Ireland – July 2011

I thought I would arrive in Ireland facing some big green landscapes as I did some 15 years ago. But it won’t be the same this year as the rain welcomed me, but it’s not only raining … it’s pouring !!!
Nothing will stop me, let’s go to the Giant’s Causeway, up in the North. An area with only 40 000 interlocking basalt columns. Legendary spot by its aspect but also by its history … The legend has it that the Irish warrior built this causeway to walk to Scotland to fight his Scottish counterpart, this one got scared and went back home ripping up the causeway in case he was followed.
For me it’s just the best spot on Earth

The rain won’t let me stop, I’m heading to Londonderry now.

Londonderry is known with the “bloody sunday” when in January 1972 unarmed civil rights protesters were shot by the British Army. Northern Ireland has a huge history and even after the ceasefire 17 years ago you can still feel it.
Morning walk in the “Bogside Massacre” in Rossville Street and then in the city centre.

On the way to Westport then. A rainy day again, I can’t see far … I know landscapes should be beautiful … but that doesn’t give me the will to take pictures 🙁

Days go by and aren’t the same. Heading to the Connemara, where the blue sky tries to show up, that gives some beautiful colors in the scenery.
1st stop at the Kylemore Abbey, on the border of the Pollacappull Lough which is linked to the Kylemore Lough a little bit further. In the South part of these loughs you can find the Twelves Bens and the Connemara National Park.
2nd stop in Galway. This city is as artistic as touristic. Lots of colors in it. The crack in this city has something special you can’t compare to any other city.
I’m away from the city to go to The Burrens. 2nd spot after the Giant’s Causeway that attracts me in Ireland. I didn’t know this place and I find it stunning ! One of the largest karst landscape in Europe. The rolling hills of Burren are composed of limestone pavements with crisscrossing cracks and it’s known for its remarkable assemblage of plants and animals. As we are in Ireland there must be a legend behind this … But for this one … there are too many legends …!

On the way to the South, around Cork. A really common city, and what’s around is better.
In Cobh (say “cove”). A seaport town, known to be the where the Titanic left to New York. The ironic thing is that a restaurant was opened and named “Titanic” by someone who won the lottery, but now it’s closed and falling into pieces … Apart from the well known ship, this town is also known to be from where irish would leave Ireland to escape from the Famine and to arrive to the Promise Land (USA). This town is the most colorful town I’ve seen so far !

“it’s a long way to Tipperary” … That’s what the song says … But for me it would be better to say “it’s so easy to get lost in Tipperary”.

I should be on the “magic way” … but couldn’t find it and I preferred to trust my sat nav … big mistake … I wanted to go on a spot I visited 15 years ago, I don’t think it has been demolished, but I arrived in the middle of nowhere surrounded by sheeps !

So I headed to Kilkenny, a beautiful small town, and I faced the Magners/Bulmers distillery (my fave cider), before being in Dublin.

Since I arrived in Dublin I have one song in mind “In Dublin fair city, where the girls are so pretty, I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone …” so I decided to go and say Hi to Molly.

The O’Connell Column (irish political leader who campaigned for the catholic emancipation), The Ha’ Penny Bridge (only paying bridge in Dublin that cost half a penny), Temple Bar (popular spot for nightlife in Dublin) … I wander in the streets as if I was here last month … although Temple Bar is really more popular as it was before … I wasn’t in Ireland but in Spain !

On my way to Belfast, where I stop by Slane Castle (I know it only because of U2’s concert given there years ago, and I was intrigued by the fact a group like U2 would be able to perform there). Little thought then to The Corrs as I passed through Dundalk, their hometown and where everything started for them (yes I was a fan years ago lol)
The mountains will tell me where Ireland ends as borders no longer exist.
Unlike Dublin where I still knew bits, it’s hard to remember places in Belfast. Only the City Hall brings me back to my souvenirs. I will only point out the fact that barriers that would block the streets when there was an alert no longer exist too …

Last hours in Belfast, I’m on my way to find these painted walls I have in mind since the 1st time I came here. I managed to find some but 2 grabbed my attention. The same as in Londonderry, you can feel the past of this city.
Taking then the direction to the docks where the Titanic was built. I know it was a massive ship … but didn’t expect it that huge ! That makes the tragic event more spectacular and kind of unbelievable !
Off to Carrickfergus, to enjoy the last hours before going to Larne, I wonder around the castle under a warm sun.

Which is obvious : There will be a part 2 to this trip ! I will never be fed up to visit this place, especially the Connemara.

~ Slàn ! ~

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