It’s easy to lose track of everything with this virus taking over the world, but today is St Patrick’s Day, and my Irish surname demands I acknowledge it!
A picture taken in Dublin during my last trip to Ireland: a Guinness truck with a reflection of the famous Ha’penny Bridge:
A trip to the isolated Devenish Island in Northern Ireland yesterday afternoon.
And sunset in Enniskillen.
County Tyrone, and Omagh in particular, are associated with the worst bomb of The Troubles in Northern Ireland, and other than the Ulster American Folk Park, you’re not going to find many (or any) tourists.
Below is the town of Omagh itself, including the interior of the Catholic church and the Sinn Féin office, and also the folk park.
Morning views from our apartment in Enniskillen (Northern Ireland), which is right on Lough Erne.
Also, Slieve League, Europe’s tallest cliffs, in Donegal (Republic of Ireland). They are three times the height of the much more famous Cliffs of Moher.
And Donegal Castle.
And Tully Castle (in Northern Ireland).
Few places in Northern Ireland were as politically charged during The Troubles as Derry (or Londonderry, depending on your views).
Below is the iconic (Catholic) sign – it’s not usually pink!, followed by the Unionist side of town (note the streets painted red, white and blue). Also a Catholic church, the Protestant cathedral, and an Australian flag with the Union Jack covered over!
Yesterday we visited Downhill (or what’s left of it!), which is in County Londonderry in Northern Ireland.
Built by the bizarre English aristocrat Frederick, 4th Earl of Bristol and Lord Bishop of Derry – yes, he was both – the house is now a ruin, but the Mussenden Temple perched on the cliff at the edge of the estate survives. It is said he kept his mistress there.
I visited Dunluce Castle yesterday afternoon (and it was free because of a European heritage weekend!). That’s me in the last picture, rushing back to the car when it started pouring rain!
I’ve been to the castle before, but forgot how enormous it is, on the edge of a windy cliff. A few centuries ago some of the castle actually fell into the sea.
The Carrick-Rede Rope Bridge, the Giant’s Causeway, Ballintoy etc. County Antrim has been totally overrun with silly Game of Thrones tour groups since I was last here (they did a lot of filming in the region), but it’s still spectacular.
What you can’t tell from the pictures is how wild the weather was yesterday!
We left Belfast yesterday morning, and are now staying in the Antrim coast town of Ballycastle for a few nights. The town is famous for being the place the world’s first telegraph was sent. Robert the Bruce also went into hiding on the island just off the mainland.
We have a three-storey house all to ourselves, overlooking the harbour! You can see Scotland from here.
The view from my bedroom this morning:
The famous, heritage listed Victorian pub The Crown in Belfast on our last afternoon there:
Carrickfergus Castle north of Belfast, which is a big fortress with an important history:
The Antrim Coast route:
And Ballycastle Harbour:
Here is the oldest tavern in Belfast, where we had lunch yesterday. It is from 1630.