Ireland…finally.

I flew into Belfast from Glasgow last week. And I am finally sitting down to write out my thoughts on the matter.

Belfast is nice. Since I flew over I heard from a well dress British lady that Belfast was “scary,” however I did not find it scary at all. I have met American tourists who are fearful and will probably not enjoy their holiday nearly as much as I am, because they can’t let go of the idea that someone is out to get them.

News flash: Everyone so far has been thrilled that I am an American. And apparently an American who can talk at the correct volume. However anyone who thinks they can pass as something else –you can’t. Not even a Canadian. Be kind and gracious, if you don’t know, ask. Most people are just people. Very few care about our politics. Or if they do, it rarely comes up if you are asking for directions or their recommendations on what to eat. The only time I spoke politics on this entire trip was someone said they did not understand the purpose of the primary election. Last night (I am in England now.) I met a Lebanese couple who own their own restaurant. When I admitted I had never had Lebanese food–they knew I was American. (Because my accent not because I never had Lebanese food.) All they said was, “What part of America are you from?” “Oh Seattle! I love Fraiser.” (I have also heard about Sleepless in SEattle and some detective show called the Killing which might have been Twin Peaks.) The wonders of television!

Belfast was a clean first world Irish city. (Yes it is officially part of the UK, but at least the people I talked to considered themselves Irish. I am not making any sort of political statement. Everyone was glad that the fighting had died down. The lady I stayed with–whose name was also Elizabeth–served me an Irish with breakfast, with Irish eggs, Irish sausages, etc in a traditional Irish Guesthouse with traditional Irish hospitality.  The girls in the cafe I went to and the men in the bakery all served Irish cream cakes and traditional Irish butter fudge of which I am now addicted.) There is no passport check between Belfast and Dublin. (Though there was after the ferry between Dublin and Wales.)

I went to the City Hall which is gorgeous. The photo is of the front exposure of the Town hall and of the statue of Queen Victoria who made Belfast a city in 1888.

Saint Anne’s Catherdral which was magnificent but I don’t believe in using a flash in a church. Sorry folks. And writer’s square.

I went window-shopping and finally bought myself a scarf since I was freezing, but thankfully berry-purple is an in color it was easy to match my coat.

The next morning I took the train and then the bus to Ballycastle–a cute as a button–harbor town. It used to centrally located due to the coal mining industry but since that died down. It is now a bit out of the way. Still it has a wonderful sandy beach and then there is a “Rambler bus” which goes to all the North Coast.

I loved Giant’s Causeway, it was everything that I dreamed it would be. I was fortunate to get on a chatty bus driver’s route. I discovered that she used to work for the National Trust and she knew all the stories about Finn McCool and his camel and his granny….

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