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Northern Ireland

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    • Day 85

      CÚIG GHRIANGHRAF-Ireland Day 20

      July 7, 2022 in Northern Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

      We took the opportunity to explore the northern coast today after breakfast at our B&B. We woke up to another overcast day, but we held out hope that the weather forecast for sun later in the day would be accurate.

      Our first destination was Malin Head the northern most point on the Emerald Isle. At times the drive was a bit foggy which added to the navigation challenges along narrow roads.

      We enjoyed the overlook at Malin Head. The turquoise waves crashing over the rocks below along with the gulls dancing against the strong winds made for a great vista.

      Our next destination was to the Giant's Causeway. Jim C discovered that there was a ferry that would shorten the trip. We took the tiny Greencastle Ferry. The sun started to appear and it really "pops" the landscape. Ireland is beautiful during dreary weather, but it's quite a treat when the sun shows up for the day.

      On the way to Giant's Causeway we noticed an interesting structure on a cliff overlooking the ocean. We decided to pull over to explore the area. It turns out that this site is the Mussenden Temple and the Downhill Demesne (House). We entered the property through Bishop's Gate and we enjoyed our walk past the gardens and through the woods.

      The pasture gate opened to beautiful sloped grassy field reminiscent of Andrew Wythe's "Christina's World". The field revealed a mausoleum and the ruins of the Downhill House. The house was built in the late 1700's, and it was gutted by a fire a century later. The window structures framed a beautiful beach below as well as the Mussendem Temple, the structure overlooking the cliff that we noticed from the road.

      We left the grounds next and proceeded to Giant's Causeway. My reseach of this site is that the Causeway features of colums of hexagonal pillars was formed between 50 and 60 million years ago. The Causeway takes its name from the legends of the giant Finn MacCool. One could see how early explorers to this space would think that it was created by giants. The hexagonal basal rocks are estimated to have formed 6 million years ago by a flow of basaltic lava. As the lava cooled it formed these shapes.
      It really was quite spectacular and we enjoyed our walk in the area.

      After we left the Causeway, we headed back to Derry where we had a great Indian dinner. We enjoyed a beer at the Pub with a local acquaintance, and we called it a night. It was a really enjoyable exploration of the north coast.
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    • Day 86


      July 8, 2022 in Northern Ireland ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

      Today was a travel day to Belfast as we start to wind down our European journey with eight nights to go.

      Rather than taking a direct route, we decided to check out a few of the many Game of Thrones film locations. While we enjoyed the series, I think we were equally drawn to the unusual features and beauty of the locations.

      We passed by Binevagh, a beautiful mountain on the edge of County Derry. We had been in the area the day before, and it was fun to get another look at the mountain. This site was filmed as the mountain where Daenrys is rescued by her dragon and taken to his lair. Visitors can travel to the top of the mountain although we just appreciated it from the base.

      We passed by the beautiful Downhill Strand, a beautiful beach that we first saw yesterday franed from above through the window ruins of Downhill Dumesne. Melisandre burned the old gods on Dragonstone here.

      One of the sites that we were most interested in seeing was the Dark Hedge. The Dark Hedges is an avenue of large mature beech trees, which were planted around 1775 by James Stuart to frame an avenue to his home, Gracehill House. Originally there were about one hundred and fifty trees and about ninety still stand today. The tunnel image created by the trees is quite eerie and beautiful. I would have loved to have seem then with sunlight effects and in the evening.

      In GOT, the Dark Hedges were used as the "Kingsroad", the fictional road that traverses across the land of Westeros, from Kings Landing in the south to “The Wall” in the north.

      We learned that artists had created doors from the wood of fallen trees depicting GOT scenes. The doors are distributed around different pubs and other locales. One of the doors was supposed to be at the nearby gold course, but it had instead been moved to a nearby closed hotel, and not open to the public. I hope to see one of the doors as they are quite intricate. I joked that the area industry had failed to "HODOR"; a single utterance of a GOT character who could only say that as we later learned meant "Hold the door".

      Our final GOT destination was to Cushendum Caves, where Melisandre the witch gave birth to her "shadow baby" in an area portrayed as the Stormlands. It took us a few minutes to figure out the location of the caves which were located around the corner from two closed hotels. The caves were a little tricky to get down to over an eroded path, but it was worth seeing them. Someone has created a humorous Iron Throne out of a dilapidated armchair with swords protruding from the back. It conglomerate stone and erosion of the formations of the cave were spectacular. It must have been interesting to film here.

      We made our way to Belfast, and we were greeted by Kevin who is hosting us in his apartment for the next three nights. We are located about two miles outside of the center of the city. Belfast has about 350,000 people and it serves as the capital of Northern Ireland. It's the birthplace of C S. Lewis author of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" in his "Chronicles of Narnia" and its shipyards built the Titanic. It's also been the site of severe sectarian strife and violence in the early 1920's and also in during "The Troubles". In my early teens, I remember news about the viokence in Belfast, but I didn't really understand it. We are hoping to learn more about the city in our time here.

      After a nap, we made our way to C.S. Lewis Square to see a community concert. Enroute, we noticed many murals depicting fierce Protestant sentiment, not unlike the Catholic murals in Derry.

      We watched a community performance of a local fife and drum group, the Gertrude Star Flute Band; local choir and guest performers who are famous artists from the area. This performance was sponsored by an East Belfast Community organization.

      When we bought tickets for the performance, it was with little background about it. We thought that it would be interesting to see a community show, and we had listened to Spotify tracks of the featured performers, Matt McGinn and Duke Special. Matt reminded us of Pete Seeger as well of a community performance of sea shanties in coastal Maine where he joined the local community singers and dancers. Duke Special has a beautiful voice, and it was fun to hear him sing.

      The similarity of the coastal Maine performance and this one was the strong sense of community pride. But here there is also a sense of palpable anger, resentment and worry about losing a sense of identity. There was also an incongruous selection of songs: some held onto the grievances and loss of the past while others proposed peace and kindness. There were also a few that were very sentimental about returning to Belfast. And there were references to the 12th of July that we didn't understand until we looked it up.

      The 12th celebrates the victory of the Protestant King William of Orange over the Catholic King James in 1688. The day remains a holiday in Northern Ireland and is alternately known as Orangeman's Day. Over time, the day was often marked by violence, particularly during "The Troubles". In my research, it appears that there are some efforts to draw tourists with parades and family-friendly pageants.

      Our take on the evening in this one snapshot is that there is a very strongly held sectarian pride, and that battle remains to hold onto identity. Some still seem to be fighting a war of the 17th century. This is just how we're making sense of it as witnesses. And it's a point of reflection back home about our own schism and comparative narratives.
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    • Day 87

      CÚIG GHRIANGHRAF-Ireland Day 22

      July 9, 2022 in Northern Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

      We woke up to another overcast day, but we wanted to make time to wander around the city. We didn't have a specific destination as we've learned that our unplanned excursions have made for the best trips.

      We observed area art sculptures, including a series of colorful elephant sculptures that are designed as a fundraiser to support children's hospice.

      We were in search of lattes (yes, addicted) and we landed at a breakfast spot with sensory overload wall placards including a promotion for Maine Lobsters. While walking I approached a young man who was wearing a University of Washington sweatshirt, and I asked him if he was from Seattle. I think I startled him a bit as he was struggling with my accent, and I struggled a bit with his. He finally figured out that I was asking him about his sweatshirt, and that we had lived in Seattle. He remarked that he bought the sweatshirt for four quid and that it was easily worth 20£ now as a collector's item. He recommended that I try selling them here if I had any to spare. I guess I should think about retirement supplemental income schemes.

      As we continued our walk in the city, we briefly wandered through St. George's Market, the last covered Victorian Market in Belfast. It reminded us of a hybrid of Maine's Craft fairs and Seattle's Pike Place Market sans enthusiasm.

      In our continued walk in the city, we found City Hall, a grandiose structure with a statue of a dour Queen Victoria statue to greet us. We learned that City Hall was open and free to the public and we only had to provide surnames. The receptionist did not ask for mine, apparently Carroll was sufficient for double admission. He is from nobility after all.

      We first noticed several beautiful stained glass windows with accompanying descriptions. One panel that through me a bit was a memorial to families whose deceased loved ones' organs were stolen without their knowledge. I'm relieved to say that there were nothing in that specific window portraying livers, brains or Frankenstein.

      After we passed the windows, we moved through a series of sixteen exhibition rooms that portrayed various aspects of Belfast's history. The rooms varied from displaying the Belfast Charter, to Freedom of the City Awards to people ranging from Dwight D. Eisenhower to Thomas Ismay (Titantic builder) to Van Morrison. Bill Clinton and George Mitchell were recognized in their support for the Good Friday Agreements that brought an ostensible end to the lengthy civil war between the IRA and Unionists.

      There were portrayals of games children played in the mid-60's; I would have been about their age. I enjoyed panels recognizing specific idioms attributed to the people of Belfast. Some of my favorites include:

      "Would you not have a titter of wit?" (to a stupid person)

      "Who ate the sugar of your bun?" (to a grumpy person)

      "Her head's full of sweetie mice." (to an ungrounded person living in fantasy land)

      The one notable absence in the museum was the absence of reference to "The Troubles" with the exception of a brightly lit "Reflection Room with quotations of local people's experience. There was no reference or use of the phrase "The Troubles". For me, it would be like going to the Holocaust Museum with only the sanctuary and no other references to the atrocities of the time. The quotes were moving, but I did wonder if it's still too painful to talk about. Perhaps I'm over projecting, but it feels like the efforts of some politicians making the effort to block the history of white supremacy in the U.S.
      Having said that, I did appreciate the exhibits.

      We have noticed the existence of rainbow and Progress flags around the city. It was heartening to see these displays, particularly in establishments and businesses that were not GLBT owned.

      In the early afternoon we ventured to Crumlin Road Gaol, a Victorian era prison that operated for one hundred and fifty years. The prison tour reminded me a bit of touring Alcatraz, particularly with the escape stories.The displays and tour guides information were interesting. At one time the prison housed men, women and children. Our guide told us about the heightened difficulties of housing IRA and UFF prisoners at the and time that other prisoners during the period of The Troubles were described laughably as "Decent Ordinary Criminals".

      We enjoyed the tour and we caught an Uber back to our flat. We enjoyed a conversation with our host Kevin. We did enjoy a brief apoearance of the sun before it drifted back behind the clouds. Later this evening we went to get a pizza and we dropped by a small neighborhood gay bar for a drink. A curious experience the that we have had here is bartenders cut off making cocktails well before closing time. You can still order beer or wine, but no mixed drinks. It makes you wonder if Guiness corporation has lobbied for such a rule.

      We enjoyed a walk back to our flat, and we realized that tonight is our last Saturday night in Europe. As I get ready to sleep, I'm listening to very chatty seagulls. I think one is boasting about perching on a very not amused Queen Victoria's head. She did look like someone ate the sugar off her bun.
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    • Day 31

      Schaffarm Workaway bei Louise und Pady

      August 4, 2022 in Northern Ireland ⋅ ☀️ 12 °C


      Die beiden haben ca 200 Schafe

      Am Waschtag hat Louise Leonie Klamotten geliehen...

      Die Schafe haben eine Wurmkuhr bekommen und wurden dann mit Farbe markiert um sie in die Berge zu bringen wo sie die nächsten Wochen sein werden. Durch die Farbe können sie leichter wieder gefunden und zu Schafen von anderen Farmen unterschieden werden.

      Das Nummer Eins Fortbewegungsmittel auf der Farm ist das rote Quad im letzten Video.
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    • Day 9

      Causeway Coast

      September 11, 2022 in Northern Ireland ⋅ 🌧 16 °C

      Wir sind wie immer recht früh und bei gutem Wetter gestartet. Dies sollte sich aber später leider noch ãndern.
      Zuerst haben wir den Dark Hedges einen Besuch abgestattet. Man kennt diese spektakuläre Allee durch die Fernsehserie Game of Thrones.
      Auch hier haben wir Glück gehabt und waren fast alleine dort.
      Anschließend ging es ein paar Meilen hoch an die Küste, zunächst zum Dunluce Castle.
      Danach haben wir eine etwas ausgiebigere Wanderung am Giants Causeway unternommen.
      Nicht nur die Touris waren dort zahlreich vertreten, auch der Regen wurde etwas stärker.
      Mittlerweile steht dort ein recht großes und nicht ganz so günstiges Visitor Center. Vor 30 Jahren gab‘s da grad mal einen kleinen Parkplatz. Wir haben das Center natürlich links liegen gelassen und sind an der Küste entlang gewandert.
      Geparkt haben wir natürlich auch billiger, etwas abseits auf einer Wiese. Hier haben wir anschließend noch einen sehr unterhaltsamen Plausch mit dem Wiesenbesitzer gehalten.
      Weiter ging es dann zur Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.
      Schöne Wanderung, kaum Touris, dafür mächtig Regen auf dem Rückweg zum Auto.
      Insgesamt sind wir übrigens stolze 13 Km gewandert.
      Neben uns hielt dann auf einmal ein irischer Reisebus.
      Wir dachten kurz, jetzt gibt’s Mecker, weil wir auf der falschen Straßenseite gingen.
      Er hat uns aber kurzerhand aufgefordert einzusteigen und mitzufahren.
      Er lud uns noch ein, bis Dublin mitzufahren, da er am Causeway 2 Leute verloren hätte 😉
      Wir sind dann aber doch an unserem Camper ausgestiegen.
      Auch hier mal wieder sehr nette und freundliche Leute.
      Den Rest des Nachmittags sind wir dann gemütlich an der Küste entlang nach Larne, kurz vor Belfast.
      Zum Abschluss des Tages wartet wie üblich ein kühles Guinness.
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    • Day 21

