In the comments, Laine asks, “I was wondering how the trip in Belfast was?”
Thanks for that, Laine! My wife actually planned this whole trip without my knowledge, as my birthday gift (and for our anniversary), so my not worrying and enjoying it all was part of the fun. It was a completely tourist-based holiday, and it turns out we didn’t just do Belfast – we drove around much of the northern part of the island. It was just lovely.
We started by driving up the coast through Newry and Newcastle, with stops at lovely Norman castles and sea views along the way. I had oysters: yummy. After arriving in Belfast, we took a drive through the city, then hit up this fantastic puppet show as part of the children’s festival for Sid.
The next day was our “black taxi” tour of Belfast. Our guide, Bram, lived through the struggles of the late sixties and early 70s (his mother was actually shot – but survived – at the time). I think our chats and walks with him were the highlight of the trip. This really was the first time that the history of Ireland felt alive to me. And, having lived in… well, having lived, I could also appreciate all the contradictions and efforts he had and made with regards to that history, current events, discrimination and activist rights. I love that Irish activists looked to Martin Luther King and Frederick Douglass for their inspiration… And, of course, there were the murals, the odd and wonderful and mythical (but mostly mythic) murals. (And check out the more recent mural below.)
We went to more of the children’s festival later in the day; it’s weird how the Irish love gay-ish acting sportsmen with 70s styles that make fools of themselves as their performing clowns, don’t you think?
After driving through and having lunch at the magnificent Giant’s Causeway (mussels!), we wound up in Derry, the walled city. The hotel sucked, but again, the walking (and chatty) tour of the wall, which provided a fascinating history and context for things like Bloody Sunday, etc., was a highlight. This tour has apparently won “best tour in Ireland” for several years now, and I can see why. It moved a bit fast, but there was a lot to get through.
Did I mention Sid had ice cream every day?
Lastly, we drove through Armagh, and did the Lilliput museum (Gulliver’s travels). Sid didn’t get that Gulliver peed on the city, and she was a bit scared by it all, but mostly liked the little people (babies!), and we got to wear crowns, which was cool….
See a whole photoset from our holiday on flickr