Belfast

Sunny and coolish

Today started slowly – we had booked a taxi tour for 11am so we took it easy, and I blogged and we took time to do quiet things.

The taxi tour is about the political history of Ireland, Belfast, Britain.

 I never really understood what the conflict in Belfast was about. Finally we understand! Dermott outlined what happened and where it is today. Black Taxi Tour included Shankill Road and Falls Road to see the murals of the troubles that occurred here. We saw the infamous Peaceline, a wall built to keep Nationalists and Loyalists apart and in the process divided the communities. Also, the women who were involved in the troubles – separate from the men.

We went to the Eileen Hickey Irish Republican History Museum. https://eileenhickeymuseum.com

Some tension remains but most people just want to get on with their lives peacefully.

The themes of most of the murals is human rights. The catholics support the Palestinians and the Protestants support the Israelis. The women who were imprisoned during the troubles used large handkerchiefs with notes written on them like letters from their loved ones who visited them. There are numerous examples in the Women’s museum.

A replica of a prison cell from the prison in Armagh – with a genuine door and bed from the prison
The image on the left wall is a handkerchief signed by all the women in the prison. There is a folder full of examples with messages of hope and later political messages from the outside to the prisoners.
From the door to her cell.

A very enlightening and very thought provoking tour. Glad we did it.

Wild and Woolly in Ireland

Dublin to Belfast

We grabbed our car and headed north towards Howth 12 miles away – a fishing village. They take their fishing seriously in Howth (pronouced like growth)

It’s a lovely village on a hill down to the sea with charming stores and classic churches.

On the pier where the boats were moored, restaurants were unstacking their chairs at the numerous tables outside, in a very optimistic fashion. Twenty tables at one place on a day like this during the week?? Must be a lot of fish eaters around.

Next, we headed further north along the coast and saw some really stormy seas. There was a fisherman out about 750 metres from the shore. Must be either pretty keen or some fairly fantastic seafood to catch to endure the conditions today!

Wild weather
Fishing? Really??

We stopped for morning tea in a lovely town called Malahide – it was raining and windy and cold so it was obviously time to eat.

Once inside, a woman, about my age at the next table, commented on how horrible the weather was. I agreed and she picked up my accent and said – “Oh, you’re a visitor, I’m sorry..” meaning you don’t want to talk to me about it – it was funny, and we did continue to talk about the weather and Malahide and what a great place to live it was. She then said and its the 1st of October (the significance of the date to her didn’t mean anything to me, however I did say) – and it’s my birthday – at which point she said ohhh, smiled and put out her hand to shake mine. It was a lovely moment. People can be so nice.
We continued along the coast through Malahide and found some stupid young men (my assumption) fighting to right a windsurfer. Two in the water and one coming to help. Again – if you’re strong enough I guess the conditions could be fun, maybe.

The tide is out on a windy day
Love the worn paint on this fence.
My version of the Mary McAleese Boyne Valley Bridge – different day – great effect lol.
Mary McAleese Boyne Valley Bridgehttps://www.irelandbeforeyoudie.com/irelands-most-iconic-bridges/

We travelled the A1 for most of the journey north until we reached Newry. The significance of this city is that its just over the border into Northern Ireland and my great-great grandmother, as a 12 year old, Anne Simpson came from here as a free settler and travelled to Sydney, Australia by ship.

Newry marked in black circle.

Spent a little time in Newry looking around and found the town hall and a lovely bridge over the river Newry. Newry River passes through the city of Newry and empties into Carlingford Lough near Warrenpoint.

George Preston High Class Florist
Armagh Down Bridge over Newry river
Mudamurphy Bridge and Town Hall

We had lunch in Newry at a fun place with a huge menu of very interesting food. The place was Art Bar Funkel run by Aiden and Sinead @ 3 Monaghan St, Newry BT35 6BB. Recommended.

Food was hot, tasty and fast and the staff lovely and friendly.

Dublin, Ireland

We have a White Toyota Corolla Hybrid and its great. GPS included.

We have been here for about 36 hours and we have covered a fair bit of ground. We collected our hire car at the airport from the very efficient staff at #Sixt. They have a hire car compound 2 mins from the airport so after we did our paperwork we went downstairs and turned left and found the very large shuttlebus to take us to our car.

I have found our experiences of Ireland and the people here to be all positive – even the rain doesn’t matter when you are prepared for it.

Monument of Light – O’Connell Street, Dublin

The Dublin Spire is a stainless steel monument measuring 121.2 metres in height. Designed by Ian Ritchie and completed in 2003 and is the tallest sculpture in the world. Located where Nelson’s Pillar once stood which was destroyed in an IRA bombing in 1966. Info taken from Where Cards.

O’Connell Street

We walked a total of 5.5 kms yesterday and for the second half of the walk we were rained on. The rain gear held up well, but there was a little water in a sock or two by the end of the day.

The Luas – Tram we used to get to town and back. Fantastic, efficient. Wikipedia

We had lunch at the Wynn Hotel in Abbey Street after we left the tram. Then looked at some shops in Abbey St and O’Connell. Lots to buy.

We wandered all over the place first towards Temple Bar and were given the heads up about a tea place in the area called Queen of Tarts. We loved it.

We walked all over the place and managed not to get lost, and just enjoyed the buildings and sculptures and happened upon Molly Malone.

I have enjoyed the cobblestones as long as its not raining – slippery and the all the pubs with their brightly coloured hanging flowers. So lovely and fresh.

Then we turned left to go over the bridge towards Grafton St. Beautiful shops – all the labels. Then we went to St Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre but not for long – was just on a mission to replace my phone case which was falling apart.

Tomorrow we are off to Belfast and places on the way.