      Ankunft Nordirland

      September 24, 2022 in Northern Ireland ⋅ ☀️ 14 °C

      Natürlich wieder super schön!
      - noch gut besucht im September, besonders Skye. Im Juli August wohl nicht empfehlenswert.......
      - ideal für Campervans
      - B&B lt Schildern meistens belegt(man müsste vorab buchen), Hotels gibt's auch nicht so viele, also wer keinen Kasten hat, mieten! Stellplätze immer gefunden.
      - Keine E-Bike-Terroristen, gibt auch keine Fahradwege
      - Diesel wie bei uns, ansonsten alles geringfügig teurer
      Sanitäranlagen auf den CP genügen oft nicht Deutschen Ansprüchen....,dafür meistens super Lagen, oft kein WLAN, aber meistens Strom
      - Schotten nett
      - mir hat das Fahren viel Spaß gemacht, mehr als in Deutschland, keine Probleme mit Linksverkehr. Dabei sind die großen Spiegel beim Kasten sehr hilfreich. In den Highlands nicht immer einfach.......
      - Bargeld kaum erforderlich, Kleingeld für WC Besuche ab und an nötig. Heutiger Stellplatz in Larne musste mal in bar bezahlt werden
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    • Day 22


      September 25, 2022 in Northern Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

      Kaum in Irland, gleich Irish Stew...
      Stehen für 3 Nächte in Bushmills, 400 m von der Destille. In der Umgebung gibt's viele Sehenswürdigkeiten, mehr ab morgen. Ausgezeichneter Platz, 1a Sanitäranlagen.
      Ausserdem neigen die Iren zu Scherzen, was Guinness betrifft.....🤣...
      Eines der besten Cider im Angebot erworben, Magners, in Deutschland sooo teuer.
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    • Day 90

      93ème étape ~ Mourne

      October 31, 2022 in Northern Ireland ⋅ 🌧 11 °C

      Nous avons découvert la région des montagnes de Mourne.
      Malheureusement, à cause du brouillard, du vent et de la pluie, nous n’avons pas eu le courage de partir pour notre randonnée.
      Cela dit, nous avons bien mangé à côté de nos amis les moutons.Read more

    • Day 91

      94ème étape ~ Belfast

      November 1, 2022 in Northern Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C

      Après avoir découvert Belfast de nuit le soir d’Halloween (nous avons même eu droit à des feux d’artifices), nous l’avons visité de jour.
      Nous avons visité le fameux musée du Titanic. Il faut savoir que le mythique bateau y a été construit. Il a été mis à l’eau le 31 mai 1911 à 12h13. C’est aussi de Belfast qu’il a entamé ce qu’on attendait comme un prodigieux voyage. Malheureusement, tout le monde sait comment ça a fini…
      Le musée se visite en 2h. Il y a beaucoup de choses à voir et à découvrir.
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    • Day 92

      95ème étape ~ Chaussée des Géants

      November 2, 2022 in Northern Ireland ⋅ 🌧 11 °C

      Nous voici dans le lointain nord de l’Irande où nous découvrons la mythique chaussée des géants.
      Elle a été créée grâce à des mouvements volcaniques.
      Mais d’après la légende, elle tire son origine d’une toute autre histoire bien plus sympathique.
      Il y a fort longtemps, deux géants étaient ennemis. L’un était originaire d’Écosse, l’autre d’Irlande. L’écossais n’arrêtait pas de se moquer de l’irlandais, ce dernier en eut marre et proposa au premier de venir se battre contre lui. Mais comment traverser la mer ?
      L’irlandais jeta des pierres pour créer un chemin entre les deux pays. Quand il vit apparaître son rival bien plus grand que lui, il prit peur et courut demander conseil à sa femme.
      Cette dernière imagina un stratagème et déguisa son mari en bébé. Quand l’écossais rencontra ce bébé, ce fut à son tour de prendre peur imaginant la taille du père. Il courut donc se réfugier dans son pays en prenant soin de détruire le chemin derrière lui.
      Pour notre part, nous avions plutôt l’impression de jouer à Mario Bros. 😂
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Northern Ireland, Nordirland, Irlanda del Nord, Irlanda del Norte, Irlande du Nord, Šiaurės Airija, Noord Ierland, Северная Ирландия

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