Northern Ireland Weekend Trip – Austin Scheerer

26 Nov

Our weekend trip to Northern Ireland: Belfast and Derry

Friday: Dublin to Belfast

Weather: Meh. similar to the day at the Cliffs of Moher

We left for Belfast around 10 or 11 and made our way up to Belfast, getting there around 1:30 or so. We dropped our stuff off at the hotel and went out to get lunch. After lunch, we had a political tour of Belfast during The Troubles (1960s – 1998). We had two tour guides over the course of the 2ish hour tour. The tour company uses people who were actually involved in the conflict, I.E. IRA members. Our first guide was almost insane and I actually mean insane. He referred to the Potato Famine in the mid 1800s as “The Genocide”(claiming that the British started it to get rid of the Irish), compared the British to the Ku Klux Klan and also compared the conflict in Northern Ireland to the Israel-Palestine conflict (which actually made a little bit of sense). He was crazy. He ALSO claimed to be in the “good part” of the IRA, meaning he was just political and not actually out there fighting and bombing but I’m not sure if anyone believed him. Our second guide was much more mellow and fact oriented, despite having spent 10 years in prison for either murder or attempted murder. I can’t quite remember. We stopped at the peace wall, a giant wall/fence separating the protestant side of Belfast from the Catholic side. It’s covered in peace graffiti and names and stuff, which the authorities encourage. We tried writing our names on the wall but it was too wet to do so. We went back to the hotel, had dinner and most people went out to see the night life of Belfast. I stayed in and watched Doctor Who.

Saturday: Belfast to Derry

Weather: Meh to Beautiful

We woke up, left the hotel and left for the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, the Giant’s Causeway and Derry. This was the best day of the entire weekend. we drove along Northern Irish coastline that is riddled with cliffs and stuff. We had to walk from the parking lot to the rope bridge and it’s little island. It was about a 20 minute walk along cliffs. It was really cool, but the bridge itself was terrifying. It wasn’t that long, 20m/66ft, but being able to see through the bottom was pretty scary in addition to the fact that it was 98ft above the water. The island of Carrickarede was basically just a really big volcanically formed rock.  On the far end, we were able to climb (SAFELY) down to the waterline. That was really cool. Unfortunately, my camera died before I could take any pictures, so I don’t have many of where we were able to go. I climbed up and went back to the bus after a while. We then went to a small inn/bed and breakfast/hotel thing for lunch. The weather was really nice at this point. It was sunny and warm. I also discovered that I really like chicken salad sandwiches. Who knew? 

After lunch, we went to the Giant’s Causeway, a landmass made of volcanically formed hexagonal stones. Ancient legend said it was created by Fionn McCool, an Irish giant and hero. It was said to be a bridge from Scotland to Ireland, but was destroyed in a fight between Fionn and another giant. It was one of the coolest places I’ve ever been to. You could also barely see Scotland on the horizon which was pretty incredible.

 Afterwards, we drove to our hotel in Derry, where virtually the same thing as Belfast happened. I watched a movie and everyone went to find a pub and drink too much. Or maybe they didn’t. I don’t usually do those kinds of things.

Sunday: Derry to Dublin

Weather: Sunny

We woke up and embarked on a walking tour of Derry. There are a ton of murals on the sides of buildings here and they were all explained to us by our tour guide. Most of them had to do with the South vs North conflict. We also were inside the city walls of the original settlement/fortress back in the day. We ended the tour in a small museum dedicated to The Troubles. They had gas masks, banners, unexploded (and empty) molotov cocktails, rubber bullets and similar things. After the museum, we walked back to the hotel and got lunch before we returned to Dublin.

Another good weekend, but I liked Galway more because of the landscapes and stuff. Call me a tourist, but I enjoyed seeing the Giant’s Causeway, Aran Islands and similar places more than the political tours.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: