28.05.2007 -17 °C
San`s on another computer checking out accom in Hawaii, so I have the power.!!!! (A brief moment I bet).
We boarded the ferry for Belfast without incident, and I must say that the ferry was extremely impressive. (Not like the ferries that I have travelled on in the past!!).
There were great lounge areas, bars, eateries galore, children areas, machine game areas etc etc. The crossing was gentle and went quickly.
Upon arrival we collected our bags and proceeded to collect our car. It became evident very quickly that no such commodity existed at the ferry terminal as we had been advised. After some questions we established that our car was at the airport (the only Hertz car rental area in Belfast). A £7-00 fare saw us collect our car and head off to arrange accomodation. We drove through the city streets a few times, familiarising ourselves, then San went off to the "Info" office to book accom. The B&B was about 2 miles from the city, located on a major road with cafes and shops on both sides. Of course our room was at the top of 3 flights of stairs, but the owner (Theodore) was very helpful and room was good. We asked re Black Cab tours and he advised that he new of a driver who was a character and a set price etc, and would pick us up. We had a quick coffee across the road while we waited then headed off on the tour. The guide was definately a character, repeating every sentence about three times (we must have looked backward or something!!).
Anyway the tour was 75mins, and well worth the effort. I must admit that my knowledge of the "trouble between the Catholics and Protestants" was now vague, but after visiting the streets and seeing the murals first hand, it all came back. Our guide provided much historical information and his passion was evident. Although things have quietened in Belfast, you can feel that the division is still alive.!! A very interesting tour.
We were dropped off in the city so began to familiarise ourselves with a walk. We visited City Hall where a local cultural food fair/festival was on, (food from France/Holland/Germany/Italy), then walked to the famous Crown Hotel (National Trust building) known for its individual booths and stained glass windows. We had a drink and avoided a downpour while doing so. We caught a bus home, then ate at a local rest across the road and turned in.
Another great "cooked breaky" then we headed off to view the north, especially the Giant's Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede (rope bridge). We took the scenic coast road.
We were informed that the weather was going to turn so to hurry. Luckily we viewed both spots at length without any rain. Initially San did not want to cross the bridge, but age is making her more adventurous, and she made it over and back, even posing for photographs.
We booked our nights B&B accom at the Giant's Causeway Info office, at a farm located to the north "Ballyhenry House" at Limavady (Londonderry).
After a reasonable drive, (although you quickly realise that both Scotland and Ireland are not that big compared to good old Aust) we located our B&B.
It was located on a farming property and due to cancellations we had a double area which is usually self catering, and brand new. It was very luxurious, probably one of the best that we have encountered on our journey. We journeyed (a couple of miles) to a local hotel and enjoyed one of the best meals of our trip. Barb, you will be pleased to know that I had duck (served double portions) without asking..!!!
Next day we joined native locals on holiday at breakfast (as a local holiday on Monday), then headed off for Dublin. The drive through the countryside was pleasant with everything green green green, but obviously not as spectacular as Scotland. Along the way we stopped off at Londonderry and walked the old city wall, taking in all of the history via info boards along the journey. You can also see the murals on buildings outside the wall, along with fortified police stations (same as Belfast).
We arrived in Dublin, and we quickly realised that it was a much bigger city than we had anticipated. After some frustration with signage (lack of), one way streets, we located the tourist information building, which closed at 3pm, and it was 5pm.
We had noticed B&B`s on the way in, so our plan was to head back to that road and investigate. Easier said than done, but after some further frustration we located a nice B&B (again at the top of three flights of stairs) which is only 10 mins from the airport.
After catching a bus to the city we walked the streets for a short time ending up at "Temple Bar" along with hundreds of other locals and tourists (obviously the place to be). We both enjoyed Irish Stew and a drink, then walked back to a I`cafe and called the girls. It was 6-00am, but as we told them, we had waited a few hours to be nice.!!!
The last bus home, ready for our last day in Ireland.
Today we enjoyed b`fast (fresh fruit salad and toast etc) then drove to the airport to check everything out for tomoz, as our plane for New York leaves at 10-00am, and we don't want any surprises.
It is only ten minutes from our accom, so should be easy.
We left the car, and caught a bus to the city, then jumped on a Hop-on-Hop-off bus to get a good understanding of the city. Just as we started, a hail storm came from no-where, luckily we were under shelter, but many were not.
We stayed on the trip a second time around and departed to tour the Guiness Museum and factory !! San decided not to go in, but I spent about 1-30 hrs touring etc.
Afterwards we ate dinner at O`Neils Pub, we both enjoyed a massive pork roast (recommend to anyone heading here), and updating the blog.
On the way home we may call in for a last drink in Ireland, then pack for our flight tomoz.
Our next update should be from the "Big Apple".
Trust everyone is well and please keep your comments coming as we enjoy reading them.