Friday, June 17, 2011

Wheeling Through Ireland

We left early from Glasgow to catch the ferry to Ireland. Belfast was our first stop, although stop is a bit of a misnomer, because we pretty much just drove around town with a local guide pointing out the sights before heading on to Dublin. The ferry ride had taken three hours, so it was after lunch by time we arrived in Belfast. While there, we saw some Protestants parading in honor of William of Orange, whom they referred to as King Billy, according to our guide. That gives a whole new meaning to the expression of Friends of Bill, although the original one might just as easily apply. We drove around a largely Protestant neighborhood and a largely Catholic neighborhood to look at the graffiti, really large murals. I took a few pictures through the bus windows:

Bernadette Devlin

The Titanic was built in Belfast.

We also got to see the Beacon of Hope sculpture:

Beacon of Hope
Then on to Dublin. Once we were in the Republic of Ireland, the currency changed from pounds to euros. We weren't able to see as much as we wished in Dublin, because our good luck with the weather ran out and it started to rain. After a morning bus tour of the city to orient us, hubby and I went to the art museum, which was undergoing renovation so only part of the collection was open, and a museum of natural history, and had lunch in an interesting old restaurant.

Restaurant where we ate lunch

Flowers for sale on the street

St. Stephen's Green

Georgian houses reflected in new office building windows
Our second night in Dublin we went to a restaurant for a dinner and cabaret with Irish singing and dancing. Some of our group got called up to the stage to join the dancers, but they passed over me for some reason.

We left Dublin to go to Kildare to see the National Stud Farm, a name that makes me giggle. I'm an adolescent at heart. We had a beautiful day for it, and the farm was beautiful, too, with a Japanese Garden in addition to the horses.

Mares and Foals

He's a stud.
The Japanese Gardens were a treat because it was the first place I had been where sitting down was a real advantage in taking pictures. (Hubby said, "Speak for yourself." He really needs a vacation from his vacation.)

From Kildare we went to Waterford, our last stop in Ireland, and my favorite. It really is pretty, and we saw a large flock of swans on the Suir (pronounced "sewer"). We of course had a tour of the Waterford plant and an opportunity to shop in the gift shop. I looked for possible Christmas gifts, but I didn't see anything I thought my friends and relatives would really use. The plant had a platform lift to get visitors in wheelchairs up to the viewing platform to see the craftspeople at work, which I appreciated.

Cinderella's coach

Waterfront at Waterford
Swans on the Suir

The next day, we got up early again to catch the ferry to Wales. That will be my next episode.


  1. Flower seller is on Grafton Street, yes? I'm in Dublin this weekend for LGBT Pride (a historical walk of gay Dublin yesterday, and a comedy show in Pantibar shortly) and for the Street Performance World Championships, which were wonderful!

    I'll be back next weekend, for the Pride Parade, if I can afford the train fair.


  2. Yes, the flower seller is on Grafton Strret.
    It sounds like I just missed all the good stuff.

  3. I enjoyed Ireland so much when I was there a few years ago, but considering that I learn a place by walking, that would be quite difficult in your circumstance. My favorite part was the landscape, but we went way out West, where hardly anyone visits. I also had the fortunate experience of being able to speak to a lot of Irish people through intensive interviews, since I did my thesis on an issue there.

  4. Also, I particularly liked the photo of the Georgian houses reflected in the new office buildings!

  5. Thanks, willbike, that shot was actually suggested by our tour guide. Your trip sounds wonderful. I know what you mean about learning a place by walking. My husband and I usually do a lot of walking on our trips, and I know it was frustrating for him not being able to do as much as he wanted since he had to look after me. When my son gets his next work visa he is going to be living in London for a year or possibly two, so we'll be able to go back and visit him and maybe get to Ireland again.