Monday, June 23, 2008
Northern Ireland & Republic of Ireland
Londonderry Arms - Sir Winston Churchill holiday place
Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland
We arrived in Dublin in the morning and wanted to go directly to Belfast. – Our choices were €14.00 by bus or €40.00 by train and only half an hour difference between the bus and train. Naturally we wanted as much spending money as possible so the bus/coach it was. It was a pleasant trip, spacious for a coach and we sat in the first seats, best view. What delightful countryside, so green, I looked for some leprechauns but alas did not see any. However at one point along the journey I thought I did see one sitting on a stoned wall and pointed him out to Ian and he dismissed it by saying it was a figment of my imagination. I still think I saw one. Although Ian did say he saw some fairies in Dublin. Now, whose figment of imagination are you going to believe?
In the past I have travelled through the Republic of Ireland and really enjoyed the Irish hospitality, music, lifestyle, openness, sociability and once in Ireland you can not help but try the local brew. I have seen most of the south, however whilst living in the UK I never really got to go to Belfast, and I really wanted to share the Irish experience with Ian, so we decided to do Belfast and Dublin as a whistle stop tour.
After our obligatory procrastination of where we are going to stay and how to read the map, we found accommodation at Katie’s Bed & Breakfast. It was quite central on University St Belfast, which was in the university area, off course with a street name as such. The B & B was run by a seemingly traditional Irish couple in their 50’s or so with broad accents which Ian kept saying pardon. The place had 4 floors and we were on the third floor, a small clean tidy room, with fresh fruit which really was not fresh by Australian standards. The bathroom and toilets were on the next floor down, again relatively clean but very small.
This luxury cost us €25.00 each which did include a cooked breakfast, so €50.00 a night which was cheaper than most of the hotels we called that were fully booked. After settling in we decided to go for dinner, again the usual decision making task, and which restaurant will we go to. At this point in our trip I was missing my own cooking and was desperate for some spaghetti, I was having carbohydrate withdrawals. We had spotted an Italian restaurant earlier which a taxi driver had told us was the best Italian in Belfast, for me the decision was easy, Ian came along. It was probably the best in Belfast, but not the best I have ever had, but it was good for the time and place and it is worth a visit if you are in Belfast.
We booked a day trip to County Antrim to see the top end and the Giants Causeway. What a spectacular sight, an unusual phenomenon, well worth the visit. A long the way we stopped at a few interesting places such as Carrick-a-Reed Rope Bridge, Highlights of the city tour were, the wharf were they built the Titanic and the cranes Samson and Goliath, for Ian the Guinness brewery was number 1. Unfortunately we did not have enough time to go round the brewery; we will save that for the next time.
A good way to see the city is to go on a city tour; this gives you a good idea of what you want to see
It was interesting going through the hotspots of Belfast- Falls Road and Shanklin Road – it was sad and somewhat depressing to go through these streets to see how people lived and how many people died and what was it all about, being a ‘Royalist’ or a ‘Republican’.
It is good to see how Belfast is rebuilding and becoming more united.
A great three days whistle stop - Dublin was as usual simply the best! next time we will spend more time in Dublin.