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Ireland 2017 – Day 16

July 21st, 2017 No comments

Friday, May 19, 2017

Another incredible breakfast spread greets us in the morning. Conversation with another guest over from England is focusing on the upcoming election that May has called for. He is saying he isn’t quite sure who to vote for, but when pressed he says but I always vote Tory. Now I am wondering who the Tories are. We have learned about the Nationalist (also called the Republicans), the Unionist (also called the Loyalist), the Sinn Fein, the Conservatives, the Labour party, but who are the Tories? Politics here are confusing.

It’s time to settle the bill and he wants to charge us another 4% to use the Visa… no thank you, we have cash. We could save the British pounds that we have as we will be going to Scotland later, but we can get more at a friendly ATM.

The first stop is Newgrange. This is a Megalithic Passage Tomb which was built around 3200 BC. We have to find the visitor’s center as you can only go into the tomb on a scheduled tour. The navigation system announces “You have arrived at your destination”, but there is no apparent destination there. Again we have to rely on Google maps to get us to our intended destination. We enter into a multi-story visitor’s center and get a tour time, then we take in the displays. The exhibitions are quite well done and portray the possible daily life of people during the time when the tomb was built.

NewgrangeNewgrange
NewgrangeNewgrange
When our tour time approached we cross the river and get on the bus that will take us to the Newgrange World Heritage Site. It’s a very short ride to the site, and once there we gather together outside the entrance to meet with our guide. Before us we see a large earthen mound with a decorative retaining wall that stands about 8 feet high. The wall is a reconstruction to the way it might have once looked. At the base of the retaining wall are large boulders, called kerbstones, some of which have obvious spiral carvings. The most elegant one is in front of the entrance and features several spirals one of which is a triple joined set of spirals. Above the entrance is a window box. We are divided into two groups, we are in the first group to get to enter the tomb.
NewgrangeNewgrange
NewgrangeNewgrange
NewgrangeNewgrange
NewgrangeNewgrange
NewgrangeNewgrange
NewgrangeNewgrange
The entrance passage slopes slightly upward and becomes a bit narrow and short as you progress into the main chamber. The ceiling here is about 12 feet high and is a corbelled roof with large flat stones building up and circling in until a single capstone can be placed at the top. There are three little rooms off of the main chamber which contained carved artworks on some of the stones. Some were interconnected triangular shapes kind of like representing mountains, but the most significant is another triple spiral which is in front of us. As the guide turns off the lights a simulated winter solstice sunrise takes place and we see a beam of light that would enter through the window box above the entrance and gradually climb up the passage pointing towards this triple spiral, then retreating back down as the sun continues to rise. This is way cool to watch.

Once we get back outside we are free to roam and take some pictures. No pictures are allowed to be taken inside the tomb. We ask one of the guides to take a picture of us at the entrance however and she escorts us behind the ropes to get a great picture. I am sure everyone else is wondering why we are so privileged; it never hurts to ask now does it.

Soon we make our way back to the bus, then back to the visitor’s center, then back to the car. Next will be a visit to the Hill of Tara.

Once we get to the Hill of Tara we walk up to St. Patrick’s Church. The lady behind the desk says that a tour group just left and if we hurry we can catch up to it, just come back and pay the fee when we are done. I note to myself that it is nice to be back in the Republic of Ireland, as we hurry to catch up to the group. The first stop on the tour is the Mound of the Hostages. It is a grass covered passage tomb with an interesting carved stone near the entrance, however the entrance is gated and we don’t go inside. Although built around 3000 BC, the name comes from a later time when it was the site to exchange hostages.

As we approach the high part of the hill we seem to be going through a couple of large ditches. It turns out that these are the remnants of ancient ramparts as this whole area was an enclosed hill fort. There were two inner enclosed areas that are joined together so an aerial photo shows them similar to the number eight. One of these areas was the abode of Cormac Mac Airt, a legendary High King of Ireland. According to legend Cormac was born to the mistress of a former king, but taken into hiding soon after his birth. Once he reached adulthood, he rose to power through winning battles against other lesser kings, but it wasn’t just his sheer strength but more his ability to forge alliances. As High King he was known to be fair to his people and wise in his judgements when settling disputes. The second enclosure is around Lia Fail, or the Stone of Destiny.

Hill of TaraHill of Tara
Hill of TaraHill of Tara
Hill of TaraHill of Tara
Lia Fail was the location of the coronation of the High Kings of Ireland. The King-to-be would walk through a lower channel perhaps at sunrise so that first light would shine on the stone. It is said that when the rightful king would place his foot on the stone, it would roar its approval. We take in the view from this hilltop and then wander back down to the church where we pay the entrance fee and watch a short movie.

