Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Derry, Northern Ireland & Dublin, Ireland

While the girls were having a blast exploring Dublin, BF and I decided to drive up to Derry, Northern Ireland for a day trip. BF had wanted to go to Belfast when we were in Ireland in 2009, but it didn't work out because we had such limited time, so this time, Northern Ireland was on the top of his list. I was not quite as eager. Not because I didn't want to go, but because of all of the unrest and "The Troubles," which, though "officially" over are still somewhat ongoing. There were riots going on in Belfast (not uncommon, but still), and we had no idea what Derry was going to be like.

But we went anyway, and I am SO glad that we did.

Derry is one of the only remaining European cities with fully intact city walls. Our tour had us walking the walls!
Derry is an amazing, historic city. It's quite lovely, and though we only spent about 5 hours there, we really enjoyed it. A large reason we enjoyed it so much is that we ended up taking a tour from the tourist center and our tour guide was kick ass. He had lived in Derry through all of the history he was telling us about, and was personally and emotionally invested in the city. It was his passion for Derry that made us enjoy it so much.

This loyalist neighborhood was marked by painted curbs.

View from the city walls of the Bogside (left), the Catholic district where the Battle of the Bogside and Bloody Sunday occurred. To the right is where the British Army was stationed.

The Bogside Bloody Sunday murals from afar.

The outskirts of Derry didn't feel as safe as the city center - there was just a kind of strange energy about it. But I'm very glad that we didn't end up skipping the day trip, because Derry was definitely an interesting place to visit.

The following day, we packed up and headed out of Co. Donegal to Dublin. We returned our rental car and checked into the hotel. The girls were still on a day tour, so BF and I went out exploring. We were in search of a sports shop where BF could load up on some rugby stuff, and instead ended up wandering around and ultimately stopping for a pint. We met up with the girls and went out to dinner, had delicious sticky toffee pudding with custard (photo below!) and then had entirely too much to drink at a pub down the way from our hotel. It was lovely!

The following morning we checked out of our hotel and left our bags at the lobby while we went out exploring again before our 6pm flight to Italy. We hit up the National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology & History, my favorite thing in Dublin, and once again saw the Bog Bodies exhibit. That exhibit is seriously one of the coolest I've seen - and the best part is that the museum is free!

Bog bodies are crazy cool - this one is dated between 400 BC and 200 BC! (click on the photo for the source)

After spending a good chunk of the morning at the Archaeology museum, we did some shopping and drank some tea! I actually enjoyed Dublin more this time around - maybe because we didn't spend as much time there?

The hotel we stayed in shares a building with the Dublin Fire Brigade!

Ha' Penny bridge!

River Liffey on a gorgeously overcast day!

Finally, we wrapped up our time in Ireland and zipped over to the airport for our flight to Rome! Our days in Ireland were refreshing and great, even though we were exhausted by the time we got to Italy!

Ciao Ireland!

Next up: Rome, Tuscany, and a gorgeous wedding!

1 comment:

Jo said...

Hello! I just found your blog through a link to the photo of the "bog body"in the Dublin museum. Four friends and I just got home this weekafter our own European adventure, and reading your blog is bringing back such lovely memories. I love the photos too. Glad you enjoyed your travels! The history walking tour of Ireland that left from outside Trinity College was also very interesting.