We left Cairnryan, Scotland, on board the Super-fast ferry, 2 hours later we arrived in a wet and overcast Belfast. After a short and informative ride in a cab we arrived at our accomodation on Dublin Road and began the unpacking and setting up phase followed by some ‘hunting and gathering’ at the Tesco across the street. We then set off in search of a restaurant for dinner. We didn’t have far to go; next door was a place called Kitch Restaurant. We had an absolutely fantastic meal there, and so if you’re ever in Belfast, look them up and make a booking.
On Wednesday morning we visited the Titanic Museum , an amazing museum, fantastic displays, you could easily spend a couple of days to take it all in. The highlight was an experience of what it would have been like as a worker building the hull of the ship.
In the afternoon we did a great walking tour called Conflicting Stories, where we listened to and visited various significant sites with a Republican and Loyalist ex-political prisoners. They each gave their versions of events during the ‘the troubles’. The first hour and a half was spent going from Divis Towers to Bombay Road hearing the Republican’s stories and views. We then passed through the electronically controlled gates into the predominantly protestant area of the The Shankill Road and met our second guide, the Loyalist ex-political prisoner. He took us through his area and down the Shankill Road shared his personal story. Although their versions of the troubles were conflicting, the one thing they agreed on was a hope and dream for peace to continue, and that future generations will not to go back to the days of ‘the troubles’.
The next day we took another tour to the Giants Causeway. We left Belfast at 9.15am in the morning and headed through the countryside, taking in spectacular coastal and inland views. Barbara and I left the coach (the only people to do so!) to do a coastal walk with a local guide, Gerald, who we met at Portballintrae. We walked the 5km’s from Portballintrae to the Giant’s Causeway, the views from the high cliffs were spectacular, as was the wind that at times blew us up the hills and other times we fought to make progress We explored the Giants Causeway with Gerald who had a fountain of knowledge about the area and a great passion for telling his stories. We then rejoined the bus and headed to the Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge and made the treacherous crossing using the rope bridge about 30 metres above the very rough ocean. The tour finished with a visit to Bushmills Whiskey Distillery.
Friday morning saw us in a taxi to catch the 7:30 ferry back to Scotland, followed by 2 train rides before arriving in Glasgow. We had a very unhelpful taxi driver who dumped us ‘somewhere near’ the address we were going to. After some frustrating searching we eventually found what we were looking for.
First night in Glasgow, did some shopping at Sainsbury’s for essentials (milk, bread and tonic water) then went out to dinner to another fantastic restaurant, Celinos Trattoria . Once again great service, atmosphere, and the food, brilliant! Another restaurant that we went to was The Ox and Finch where we enjoyed an amazing lunch with fantastic food and great service (the beer was good too).
We bought a 2 day pass for the Hop on, Hop off Tourist bus, just to see the highlights and to give our tired feet a bit of time off. We managed to visit Glasgow Cathedral, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Riverside Museum, Gallery of Modern Art, various other sites and of course a few pubs along the way.
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cheerio the nou
Lance & Barbara