In my last post, Moher Risk, Moher Fun, you soared with me along the Cliffs of Moher, traveling onward to the city of Galway. Next up on our journey… Northern Ireland.
As we began our journey across the border to the north our first stop of the day was to a famous Anglo-Norman castle; Trim Castle.
If you’ve ever seen the movie Braveheart, you’ll recognize this landmark in a heartbeat. Construction of this castle began in 1176, taking over 30 years to complete. It is known as the largest Anglo-Norman castle and built in the territory of the Gaelic Irish, here conflict would begin.
The massive twenty-sided tower and three storied Keep, were the highlights of this castle’s architecture, making it the central stronghold for the Anglo-Normans.
We took a guided tour through the castle’s interior experiencing all levels of the Keep. I found it truly amazing to stand within such a monumental piece of history to Ireland. Surviving all this time, much of the castle still stands as a powerful symbol of Norman strength.
There is such beauty in the architecture both inside and out. It’s breathtaking to see a structure, much like Trim Castle, still standing so many years later.
Onward and upward, to the city of Belfast.
As the capitol of northern Ireland, this city is the heart of the world-wide known sectarian conflict between the Catholics and Protestants; also referred to as either “republican” or “loyalist”. The city is lined with walls distinguishing the areas between these two groups.
As we entered the city, I was struck by a great feeling of sorrow and dismay. We all have heard of the devastating incidences in Northern Ireland, but to then experience them right in front of you, is just an indescribable rush of emotions. Every country, every city has it’s turmoil and conflicts, but never have I experienced anything like this before.
We had the wonderful opportunity to take a Black Taxi toward through the city, seeing some it’s incredible historic highlights. This experience allowed us into a personal view-point, living through the eyes of our tour guides.
The streets of Belfast are lined with wall art full of propaganda and the city’s deep historical influence. Every image having it’s own story. I loved this about the city, it gave the city character and personality. You were able to feel as if you were there in these moment as you drive up and down the city streets.
One of the most iconic art walls is the Peace Wall. Here, people from all over the world have sign the wall recognizing the hope for peace among all people and nations.
We ended our first day here in Belfast, only to rest up and continue our adventure through Northern Ireland.
Our second day in Northern Ireland was probably my most memorable and favorite day of the trip.
We started our morning out to the northern coast at Giant’s Causeway.
As you stand along the hills of the coast, you’ll look down to the thousands of basalt columns tumbling into the great Atlantic. With nearly 40,000 hexagonal-shaped columns, the sight was epic! These incredible columns date back to nearly 60 million years. Wow, that is a long time ago!
The Irish legend behind the causeway is that long ago many of the giant’s despised one another. So one day Fionn, after enduring countless insults from Benandonner, decided to build a path to use a stepping stones in order to reach Scotland. This path was then destroyed and ripped away by Benandonner, leaving what remains today as Giant’s Causeway.
Puzzled by the geology of this magnificent stone work, we ventured through the staggering stones, hoping from one to the next you truly felt you were living in a fairy tale.
If you climb the 180 steps to the top of the hills, you can experience the causeway from a whole new perspective. We were blessed to have such a beautiful day here at the causeway, glistened by the sun.
This remarkable natural site is a must see on anyone’s journey through Ireland!
Everyone called it a ship of dreams, and it was. It really was.Rose ~ The Titanic
Next on our itinerary was Titanic Belfast; the birthplace of The Ship of Dreams.
Your journey begins as soon as you arrive at the museum. The building was built to resemble the hulls of 4 ships. The moment you walk through the doors the journey continues through 9 incredible galleries. The story of the Titanic is told from construction, fit out, launch and the tragedy which unfolded on its maiden set out.
You create a connections with the builders, designers, crew and passengers as you move your way though each gallery. Throughout the museum there are various view points which look out over the slip-ways where the Titanic was being built oh so many years ago.
This is another must stop attraction on your visit to Ireland.
We ended our adventure through the lands of Northern Ireland, getting a good nights rest preparing our selves for the last leg of our journey; Dublin!
Until Next Time,