It is a short drive to the Hilton in downtown Dublin. Tonight the car gets completely unloaded as we each need to repack for tomorrow’s travels. Chris will take the train from the Heuston station over to Galway where he will be taking classes over the summer. Vicky and I will drive up to the airport for our flight over to Scotland.

Once organized, we set out on the town. First we walk to the train station. We were hoping that it would be in easy walking distance as Chris will be carrying all of his summer possessions with him in the morning, but perhaps it is a bit far, but he can arrange a taxi if need be. Next we walk to the Old Jameson Distillery where we will take a tour.

We enter from Bow street through a doorway into a large courtyard that has a huge copper distillation tank on display. As we enter the main building there is a large bar area with a good number of people drinking some of the many varieties of Jameson that are being served there. It seems something like a warehouse as the ceiling is very high, but we are looking specifically to find where we can purchase tickets for the tour. We find the ticket area and we a lucky to now have much of a wait time so we look over the displays then go and wait in the queue area near the elevators. The first stop on the tour is the balcony overlooking the downstairs bar area, he we are give a small glass of Irish Whiskey straight up.
JamesonJameson
JamesonJameson
JamesonJameson
The John Jameson family motto is Sine Metu (Without Fear), and it was this quality that allowed him to strike out from his native Scotland to start up business in Dublin among fierce competition. His philosophy was to simply make the smoothest Irish Whiskey using the finest ingredients he could find, and soon his whiskey became the preferred brand. John was a good employer as well, treating his employees fairly, and each worker received a shot of whiskey at the beginning of his shift and again at the end. The key to the smooth taste was the fact that the whiskey goes through 3 distillation phases and is aged in oak barrels. Some of the barrels had been previously used for sherry or stout beer (Guinness of course) to give an accent to the whiskey taste. Just like John’s employees we were given a shot of Jameson at the beginning of the tour and now here at the end we will get to do a taste test. Three glasses are before us, one with Jack Daniels, one with Johnnie Walker, and one with Jameson. The Jack Daniels had a bit of a burn in the throat as compared to the Jameson, and the Scotch had a smokey sort of smell and flavor. Indeed I found the Jameson to be smooth and balanced in comparison.
JamesonJameson
JamesonJameson
JamesonJameson
JamesonJameson
JamesonJameson
Next stop is dinner. The Brazen Head is officially Ireland’s oldest pub dating back to 1198. We are on the street with our map and supposedly we are right here, but we don’t see it. A young fellow asks us what we are looking for, and directs us just around the corner. Did I mention that these Irish fellows are great people, friendly, helpful, polite, and yes I’ve just had several shots of whiskey…

The pub seems to be several pubs all joined together. There is an outdoor area with a covered bar, then at least four rooms containing their own bars and sets of tables. One thing that I want to mention about the Irish pubs is that quite a number of them have embroidered Police and Fireman patches stuck on the walls and beams from all over. I have even seen some from Florida, but I am not sure the story. There is an Irish flag on the ceiling, and many pictures on the walls. It is definitely a busy place and we are lucky to find a table. The traditional Irish stew was thick and very good with my Guinness.
The Brazen HeadThe Brazen Head
The Brazen HeadThe Brazen Head
The Brazen HeadThe Brazen Head
But now it is time to make our way back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep as we have to be on our way early to catch our flight. We give Chris our remaining Euros as a “Happy Birthday”, a bit early, but he will be over here on his birthday, so close enough. Then we say our farewell to him and head off to our room.
GuinnessGuinness

Categories: Ireland 2017, Vacations Tags:

