Sorry for the delay in posting. I’d like to talk both my readers off their ledge: I promise I won’t be so lax in posting
ever again this week.
I mentioned a review of my trip to Northern Ireland…honestly, in hindsight it wasn’t much to talk about. Not to say it sucked in the least; quite the contrary, it was one of the most fun day trips I’ve ever taken. It started as all good car trips should start: we all overslept. We left about an hour late. The beauty part of all of that is that I didn’t care a bit. In fact, I think I said “Whatever. Who cares. I’m not in a hurry,” about 15 times. Never mind I had to be at the airport at 7am the next day.
Driving into Northern Ireland is strange, but not the kind of strange I could have taken a picture of. If not for the two currency exchange places and the sign that said “distance now expressed in miles,” I never would have known we had crossed an international border.
I wonder if it’s like that in other countries in the EU. I mean, getting into Canada from the States can be like the Spanish Inquisition, without any of the fear or surprise. Or ruthless efficiency. Anyway, there are twenty-five surly Canadians, and they all work border security.
I was welcomed into the UK by a very pleasant shopkeeper at a petrol station about a mile into NI. I wanted a Coke; she wanted to know where we were from, where we were heading, and offered some advice on routes and what to see. Charming, honestly. Sure beats the stinky, unshaven person at the local Getty station. And she never says boo to anyone.
Moving on…I didn’t know this, but there’s an enormous lake in the middle of Northern Ireland. Actually, I didn’t know shit about Northern Ireland beyond the IRA, Gerry Adams, and this cute black-haired girl I hooked with on a cruise back in my teenage years. I was always a sucker for accents.
Back to the lake. Lough. Whatever. Lough Neagh sits off-center in the country, but directly in the way of a Dublin to Bushmills drive. We decided that it would be scenic to drive around the lake to the west on the way up, taking smaller country roads (B routes) and stopping for lunch in a lakeside town. The roads lived up to their billing; the lake was less than scenic. Of course, it was a kinda overcast day. But if that’s what your country is like 80% of the time, you’d think they’d factor that into the scenicness of the lake.
No matter. So we couldn’t find a cute lakeside pub. Undaunted, we stopped for lunch in Coalisland. Sounds like a highly flammable (and polluting) place, but in fact it’s just a cute little 90-someodd percent Catholic town smack in the middle of Northern Ireland.
After a nice lunch (my first hamburger on the trip, and honestly not a bad one), we headed further north, through Coleraine and Portrush to the Giant’s Causeway. Rather than trying to explain to you both what that is, I’ll let the National Trust do it for me. Click through to get to the higher-res version.
We spent a good deal of time at the Causeway. We walked a nice loop, down to the causeway to begin with, then up to the Organ, then to the clifftop for some spectacular views. I could say more, but honestly, I’ll let the photos do the talking.
The Causeway was awesome. After the Causeway, we headed east around the Lough, around Antrim and through Belfast. I saw very little of Belfast, so me saying it seemed just a bit nicer than Worcester, Mass. may just be an uninformed opinion. Let’s call it Fall River and be done with it.
Stopped for dinner in Newry. Stopped to pee on the shoulder, about 6 miles short of Newry. I just couldn’t make it. Anyway, It seemed like a nice town, except that it was almost all closed. Ate at a nice restaurant though. Had a steak sandwich, which featured a very tasty steak on some ho-hum toasted bread with some generally awful onions. And I got a salad instead of chips. Dumbass. Easily the worst salad ever, unless you like your greens limp and tasteless.
We got back to Dublin around midnight, at which point I
packed and got a good nights sleep shoved my crap into the suitcase and stayed up too late playing with my photos.
Thus endeth my trip to Ireland, save for the random musician sighting at the airport. Stay tuned for completely mundane, mildly snarky posts about “normal” life.