Blogs from Northern Ireland, United Kingdom, Europe

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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


The rooster crows each morning with the first light. He has a distinct sound that pierces the cold morning air and the stone walls of the barn we call home. He will not stop until we give up on our dreams and the warmth of our thick blankets and start our day. The dogs come to the glass kitchen door when they see us turn on the light. We name them Scruffy and Old Tom and they don't seem to care what we call them as long we give them treats. After a couple of days, we decide it is okay if they come into the house. The painted cement floors of the barn have permanently embedded dog prints so the owner must have been alright with them entering at one time. Scruffy knows where we ... read more
Mussenden Temple
Dunluce Castle
The Dark Hedges


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


The Other Half had checked her step counter and decided I had walked her too far the previous day. It was not Barcelona mileage, but she reckoned that over 9 miles was pushing it a bit far on her dodgy foot. She insisted a bus day ticket was the order of the day. I checked the timetables. Buses early on a Sunday morning were best described as sparse, but we intercepted a 7 on the way into the city centre. I purchased our 2 all day tickets at £4 each. The plan was to link with one of the shiny new Glider buses that ferry folk across the city, with a view to arriving at the Titanic Experience around opening time. We were ahead of schedule and the G2 didn't start running until 9:30 am, but ... read more
Titanic Experience, Belfast
Titanic Experience, Belfast
Titanic Experience, Belfast


The last time I was in Northern Ireland was in 2001. I used to travel there at least half a dozen times a year on business and had done so for the previous 10 years. At the time, my work colleagues had tried to avoid any visits there and after my recruitment, it soon became "my area". We had grown up watching news of "The Troubles" and despite the heavy duty military presence and constant security alerts, I enjoyed pretty much every trip. I can recall everybody always telling me to be "careful" and the employer recommendation was to overnight away from Belfast. I soon dispensed with that idea. I was often in some form of perceived danger, but mostly through overdosing on Guinness. I thought I had seen all the good, the bad and the ... read more
Salmon of Knowledge, Belfast
Dee Street, Belfast
Scottish Provident Building, Belfast

Europe » United Kingdom » Northern Ireland » County Down » Belfast October 19th 2018

Friday October 19 - After breakfast, we headed out to Belfast and arrived by 11:30am. It’s only 90 minutes away by highway. We parked in the apartment complex where we’d be staying, and walked into town from there, which took about 40 minutes. Belfast has a complex and somewhat violent recent past (think Bloody Sunday, where 14 unarmed civil rights protesters were shot by the British Army), but I was surprised at how many murals painted walls of buildings we passed by, alluding to not forgetting what had happened. It did not feel like a city at peace. We walked around downtown during the day, then took a free tour of city hall that happened to start when we arrived at 3pm. Next we headed over to a nearby mall to look at the building, discovered ... read more
Belfast Mural
Memorial
Belfast Mural

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




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