Ireland 2017 – Day 15

July 21st, 2017 No comments

Thursday, May 18, 2017

We meet Chris at the scheduled time and set out on the trail the host had pointed out the day before. It should take about an hour and a half; just a “wee” hike according to our host. Soon we see signs marking that we are on the Red Trail which is goes along the clifftop to just east of the Giant’s Causeway, then down a series of staircases to descend to ocean level. It is a beautiful morning with clear skies and refreshing temperatures. As we cut back to the west after coming down all the stairs we join in with the Blue trail which is pretty much flat and easy walking. We can now see the individual basalt hexagonal columns which are fused together creating a stepping stone effect. There is a lone photographer who has made it up a bit earlier than we have. He is softening the movements of the ocean by controlling the shutter speed. To bad I don’t have my tripod. We climb about on the columns and walk out along the causeway enjoying the morning. As we are leaving a professional photographer has arrived to take wedding photos. What a unique backdrop.
Giant’s CausewayGood Morning!
Giant’s CausewayRed Trail
Giant’s CausewayGiant’s Causeway
Giant’s CausewayGiant’s Causeway
Giant’s CausewayGiant’s Causeway
Giant’s CausewayGiant’s Causeway
Giant’s CausewayGiant’s Causeway
Giant’s CausewayGiant’s Causeway
Giant’s CausewayGiant’s Causeway
Giant’s CausewayGiant’s Causeway
Giant’s CausewayGiant’s Causeway

Legend has it that an Irish Giant by the name of Finn MacCool created the causeway so that he could meet a Scottish Giant to prove who was the strongest. However upon seeing that the Scottish Giant was much bigger he returned home. His quick thinking wife dressed Finn up as a baby, and when the Scottish Giant saw the baby he figured the father was not someone to be messed with so he returned to Scotland destroying the causeway behind him. Just the ends of the causeway remain, here and at Fingal’s Cave in Scotland.
Giant’s CausewayGiant’s Causeway
Giant’s CausewayGiant’s Causeway
Giant’s CausewayGiant’s Causeway
Giant’s CausewayGiant’s Causeway
Giant’s CausewayGiant’s Causeway
We travel along the blue trail back up to the road where we walk back down to our B&B just in time for breakfast. Again there is a bountiful spread of yogurt, muesli, fruit, juice, coffee, and a hot breakfast of sausage, eggs, potato pancake, tomato, and baked beans. Perfect.

As we are settling the bill with the host Vicky asks if it was challenging printing all the Pounds and trading in the Euros following Brexit. He seemed to be a bit defensive saying they had always used proper British Sterling. She tried to explain that she thought that EU countries used Euros, but she seemed to be digging a bigger hole, finally she just apologized. We are not quite sure what the insult was but we seemed to have escaped.

Next stop is the Glenoe Waterfall. It is a small picturesque waterfall in a wooded area just up the coast a bit from Belfast. As we approach the waterfall along a small trail from the parking area, we see a man holding a baby from the bridge. His wife is taking opportunity for a swim in the pool beneath the falls. I feel it is quite cool to be going swimming but I’m from Florida. I notice a small fairy house on the cliff besides the fall. Occasionally we see these at some of the tourist locations. We take opportunity to walk along the trails getting a few photos.
Glenoe WaterfallGlenoe Waterfall
Glenoe WaterfallGlenoe Waterfall
Glenoe WaterfallGlenoe Waterfall
Glenoe WaterfallGlenoe Waterfall
Glenoe WaterfallGlenoe Waterfall
Glenoe WaterfallGlenoe Waterfall
Glenoe WaterfallGlenoe Waterfall

When we return to the car park we ask the young family if they could recommend a scenic excursion as we are a bit ahead of schedule. She recommends going over to Portmuck as there is a small beach and a walk along the coast could be nice. She was indeed right investigating the tidal pools and watching the ferry approach was a pleasant way to spend the time before we needed to make our way into Belfast.
CoastVicky at coastal area
CoastEric at coastal area

We have signed up for a “Black Taxi” tour in Belfast which will take us to see the murals and hear the stories of the “The Troubles” here in Belfast. We start on Falls road which is the Nationalist (Catholic) side of the wall and then travel to Shankill which is the Loyalist (Protestant) side of the wall. Yes, there is still a huge “Peace Wall” which stands up to 25 feet high that separates these neighborhoods. We again hear of the discrimination and acts of violence that drove the Nationalist population to the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s. Then in 1969, a group of Loyalist set fire to an entire neighborhood of houses. What made it worse was the fact that no police responded and no firemen came. They let it burn leaving the residents on their own in trying to save the lives of their neighbors. Like in Derry, the Nationalist population turn to the IRA for protections, and like in Derry, British troops are called in, thus is the start of 30 years of bloodshed. We now recognize Bobby Sands and some of the important figures in the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland. We were shown the site of where the Divis Tower once stood. This was Elder Care housing, but in the time of “The Troubles” the top three floors of this 20 story building were taken over by the British Army. It was only accessible by helicopter as the floor beneath their post was sandbagged in. This vantage point towered over the Falls Road and Shankill Road area and was outfitted with snippers and the best spy equipment of the day. Vicky seems appalled that they would put a military post on top of elderly civilians. The tour guide says that those elderly citizens were the safest in all of Belfast as no unauthorized people could get anywhere near the place. There are other murals portraying American figures Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King, or the Palestinian plight on the Gaza strip. When we go to the other side of the peace wall there is a lot a graffiti, but it doesn’t seem to tell much of a story. Basically the artistic graffiti was used to cover up the previous hate slogans. There are some well done murals as we proceed into Shankill neighborhood. One is of William of Orange, or King Billy, as he is referred to. As we learned earlier, it was William of Orange who lead the transition, somewhat violent transition, to a Protestant Royal House in all of Britain (now the UK). We also see evidence of walls being painted over and peaceful art shown in its place. However, it is the consensus of the people on both sides of the wall that it would still be dangerous to tear it down. It is indeed an uneasy peace.
BelfastBelfast
BelfastBelfast
BelfastBelfast
BelfastBelfast
BelfastBelfast
BelfastBelfast
BelfastBelfast
BelfastBelfast

