While writing my summary of yesterday’s activities I fell asleep because we had a very full day. Amy got onto the internet for a short time, but I was not able to get a summary of May 10th completed. Here goes a real quickie for yesterday.
We spent the day in Belfast, Northern Ireland – United Kingdom. It was by my request that we went to Belfast because I want to better understand the violent conflicts between the Protestants and Catholics that I remember hearing about when I was younger, among other things. We took a Black Taxis tour of the places most impacted by the sectarian violence from the period of the 1960’s through 1980’s. Belfast remains, as far as our limited experience permitted, peopled by those who are fearful, suspicious and lacking in general friendliness. As one man I talked to today said about this observation, “It is little wonder, since they have so much to get over after so much trouble.” I could say so much more – but must move on to today. Amy took ooddles of pictures of the many murals and important things we saw yesterday in Belfast.
DOUG’S DAY SUMMARY: TODAY, Wednesday, May11
Lovely 2-3 hour bus ride from Belfast to Dublin. We wandered around the city with all our 200+ lbs of luggage trying to find our hotel until finally we haled a taxi who took us back to near where we started. The cabby (in contradistinction to our last taxi driver in NY), with his cheerful encouragement and enthusiastic support of our plans for holiday, singled handedly made us feel like we have finally arrived in our Ireland dream trip.
After we quickly unpacked our gear we made our way to Trinity College for the Dublin walking tour we planned. As it turns out, we were the only ones to show up for the two hour tour – so our guide (John Gibney, a marvelous gentleman with a PH.D in history who does this on the side and for the love of telling the stories of Ireland) spent the next 3 ½ hours tourizing with us. He quickly learned that we have been preparing ourselves diligently for our trip, which turned our time together into serious extended conversations between what felt like friends. It was, providentially, the best possible time we could have had of tourizing. But I hadn’t had quite enough. I asked if he wanted to go get a pint with us. “Sure,” said he, “I have 30 minutes to an hour.” And so we talked even more comfortably. I will have to share more of the details of our time together for another time. After we finally, reluctantly parted, Amy and I walked around to find a nice place for dinner (Traditional lamb stew for me, and Beef Pie for Amy). We walked back to our hotel down the River Liffy, where so much of importance happened in connection with the independence of the Irish from England.
I’ll leave my summary at that for now – more later about this fantastic day!