Posts Tagged ‘rain’

Northern Ireland

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

My lovely wife has put up with me talking about wanting to go to Ireland since we first met.  I’m not sure why it kept getting pushed down the list of destinations we choose for our travel options, but it didn’t seem like we were going to get there for a very long time.

Then, as a complete surprise, she booked an entire long weekend holiday for the two of us for my birthday!  She only told me a couple of days before we were due to leave, so we had some last minute planning to do (she had booked plans for our full day already, so that was good).

It wouldn’t be a trip to Ireland without a tour of Belfast’s pubs, so that was priority #1.

Including live, traditional Irish music.

I told our tour guide that the assumption of Irish pubs in Canada (and likely North America in general) is that in every pub, at all times you’ll find a group of lads drinking Guinness and playing traditional Irish folk music.  She assured me that this wasn’t the case, but I only had to wait until our second stop on the tour to find exactly that.

I did a quick video of them playing (I usually totally forget my camera can also do video) as I didn’t think the photo would really cover it.  You can find it on youTube here, they were brilliant and exactly what I wanted to see.  I could have easily stopped the tour here.

Day two was our big day in the country.  I’ve always wanted to visit the Giant’s Causeway so Danni booked us on a day trip that took us up the coast from Belfast and stopped at several interesting spots along the way.  The first stop was just a quick one at Carrickfergus Castle.  It wasn’t particularly exciting (for someone who’s visited quite a few castles over the past few years) and the stop was a short one, but I managed to get a quick photo of the two of us out in front before we moved on.

Danni and I at Carrickfergus Castle.  I dragged my tripod all the way to Northern Ireland for this shot ;)

Dunluce Castle was actually far more interesting even in its crumbled state.  We only stopped briefly on the roadside to take a quick few photos but the setting was stunning and the dreary, overcast weather suited the mood perfectly.  What more could you ask for from Ireland than the ruins of an old castle on a misty, rocky outcropping overlooking the North Sea.

The remains of Dunluce Castle

There were a couple more stops along the way before we finally made it to the Causeway.  Like a giddy child, I wanted to skip everything and run straight down to the coast to check out this amazing natural phenomenon.  Totally forgot my tripod in the coach and the guided audio tour things that we paid for, but it almost didn’t matter (I do wish I had my tripod!).

How can you not be fascinated when confronted with this??

I took many, many shots of the causeway.

We took the long path around the peak of the cliff face and were treated to some stunning views and loads of coconut smelling yellow flowers.  It was difficult not to run past it all to get down to the Causeway proper, but like a real adult I persevered.

The tip of the causeway.

We had the friendly lifeguard on duty take a quick photo of the two of us.  There were actually quite a lot of people there, but if you timed your photos right you could make it look like you were on another planet (which is what I wanted as that’s exactly what it felt like).

Danni taking a break.  There were actually quite a few people there, but with a bit of patience you could make it look like we h

Day three was our last day and we spent the morning roaming around Belfast city center picking up souvenirs and getting in a few more pints of Guinness.  We did have enough time for the City Hall tour, which was definitely worth it to get to see some of the grand halls and hear some interesting stories.  Also, it was free 😉

They certainly don’t do opulent like this anymore.

With the tour complete, there was just time enough to stop into one of the locals for our final pint of creamy, delicious Guinness before hoping on the flight back to London.

Thank you so much for the lovely weekend Danni, it was perfect!  Best. Wife. Ever.

There are (lots) more photos in the gallery here.