Day 6Another day of traveling, but this time it was a day worth traveling, as I headed to Ireland. Started the morning on the bus and stopped off to see what inspired the movie Brig’o Doon. It was such a beautiful place. I am sure that the pictures I am taking are not going to even start to show how breath taking this place is. After leaving there the bus stopped at Rabbie Burns’s (a famous author) house. Then the bus traveled down the coast of Scotland where from the bus you could see Ireland. The driver said that in the nine trips he had taken this year, this was the best day he had seen. The weather stayed with us as we took the ferry a crossed from Scotland to Ireland.
Once in Ireland we head to Belfast where our tour guide hopped on and started telling us about the history of Belfast. The things that I learned I never knew, like the fact that there is a wall down the middle of the city so which Catholics live on one side and Protestants on the other. This was because when the United Kingdom first took over the top counties in Ireland half wanted it and half didn’t so there was a war between the two. After that back to the hotel for dinner and then went to see a local Pub. I decided not to stay while the rest of my party is still there about to enjoy the music.
Today we headed out first thing in the morning; the bus drove alone to coast of Ireland. The first stop was Mount Stewart House, I have to say the house, was nice, but full of a lot of stuff. Yet the gardens where worth going for, the colors and the way they were laid out were amazing. It was such a nice day to walk the grounds and just enjoy my time in the fresh air.
After leaving the Mount Stewart House the bus headed a crossed the Strangford Lough on ferry. The first stop was the St. Patrick Center where there was a short video on the life of St. Patrick. We then headed to the Down Cathedral. It was a beautiful old church with nothing really special until you walked the grounds. This is where you will find the grave of St. Patrick, which I have to say I learned some interesting fact about him that I didn’t know before I came over here. It was a great sight to see, after that we were back on the bus and back to Belfast for a few hours of shopping before dinner.
Today we started by driving north along the Nine Glens of Antrim. The views from the highway where amazing, the first time we stopped for a photo was to see the little rope bridge the fishermen use in the summer to access a small fishier. Next we stopped at a spot that overlooked the sea. It was amazing at how far you could see. Once back on the bus we headed to Giant’s Causeway.
Giant’s Causeway was an amazing sight to see. I was amazed by the way that the rocks where formed and how they were just coming out of the ground. For those who don’t know the story about Giant’s Causeway it is a story about a giant named Finn McCool, who used to live there with his family. Well he liked to through taunts back and forth between a giant in Scotland. One day the giant from Scotland decided to come across the causeway to pick a fight with Finn. Well Finn’s wife saw the size of the giant and new Finn could not beat him, so she dressed him up a baby so that when the giant got to Ireland he would think Finn was not there. Well when the giant from Scotland finally got to Ireland he took one look at Finn and said, “If that is the size of the baby I don’t want to see the size of the Da” and turned and ran.
After Giant’s Causeway we headed back south on the coast where we were able to stop and take an amazing picture of Dunluce Castle. Then we stopped in a small coastal town, where there was a fair going on. I was able to walk the dock and just enjoy the weather. Sadly I enjoyed it a little to much and ended up sun burn, who would have thought.
The day started with a drive south to the Glenveagh Castle. The castle was built after the first owner evicted 220 people from their homes. After he died his wife took over the castle and started giving the landed back to the people, the next two owners where Americans which I found really interesting, the last owner gave the castle to the Irish Government in 1983.
The afternoon was spent heading to Derry (or Londonderry), which is also known as the walled city. We were driven through where Bloody Sunday took place. I was really fascinated to learn that Ireland’s troubles have only recently stopped. Then the tour guide took us to walk the gates of the city. It was amazing to see how this whole city was walled to protect it back in the 1600s. Then so down time in the city and back to the hotel for dinner and relaxing.
Today was one of my favorite days on this whole trip. Started the morning out being able to sleep in until 8:00 am, then we where off to Ulster American Folk Park. I have to saw this was one of my favorite places. The park is set up to show how families back then would live. So there where tone of house and villages. The park started by taking you through the museum to show you how the history progressed, after that I headed into the park. It started with a one room house, that families up to sixteen would live in. It then show the different kind house that people would live in. It also had a school, church and a small town. The park then took you into what the ship was like when they sailed a crossed to America, then brought you out into the New World. I was also lucky on the trip and found a four-leaf-clover, and no it was not fake. I took a picture of it. I was quiet excited, hopefully it means good luck for me to come.
After getting into Dublin we head out for out final dinner as a group at the Merry Ploughboy Pub. It was great food and an amazing show. There were real Irish dancers and Folk singers. It was a great way to end the finally dinner. Tomorrow is a relaxed day in Dublin.
Day 11Today was a relaxed day. It started with a tour of Dublin, then to Kilmainham Gaol. It was really interesting to see how the jail was set up back then. It reminds me of some of the small older jails from back in the States, after that we where off to Guinness where the group broke into the area of the city they wanted to see. I explore the museum to see the steps it takes to make beer. I then met up with a few other people and was taught how to pour the prefect pint. I ended the day with walking the streets of Dublin and having dinner in a pub with a few of my friends from the tour.