Belfast

We are enjoying Northern Ireland – though wish the weather was better! We took a tour around Belfast and then a tour out to the Giant’s Causeway – both were interesting but a little disappointing.

The tour of Belfast highlights a city recovering from the turmoil of the ‘Troubles’ but I have to say that to us it appears, despite words to the contrary from the bus drivers,  as though the troubles are lurking close beneath the surface. As we went down the Falls Road and then The Shankhill Road, famous streets for sectarian violence, there were flags and murals on display – and being kept up to date – announcing the desire to break away from the UK – or to remain within it. I have to say that the Loyalists with all their Union Jacks and Red White and Blue emblazoned everywhere were far more in your face than the Republicans. Why on earth they can’t all just let it go is beyond me, but with fervent flag waving like this, I fear it would be very easy for a careless match to start the fight all over again. Meanwhile, Belfast is a thriving city and there does seem to be harmony within the general population. It’s clearly just a minority of ijits that have and always will carry on the stupidity. OK, political posturing over!

The trip to the Causeway was interesting with a fun driver giving us an amusing (if somewhat constant!) commentary on everything out the window as we travelled along the coastal road (the long way). We stopped at Carrickfergus to look at the castle – though Laurie and I checked out the marina instead! We stopped at the ‘Rope Bridge’ – a robust swing bridge so we didn’t even bother going over! Then we went to the Bushmills Whiskey site – and didn’t buy any Whiskey!

Finally we made it to the Giant’s Causeway. It’s an interesting place, but having already been to Fingal’s Cave in Scotland (Isle of Staffa), the Giant’s Causeway is certainly a disappointment in comparison. The rock formations – which are very interesting – are not as extensive or as well defined as those on Staffa. We had a good walk while there however – in spite of the bloody weather.

Yesterday afternoon we took a walk around and found some delightful entertainment – an award winning walled garden that was an absolute delight, a very nice park with hugely diverse tree species and then came upon a crown bowling green – open to the public. So we paid our equipment rental fees and had ourselves our first game of full size (as opposed to carpet) Bowls. What an excellent game! A close fought game was finally concluded at 21:15!

Today, if the rain gives over we’ll take a ride on the tandem to Strangford Lough (pr Lock!) so that we can at least say we’ve been to the place (Marine Sanctuary). On Friday I take off for 2 weeks to India to earn a crust while Laurie remains aboard to make sure all systems are kept up and in working order! Friend Sandra arrives next week for a visit…

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