We leave the city and drive down to our next B&B. Here we meet our host and hostess and the Scottish accent is so thick you can barely understand the words. The hostess is asking Chris a question and he is just looking with wide eyes; trying to decide on what she said and how he could possibly reply. The host gives us a recommendation on a pub back in town complete with driving directions of going over the “wee” bridge and up the road just a “wee” bit. We backtrack and find it and a wine store just across the street. Tonight is a steak special, but I will wait to get back to the B&B for my glass of wine.

Seeing the wine, the hostess offers to bring some glasses to the living room. The living room has a large picture window looking out over the Carlingford Lough, across the water gentle hills roll thick with trees. This seems like a nice relaxing area to enjoy our wine. She returns with a silver platter, covered with a paper towel, upon which sits 3 wine glasses. Chris doesn’t drink the wine so we offer to share a glass with her. This was a mistake as we need to now make small talk instead of just relaxing and enjoying the light of the setting sun as it plays upon the distant hills. It soon becomes clear that she feels the Irish are loathsome creatures beneath her station in life, and we are enjoying our wine less and less. A few comments like “the hills on that side are nowhere as beautiful as this; yes we are this close to THEM” (the Republic of Ireland is just across the lough). When she learns Chris is spending the summer in Galway; she looks at Vicky and asks “what are you going to do if he takes up with an IRISH girl” (like that is a terrible thing). Then she is speaking of a local young Irishman who they were able to chase away to America, but now he has come back. Why would he let his Visa expire? (they are for five year periods) And he’s got money now! (why is it bad that he worked hard and made money for himself, is he a threat now?) Is Trump going to send all of them back? (Wow) This is nowhere near being relaxing, Vicky seems tense and I’m afraid to say anything. Finally the wine is gone and we can retire to our room after that awkward social dancing.

I was right, Vicky doesn’t sleep well at all.

Categories: Ireland 2017, Vacations Tags:

Ireland 2017 – Day 14

July 21st, 2017 No comments

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

It is 2:00 am and a chirping sound has awoken us. There it is again. It is the telltale chirp of a fire alarm whose battery is dying. Where is it? Chirp. Not in the room. It is out in the hall. Chirp. Ok, fine let me see if I can take the battery out. Out in the hall in my skivvies I wrestle with this plastic cover. Chirp. I can’t get this thing off. Where are my glasses. Chirp. There is no hidden release; it doesn’t twist; it doesn’t pull; argh! Chirp. Ok I give up. I go back to bed hoping to block out the sound and go back to sleep. After a while I hear one of the neighbors out in the hall fighting with the errant device. He sounds German, but I don’t know German swear words so I am not for sure. Soon he also gives up, sigh.

Well it is officially morning and the battery has yet to die. Chirp. However, it is time to get a shower and go down for breakfast. We had noticed last night that the high window across the bathroom did not seem to have any sort of blinds, but we just shut the door to keep the light out of the room. I now note a second problem with this. Across the street is a multi-story bank building and not only does the window not have blinds, the shower enclosure is all clear glass. Well there probably isn’t anyone over there at this hour, but I did feel rather exposed while taking my shower.

Finally we can go downstairs and escape this chirping sound. I am also hoping for an internet connection as I know the router is down in the lobby and I am not getting anything up here. Nice couches to sit on, no obnoxious chirping, the smell of good food and coffee, but no internet. Well the breakfast area is open and I am certainly looking forward to several cups of strong coffee. The B&B host approaches “Did you get my email?” It turns out he had double charged us by mistake, but had sent through a credit to correct the issue. I took opportunity to inform him that the internet was out, and that the fire alarm was in need of a new battery; for which he apologized and promised to fix immediately. When we return to the room he is also fighting with the device and has a large screwdriver prying the whole thing off of the ceiling. I soon see dangling red and black wires; at least it wasn’t just me.

