Ireland – Best of the Rest

Part III – Norther Ireland and Dublin

This last entry of our Ireland adventure covers the best of the rest. If you need a recap – read part I and part II.

Slieve League

As we have skipped the famous Cliffs of Moher it was finally time to visit some serious cliffs.

However before that we stopped at Donegal Wool where we saw some weavers in actions. The looms are more than 90 years old and it’s still a lot manual labor. For sure there was also a wool shop attached to the delight of Hazel.

A few Euro lighter we arrived at the cliffs and they are indeed impressive. Although much less famous than the ones at Moher they are about three times as high.

We are convinced that on a clear day one can (almost) see the coast of Canada.

Slieve League
Slieve League

Troubles in Northern Ireland

Next stop was already Derry in Northern Ireland. The boarder between the Republic and the UK is barely noticeable – only km/h changes to mph (and cynics would say the quality of food drops a notch).

Together with Belfast Derry was a hotspot of the Northern Ireland conflict. The conflict had (or rather still has) many aspects but is mainly about a unified Ireland versus status quo (Wikipedia has a good article).

Besides the pretty peace bridge there are several murals (wall paintings) which are a living memory of the troubled history.

Mural in Derry
Mural in Derry

Top North

The next day we visited the far north of Northern Ireland. First stop was Dunluce Castle. The ruins still hints the former grandeur of the place.

In rather dull weather we continued to the Giant’s Causeway with its bizarre stone formation. If you every go there you can avoid the overpriced (EU-finance) tourist center and just park at the local heritage railway station.

And for the first time in two weeks we encounter the dearly missed bus loads of tourists. However they spread out nicely and we enjoyed the scenery and the hike up to the cliffs. Again Ireland at its best.

Giant's Causeway (and some climbing Tourists)
Giant’s Causeway (and some climbing Tourists)

In the afternoon we continued to Belfast with a stop at the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge (weather was so bad we only had a look from far) and at the Dark Hedges.

Kevin at the Dark Hedges
Kevin at the Dark Hedges

Belfast

Besides nice Chinese Food the capital of Northern Ireland offered another historical view into The Troubles. We were impressed by the peace wall (which was a wall to separate the two sides), murals and preparations for the yearly bonfires (a bit like the Swiss Sechseläuten with no horses one might say).

Getting Ready for some serious Celebrations
Getting Ready for some serious Celebrations

Dublin’s Fair City

We can’t say if the girls in Dublin’s Fair City are really as pretty as in the old Irish folk song.

Nevertheless it’s worthwhile to spend some time there.

After some yummy scones for breakfast we visited Trinity College where they store the Book of Kells – a famous old Gospel book. However we were even more impressed by the fantastic Long Room. The library reading hall lacked nothing in grandeur and is definitely worthwhile a visit.

Trinity College 
(wondering how many late return fees are still outstanding)
Trinity College
(wondering how many late return fees are still outstanding)

The Chester Beatty Library was our chosen stop in the afternoon. The excellent exhibition shows a fantastic collection of books with impressive hand made covers (it was much more interesting than it sounds here).

Our last day in Ireland had a split program. While Hazel conquested every single art and wool shop in the capital I was heading to the Guinness Brewery.

It was indeed a lovely Day
It was indeed a lovely Day

The very modern exhibition shows with little modesty how the Dark Stuff is made and why it must be ‘Good for You’. Very educational after all.

Good Bye Green Island

That was it already from Ireland. We really loved it. It’s definitely a country which is all about nature, rough landscapes and very friendly people. If you are into this kind of stuff – don’t wait and go.

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