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Jacqui’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 18 Jul 2007

Location: Derry, Ireland

MapOur morning in Belfast w spent doing an amazing Black cab tour of the city. This gave us a great insight into the Ďtroublesí that have taken place here. We saw the peace wall, a huge wall that divides the catholic and protestant areas. All over it are messages of peace and tolerance written by people from all over the world. Our driver took us into both the catholic and protestant areas and gave us a very balanced view of the history of Northern Ireland. We saw the political murals that are painted on the walls of buildings on both sides.
We left Belfast and headed for the Giants Causeway, taking in a lot of beautiful coastal and highland scenery along the way. The Giants Causeway is and amazing natural feature of closely packed hexagonal stones and columns and is a world heritage site. The ancient people thought it was a causeway built by a giant so he could reach Scotland and the woman he loved. You can see why they thought this it looks almost man made and like it could have been the end of a long bridge. We spent a few hours walking around the site (at one point up a cliff which wasnít nice) and trying to find al the funny formations like the giants boot, his eye, organ pipes etc etc.
Last stop for the day was the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. Itís a 20m long, 1 m wide bridge of wire rope that spans the chasm between the sea cliffs and a small island. Itís about 30m up from the water. Itís about a km walk from the car park to the bridge and of course half way there it started 1. Pouring 2. Hailing 3. Lightning and 4. Thundering. Liz said there was no way she was going to let me do it, but i was determined. Luckily by the time w got there it had pretty much stopped raining. I didnít find it a problem to cross at all and it was kinda fun how it swayed in the wind, Liz took the photos!
Spent the night in Ballycastle on the coast where we had a karaoke night in one of the local pubs.
The next day we made our way to Glenveagh National Park. It was a beautiful place and we had a nice day to look around. Its highlight is Glenveagh Castle which is situated right on a lake. Itís a really cute little castle; we took a guided tour around the rooms. The symbol of the castle is the stag and it is seen everywhere, from the plates walls floors and antlers everywhere!
Got to Derry the other main city in Nth Ireland. This is where the massacre of Bloody Sunday took place, and here more than even Belfast you could feel the tension of the troubles. We took a guided walking tour of the city. It was done by a young catholic man who was so passionate about his country and its history that it made it a wonderful tour, one of my highlights. He put into context the Bloody Sunday story and a lot of the political history of Northern Ireland.
Had a traditional Irish music night tonight in Derry. Found a pub with a traditional band playing, and it was great. John our Irish friend showed us his Irish dancing skills! And under the influence of alcohol we all had a bit of a go!