Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Northern Ireland and beyond

We spent the afternoon driving from Dublin to Belfast and exploring country roads.  Driving around Ireland is an adventure with small roads that should be one lane, but are two,  and speed limits that should be 60kph but instead are 100kph.  Baxter adapted well and none of it phased him.  I frequently used the Irish phrase "Go Mall" (slowing please).

We crossed the border from the Republic of Ireland into Northern Ireland which is in the UK.  The speeds changed from kilometers per hour to miles per hour, the flags changed to the Union Jack and the money changed from Euros to Pounds. Other than that, it looked the same.  A nice shout out to Kala here as this is her 19th country!!

Belfast is a beautiful city on the River Lagan.  It became a city in 1888 and when the Irish voted for freedom in 1922, Northern Ireland which was mostly settled by descendants of protestant Scots (remember from the Battle of Kinsale blog) decided to stay with England, separating the country into two areas, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.  There is a huge tangent that we can go into about the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the time period known as "The Troubles" where the Northern Irish continued to fight for independence from Great Britain.  However, a peace agreement was signed in 1998 called "The Good Friday Agreement" to end the violence.  As we drove through small villages and talked to locals, there still seemed to be a reluctance to acknowledge an affinity towards the UK, but the area was definitely safe and everyone went about their day just as they would in NYC.

We had an amazing dinner in Belfast at Ginger Bistro and woke up the next morning to get a quick look at the Titanic Quarter.  Though the Titanic's home port was Liverpool, The White Star Line shipyard actually built the ship here in Belfast in 1909.  The exhibits at the Titanic Quarter aincluded the slipway where it was launched as well as an entire museum about every last detail of the ship.  Again, Kala wasn't allowed in the museum but we had fun walking around and experiencing everything Titanic.

We had a full day of driving ahead of us so we were off to Giant's Causeway.  The rugged north coast of Ireland is beautiful and wild.  We spent a few days driving on the coastal roads, wandering through small towns, eating in local pubs and finding beaches for Kala to run and play.  We had a couple more places to check out in Ireland (Republic of) so we turned south and headed to the west coast.
Welcome to Northern Ireland
Pretty Motorway

Beal Feirste - Belfast
Roadside picnic - with a view
Welcome to the United Kingdom 
The slipway the Titanic was launched on 
Titanic layout
Launching the Titanic
Big Euro buses
Lots of filming in pretty cool places
In the spot where the duel took place
Hidden cave at Carreck-a-Rede

Inside the cave
Happy girl loves touring around Ireland
Irish cliffs
"Guess what??  I found a nice long beach, Mom"
Pretty sheer, watch your step
Giant's Causeway - a very cool place but too many tourists for us.  We took the high road to get away from the people.
Another boat on dry out to clean the bottom

Running as fast as she can

Found an Irish coconut
Our view from our AirBnb in Templeboy, Ireland
No way will I be sleeping with sheep
Fishtraps ready to go - a sailor's bane
Getting her feet wet in the Celtic Sea

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