Thursday, June 21, 2012

The holiday continues .. 3

May 23 - Wednesday

Today it was a visit to the grave of  W.B. Yeats  in Drumcliffe, County Sligo.   The walk around the church and through the cemetery was interesting but I must admit the older stone work and history was of more interest to me.

cemetery view 

Kind of history that appeals to me

Typical of the bilingual signs throughout Republic of Ireland

view on walk to the church..perfect weather

church spire

Leaving Drumcliff  we crossed into Northern Ireland to visit  Belleek pottery.   Using British pounds today instead of the Euros we've been spending up until now.      The factory was not very busy but we did see people handcrafting the signature pieces.  How they have the patience to work with  such precision is beyond anything I'd be capable of, and they are paid by piece work.    Again lunch was available in the tourist centre and again it was excellent and very well priced.  We haven't spent anywhere near as much as we had anticipated on our lunches.    Breakfast and dinners are all included on our tour and we have been very well fed.

We had time to walk the small town of Belleek before heading back to the bus and on our walk near the river Paul spotted....

Not the most comfortable but it certainly looked real.

We went into the shop at the last minute so Paul could decide if he wanted to buy the steak knives he had looked at earlier.  An odd choice but they do say Belleeck on them, even if they were made elsewhere,but he has looked and looked and not found what he wanted anywhere here at home.

We drove back into the Republic of Ireland to our hotel, the Radisson in Letterkenny .    It was early so we could settle in and then head for the shopping centre across the street.   With the weather warming up so nicely Paul found a need for some lighter shirts.   We found a great sale at Dunnes, the department/grocery store we first encountered in Dublin.

May 24 - Thursday

 Back into Northern Ireland today.  Pat our driver scared me with his comment about needing our passports as ours were locked in an uncooperative room safe.( dead battery )  I should have realized sooner that we just sailed in to Belleek yesterday without any indication of a border.    The only indication you have of the change is the road signage.   All English and now mph rather than km.

We picked up our city tour guide in Derry and did a portion of our tour on the bus and finished with a walk through the Bogside,  site of Bloody Sunday and now home to commemorative wall posters,   and then took a walk on the original old walls as we listened to the history of the city.   It is perched on a hill top and we took 2 escalators down in a shopping mall to pick up our bus again.   The escalators are a popular way to avoid the long walk up or down.   Walls and wire and armed police vehicles are still present which I found sad, but we were assured that most of the violence was over and done and the city was renewing itself with building along the riverfront and encouraging tourism.
Gateway in the walls of Derry.  Note the wall and wire on the otherside.

Looking from the walls back down into Bogside.  At least one mural can be seen.

Little fang noting the width of the old walls.

Quiet cemetery garden just off the main walkway on the wall.
Typical narrow street within the walled city.

Our guide filling us in. You can see the drop of the land just beyond the archway.

Interesting construction on one of the arches.

A lovely countryside drive to the Ulster Americal Folk Park with it's small indoor and large outdoor displays.    We started with lunch in the visitor centre, bypassed the gift shop and took a look indoors first then headed out for the self guided walk through the village.

Little fang checking out the indoor displays.  It was fun listening to a teacher explain typewriters to a school group in the small Titanic display.

One of the thatched building moved to the site.  People in period costumes were in all the buildings to answer questions and give the history.

Lots of livestock wandering around.

The chickens are for you Jayne.  Couldn't get the funny tufted headed black one to stand still but this one looked exotic.
View of some of the museum property.  Hot sunny day.

More perfect scenery on a perfect weather day.

Cows in the field. 

Peat piled up waiting to be thrown on the fire.  It smokes and the smell takes getting used to.

Thatched out building.  

LET THE DANCE BEGIN. The Millennium project celebrating Irish dance and music in the middle of the Strabane roundabout.   Many of the circle we rounded had art displays.

Back to the Radisson  in Letterkenny.  Paul decided to stretch out and rest I decided to revisit the shopping mall, this time for myself.   Nothing at Dunnes caught my eye but I did well buying 2 cotton summer tops at Marks and Spencers for 8 euro.   It has been wonderful shopping in Ireland. The price is the price.  They tag with the final price, here we see the price and then get the tax shock of another 13 percent at the cash register.

May 25 - Friday

Dunluce Castle 
from the bus on our way to Bushmills. 
The day Paul has been waiting for.  Our tour of Bushmills whick took us back into Northern Ireland where we will stay til our return home so pounds have taken place of euros in our wallets.   Don't think we got at all tipsy breathing in the fumes at the factory tour but we did get a chance when we had our free sample after the tour.  I let Paul decide what I should ask for at the tasting and after a quick sip handed the glass over to him.  

The place.  Paul's favourite Irish Whiskey is made here.

The budget did not allow his the opportunity to buy one of each.

 Next highlight...The Giant's Causeway.  Bright sunny day, what Pat called a Pet day.  Not many in Ireland he says so people totally embrace the sun.

There is a mini bus you can ride but we walked down.

Worth the walk. I kept stopping to take pictures.  I have seen this road with tourist in full rain gear.  How lucky were we!

Rocks rocks rocks

looking back up the roadway

Seeing it for myself was really something.   some geological facts
Our home for the night,   The Adair Arms  in Ballymena.  It has just gone through an updating.  Thankfully all the wonderful period features, wood and plaster, have been retained.   They did a rearranging of some of the public spaces that put a pub room right under our beautifully redone bedroom.   When the rather bad Elvis impersonator started singing  we knew we had to be moved.  The young man at the desk was most apologetic telling us there were no refurbished rooms available but he had 2 older rooms that might do.  Paul went with him and picked the quietest.   It was shabby by comparison but with an opening window on a quiet street and a skylight in the small bathroom it suited us just fine.  Come morning the girl at the desk told us that obvious changes would have to be made to correct the problem.  No one had considered the impact during the reno.

quick aside...cold all gone but a few others on the bus have started to cough and sniffle


1 comment:

Jayne said...

Thanks for the chook, she looks delightful!
Those scenes are just gorgeous, the fields and the museum sights are wonderful, although I can imagine how pongy the peat might be!