Ireland 2019

Northern Ireland, the Atlantic coast near Giant's Causeway

Northern Ireland, the Atlantic coast near Giant's Causeway

Because we had so thoroughly enjoyed our 2018 trip to Ireland, we decided an encore was in order. This time, we went for three nights only. We flew to Dublin on September 9, 2019, took the bus to the city center, and immediately checked into our hotel. As we didn't get there until late afternoon, there was not much time for us to do anything except have dinner and take a digestive walk down to the river Liffey. We spent the whole next day wandering through Dublin, from the Garden of Remembrance diagonally across the street from where we were staying to the Liffey, into the Temple Bar district, through St Stephen's Green, on to Trinity College campus, and finally back to our hotel for some rest. In the evening, we walked to "The Church", a house of worship converted into a restaurant featuring Irish music and step dancing. Food and entertainment were excellent, but as we had to get up very early the next morning (we had booked a thirteen-hour tour to Northern Ireland) we walked back to our hotel at a reasonable hour.

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Dublin

Looking across the river Liffey around 8:30 in the evening The Garden of Remembrance

Looking across the river Liffey around 8:30 in the evening

The Garden of Remembrance


Strolling down O'Connell Street Passing the Dublin General Post Office

Strolling down O'Connell Street

Passing the Dublin General Post Office


Along the banks of the river Liffey The Ha'penny Bridge

Along the banks of the river Liffey

The Ha'penny Bridge


The Temple Bar pub Trinity Bar Venue O'Neills Pub & Kitchen

The Temple Bar pub

Trinity Bar Venue

O'Neills Pub & Kitchen


The Molly Malone statue on Suffolk Street Florist on Grafton Street

The Molly Malone statue on Suffolk Street

Florist on Grafton Street


Strolling along the water in St Stephen's Green In St Stephen's Green

Strolling along the water in St Stephen's Green

In St Stephen's Green


Trinity College campus "Sphere Within Sphere" sculpture

Trinity College campus

"Sphere Within Sphere" sculpture


Campus façade The Trinity Business School behind the much older Botany building

Campus façade

The Trinity Business School behind the much older Botany building


Trinity Business School façade Students relaxing in College Park

Trinity Business School façade

Students relaxing in College Park


New Square on Trinity College campus Irish music at "The Church"

New Square on Trinity College campus

Irish music at "The Church". (Video clip: see and hear them play!)

Belfast

On September 11, our bus to Northern Ireland left at 7 a.m. Making just one pit stop on the highway, we arrived in Belfast around 9:30 in the morning. A few of us stayed on the bus to go to the Titanic museum, but most were split up into smaller groups for a black cab political tour through some of the more famous (or infamous) neighborhoods of Northern Ireland's capital. This was an eye-opener for us! We had no idea that tensions still ran this high in Belfast. Jason, our Irish driver and tour guide, explained some of the history to us, going to great lengths to make us see things from the other side as well. Barbed wire fences still separate problem areas, and certain roads that connect sensitive neighborhoods are closed at night with huge gates. We visited the International Wall, Sinn Féin headquarters, beautiful Clonard Monastery church, and some other sites before our driver took us to the Titanic museum were we joined the other people from our group for the continuation of the tour.


Our first Belfast stop: The International Wall The murals are changed frequently

Our first Belfast stop: The International Wall

The murals are changed frequently


The surprisingly unassuming Sinn Féin headquarters Bobby Sands mural on the side of the Sinn Féin headquarters

The surprisingly unassuming Sinn Féin offices

Bobby Sands mural on the side of the Sinn Féin offices


The Clonard Monastery... ...where the peace talks leading to the... ...Good Friday agreement were conducted.

The Clonard Monastery...

...where the peace talks leading to the...

...Good Friday agreement were conducted.


Bombay Street, sadly famous because of the 1969 Northern Ireland riots The Clonard Martyrs Memorial Garden

Bombay Street, sadly famous because of the 1969 Northern Ireland riots

The Clonard Martyrs Memorial Garden

Giant's Causeway

Before arriving at the Giant's Causeway visitor center, our bus stopped on what seemed like a precariously narrow road so we could get a good view (and photo!) of the ruins of medieval Dunluce Castle. By necessity (our bus was in everyone's way), this was a very quick stop. Less than half an hour later, we were at the Giant's Causeway. There are some scientific theories that attempt to explain the geological oddity of the place, but frankly, we enjoyed the Irish legends that, though clearly not quite as believable, provided more entertaining answers. We walked all the way down to the sea shore and back, and the scenery was phenomenal. We were also very fortunate with the weather as the photographs on this page readily attest. The visitor center was the place were we were encouraged to buy whatever food and drink we thought we needed for the rest of the day. It was also the only time on this trip that we had to deal with a foreign currency. When traveling in Europe, one gets used to open borders and the convenience of a single currency!


Dunluce Castle The Atlantic Coast by Giant's Causeway

Dunluce Castle

The Atlantic Coast by Giant's Causeway


Near Giant's Causeway Rock formations

Near Giant's Causeway

Rock formations


And always, there is a great deal of green The two people on top provide a sense of scale

And always, there is a great deal of green

The two people on top provide a sense of scale


Red basaltic prisms The Giant's Causeway

Red basaltic prisms

The Giant's Causeway

By the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

Other than a bathroom break on the way back to Dublin, this was our last stop on this all-day tour. We had been warned that the way down to the bridge was a bit iffy, but we had left the possibility open to make it all the way down and across. From the parking lot, we walked the twenty minutes or so the part where one heads down to the bridge; looking at the fairly steep steps made from boulders of varying sizes, we decided that we would leave well enough alone and forego this last bit. It is true that by now, we were a bit tired, and the steps really did look uneven... Today, I regret this decision (I think), because as things are, we didn't even get to see the bridge. Many people on the bus actually made it to the bridge and across, so I guess we would have been fine. Be that as it may, our bus left around 4:30 in the afternoon, and we were back on O'Connell street in Dublin before eight, exactly on schedule. This was a great day: the difficult political history and situation of Belfast combined with some wonderful Northern Irish landscapes... A totally enjoyable Wild Rover Tour with our excellent tour guide Kim who educated and entertained us and perfect driver Damian who kept us safe and riding smoothly.


Looking toward Rathlin Island, Northern Island's northernmost point The steps leading down to the rope bridge

Looking toward Rathlin Island, Northern Island's northernmost point

The steps leading down to the rope bridge


On the way back to the parking lot The gorgeous Atlantic coast

On the way back to the parking lot

The gorgeous Atlantic coast


The view to the east with Rathlin Island in the far distance The view to the west with Sheep Island

The view to the east with Rathlin Island in the far distance

The view to the west with Sheep Island


The photos and video clips on this page were taken between September 9 and 11, 2019 with our Fujifilm X-T30.




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