This morning we are taking a tour of the Bogside Murals where we learn even more about the aftermath of James I’s brilliant plan to colonize the northern province of Ireland, Ulster. There are four provinces in Ireland, Ulster to the north, Leinster to the east, Munster to the south, and Connacht to the west, each with counties inside. Originally there were 9 counties in Ulster, but in 1920 the Parliament of the UK split off 6 of these counties which were predominantly Protestant to become Northern Ireland. It was the largest amount of territory that could be held given the significant Catholic minority. This act gave rise to a series of actions devoted to driving out the Catholic people.
DerryBogside Murrals
DerryBogside Murrals
DerryBogside Murrals
DerryBogside Murrals
DerryBogside Murrals
DerryBogside Murrals

The majority of businesses were owned and operated by Protestant leaders and they sought to hire only those belonging to their faith. The interviewer would first ask your name and many times this would be confirmation of your heritage and religion, but if there was any doubt the second question of where you attended school would seal the deal as Catholic household would send their children to Catholic schools which always started with Saint. In addition to owning the businesses Protestant leaders owned the lands and housing. They would simply not build additional housing in the Catholic regions. The reason being that only the head of the household had the right to cast a vote. Soon the Irish Catholic people were dependent upon handouts to survive as they could not find employment and they could not vote. A typical apartment would have several multi-generational families as brothers were forced to share their single childhood bedroom with their wife and children, and their brother’s wife and children.

By the mid-1960’s the people had learned from the American Civil Rights movement and had begun a non-violent civil right campaign of their own. Their goals were: end job discrimination, end housing discrimination, give each man one vote, reform the police force (it was 90% Protestant and known for its brutality against Catholics), and repeal the Special Powers Act (which allowed the police to imprison people without charge or trial).

You remember the Apprentice Boys who locked the city gates to keep out the Jacobite (Catholic) forces. Well every year there was a huge celebration and parade in town which stirred everyone up. Ian Paisley a Protestant fundamentalist preacher, would take the stand and excite the violent natures in people. Then led by the Ulster Protestant Volunteers, a paramilitary group, the mobs would descend down to the Catholic housing area known as the Bogside. There they would enter people’s homes wrecking their possessions and beat people up sometimes causing death from internal injuries. This would happen every year.

1969, and the people had had enough, on the end of a row of apartments, clearly visible from the wall above, the words “You Are Now Entering FREE DERRY” were painted. Thus declaring this area of Derry as their own, residents carried clubs and banded together to try to keep the brutal police force from entering their homes. But tanks came to knock down the wall and water cannons used on the people, and the brutality continues. It is time for the annual parade and the residents of the Bogside know what always ensues, but this time they will be ready. The citizens have stock piled bottles and gasoline and boys have gained access to the top of a high building. From there they lob the Molotov cocktails down on the advancing mob keeping them out of the Bogside area. It was the grandmothers who constructed the bombs working in shifts for 3 days. “Never underestimate an Irish Grandmother”. Police were called in from all over Northern Ireland shooting tear gas and bullets into the area, then finally British troops arrived to intervene. The people of the Bogside felt that perhaps this would be a neutral peacekeeping force and the violence stopped. For several years the police of Derry and the garrisoned British troops did not enter the Bogside. The new Irish Republican Army, IRA, patrolled the streets of the Bogside and there was relative peace, that is until 1972.

Sunday, January 30, 1972, a peace march was organized to protest the imprisonment of citizens without cause. Young men between the ages of 18 and 25 were especially targeted to be captured and thrown in prison sometimes for years with no charges being stated, and no trial being conducted. On this occasion the elite British Parachute Regiment was called in. They shot 28 unarmed civilians, many in the back as they were running away. A photograph shows a soldier walking, gun in the crook of his arm, as people scatter in the street before him. 14 were killed, 6 being only 17 years of age. Patrick Doherty, age 31, was the father of our guide. He was shot from behind while attempting to crawl to safety. This incident was captured in photographs by a French journalist. Despite the photographs and eyewitnesses the army’s actions were vindicated in the first inquest, and several soldiers were decorated with honors for their actions on this day. This Sunday became known as Bloody Sunday, and it was at this time that the IRA transitioned from a defensive force to an active military force.

