and sourdough toast). Yumm. Well fortified for the day, we headed to the Ulster Museum, a nice smallish museum near Queen’s University. We visited the exhibit on the Troubles, which was well done, then explored the history floor, which encompassed Irish history from the Bronze Age to modern times, which was very informative. I enjoyed the small Egyptian exhibit, ... read more
Susan’s full Irish
Ulster Museum - GOT woven throne
Ulster Museum - the GOT dragons


‘May brooks and trees and singing hills join in the chorus too, and every gentle wind that blows send happiness to you.” - Irish proverb We started the day with the boxed breakfast Bullitt’s delivers to your room, which consisted of orange juice, granola and yoghurt, and a banana. There are coffee and tea making fixings in the room, plus a bottle of milk in the fridge, so we were all set. Our stay includes a hot breakfast in the restaurant, but we decided this morning just to have the smaller breakfast. It was plenty for us and we decided we‘d rather have a more relaxing morning in the room and not bother going to the restaurant. We headed off about 8:30 and walked to the meeting place for our day tour to the Giant’s Causeway, ... read more
Belfast streets
The Europa Hotel
The Europa Hotel


“Sinking head down. Come soon as possible.” Titanic to Olympic, 1:10 am, April 15, 1912 We enjoyed our last breakfast at the Anchor House B&B in Dublin this morning. Both Susan and I had poached eggs on toast with beans. I’ve had more eggs and beans the last while than I’ve had for a long time 😀. We left just before 9 am and walked about 10 minutes in the rain to Connolly train station, where we entered the code into the machines and got our tickets for the train to Belfast (we had booked the train tickets online). After a short while we boarded our train and found our seats. Most of the seating is laid out with four seats facing each other, with a table in between. A sweet older couple from Newry, Northern ... read more
Belfast streets
Lunch
Me enjoying my Harp lager


Tourism in Northern Ireland has a lot to offer and has come on in leaps and bounds in the last few years. The natural splendours of the North Antrim Coast – Giants Causeway, Dunluce Castle et al – take some beating in the scenery stakes. However, I probably won’t be the first to comment that some of the highlights of any trip to Belfast are based on the less obvious attractions of a ship that hit an iceberg and sunk and 30 odd years of civil unrest. If you look at a map of Belfast, you see division. I say that specifically in terms of the road geography. The M1 motorway sweeps in from one direction and the M2 from another. They are linked by what is known as the Westlink, which physically cuts off West ... read more
Botanic Gardens
Northumberland Street, West Belfast
Shankill Road, West Belfast




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