In the years that followed many of the members of the IRA were captured and put in prison as ordinary criminals rather than being designated as prisoners of war. At first their resistance to this policy was to refuse to wear the prison uniforms, but this went largely unnoticed. Then in 1981, prisoners began a hunger strike. The first hunger striker to die was Bobby Sands, from prison he had put his name on the ballot for a Parliament position. His election shocked Margaret Thatcher, who was at that time Prime Minister, as the show of support was significant. This gave way to behind the scenes negotiations in which many of the demands were met, but in all ten hunger strikers died.

Outside to the prison, armed conflicts escalated as IRA militants were heavily armed by those sympathetic to their cause including shipments from the US (private citizens), Libya, the Netherlands, and Norway. The US (government) was actually supporting Margaret Thatcher at this time. It was not until 1995 that significant steps were made in the peace process; this is when the envoy representing President Bill Clinton entered the scene. Then in 1998 a ceasefire agreement was signed, and the peace has pretty much held for these 20 years.

The Bogside Murals painted on the walls in the Bogside area tell the story of the Civil Rights March, the Battle of the Bogside, the Bloody Sunday Massacre, the Hunger Strikes, and finally the Peace. It was a lot to take in and I feel totally drained as we walk back to the B&B to pick up the car and drive up to Bushmill.

On the drive I begin to notice campaign posters. The Sinn Fein party signs all have a background with orange and green colors. The Unionist party has red and blue. I wonder if it is still the Protestants opposing the Irish Catholics. Ninety percent of the schools remain segregated based on religion. Communities remain segregated. The funding by the EU that supports co-educational programs will cease following Brexit. Will peace endure?
DerryDunluce Castle
DerryDunluce Castle
DerryDunluce Castle
DerryDunluce Castle
DerryDunluce Castle
DerryDunluce Castle
DerryDunluce Castle
DerryDunluce Castle
DerryDunluce Castle
DerryDunluce Castle
DerryDunluce Castle
DerryDunluce Castle
DerryDunluce Castle
DerryDunluce Castle
DerryDunluce Castle

We have made it up to Bushmill and it is time to get out and get some fresh air. Enough of this contemplation. The first stop is the Carrick-a-Rede Rope bridge. The rope bridge crosses to the small island of Carrickarede and was used by fishermen on a daily basis. It’s about 60 feet to cross but the drop to the ocean below is about 90 feet. It sways a bit as you cross but nothing too intimidating. There isn’t much to do on the other side except turn around and come back, so that was it.
DerryCarrick-a-Rede Rope bridge
DerryCarrick-a-Rede Rope bridge
DerryCarrick-a-Rede Rope bridge
DerryCarrick-a-Rede Rope bridge
DerryCarrick-a-Rede Rope bridge

We next drive to the B&B which is conveniently located within walking distance to the Giant’s Causeway. We had hoped to take a walk to see this World Heritage site before dinner tonight. However in speaking with our B&B host he advises going at sunset after all the tour buses have left. He also advises that we go to the Bushmills Inn for dinner. Scoping things out we have a change in plans. We decide to drive out to see the Dark Hedges Road made famous by the Game of Thrones, pick up a bottle of wine for later, then go to the Bushmills Inn for dinner. Things go to plan and we make it to dinner just before six.
DerryDark Hedges Road
DerryDark Hedges Road
DerryDark Hedges Road
DerryDouble Rainbow!

The hostess says that we will have to wait as dinner is not being served yet. It seems a bit odd as we can see people eating and drinking at various tables, but perhaps it is a change up of the kitchen staff. We take a look over the menu, which is a bit expensive, and look around the lobby area of this 17th century inn. Another group comes in and as it becomes apparent they are also American we start casual conversation. The host now announces that their table is ready. Vicky and I look at each other like what the heck. I mean we aren’t in our finest clothes but we are decent and it was plenty good enough for that fancy restaurant we went to in the castle down in the good ol’ Republic of Ireland. I was just about ready to be irritated, when the host said that he would seat us. It is a bit slow to be waited on, and when the food comes it is good but the portions were a bit small. All in all I think we would have been better off in a pub down the way.

When we return to the B&B we decide it is too late to venture down to the causeway tonight, but we make plans to meet Chris out in the lobby at 7:00 so we can hike down there before breakfast. This seems like a good plan, and we settle into our room to enjoy a glass of wine before bedtime.

Categories: Ireland 2017, Vacations Tags: