Our next visit was to the Bunratty Castle and folk park. At a glance this appears as a tower which was a wooden fortress in the thirteenth century. We climbed some narrow stairs to get into the building and even the steps inside were quite narrow. This castle was known for its spirited frequent entertainment events and the folk park giving visitors a historical look into the culture of the Irish people.
musician outside of the castle in the courtyard
I was delighted that we would be visiting the Cliffs of Moher anything with water, waterfalls, the ocean appeals to me. Unfortunately when we got to the cliffs it was misty and overcast. We were able to recognize the outline but missed out on the beauty so I had to be content with a video to return home with. We would not be able to return because we were moving on. Could not believe that as we descended the hillside the sun came out as bright as ever. We did not miss out on the landscape of the Burren region. This area looks like glaciers with the Atlantic Ocean in the background and appeared highly vegetated. If you are spending a few days in the area this seems an area to visit and explore. Just to give you an idea of the visibility at the cliffs.
We made a brief stop at the Belleek pottery factory another opportunity to see artisans at work and to experience a product from beginning to finish. This factory is the oldest working fine china factory in Ireland. A pleasant walk along the street in Belleek village was quite picturesque. From the upper floors you get a grand view of the River Erne. If you were not inclined to stroll around there is a nice little garden, opposite the factory close to the the river Erne, with chairs for you to relax.
Still in Northern Ireland we stopped at The Ulster American Folk Park which is an outdoor museum focusing on those who left Ulster for America in centuries about 18th to 20th. There were displays of traditional clothing arts and crafts with opportunities for interaction.
Just about an hour’s ride from Galway we visited the Kylemore Abbey, situated on the banks of Kylemore lake, as you walk towards the building this is what you see.
It was a slightly damp day but depending on where you were as you walk towards the building, the colour changes of course that is from my perspective and from a photograph I captured above.
About 60 miles from Belfast is the UNESCO site, Giants Causeway, and we headed out via the scenic Coastline route. We made a stop at the Carnlough Harbor popular for being included in the popular film Game of Thrones. The view along the way offered rugged cliffs, the ocean and churches. Interestingly as we passed through a town there was a funeral procession what was interesting was that the hearse was ahead and the casket was being carried by pallbearers on foot. I wondered whether this was an isolated case or this is a custom.
There are vantage points where you can get great views of the surroundings and certainly not to be missed is the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. Although we were not at the bridge we had a great view of the bridge. I would have loved to have gotten a close up look although I know I would not be walking on the bridge. Not that adventurous.
Giants Causeway is formed from a volcanic eruption. The area consists of stacks of tubular shaped rocks which look like someone created the stack. Well let the pictures speak for themselves.
There is an incline to get to where you can get an up close view and walk over the terrain that could be challenging for some. Fortunately there is a shuttle that goes up and down.
In Belfast we did a bus tour around town with a display of some beautiful buildings. Their buildings seem so strongly built and quite majestic.
We also visited Stormont Estate region with its beautifully manicured grounds and a great view from Carson’s statue.
Falls road and the neighborhood reflected a lot of history particularly the murals. These murals included political icons and conflicts. What was striking was how defined the division is whereby we could not enter certain parts in fact there were gates enclosing the sections. There were a lot of British flags and pictures of the Queen in one area and absent from the other clearly the divide still exists.
Included in the murals was one of Leonard Peltier an American of the indigenous tribe who is imprisoned for killing an FBI agent.
Sinn Fein building on which Bobby Sands mural is located. Sinn Fein is a Republican political party.
Situated on Crumlin road is the Crumlin Road Gaol (jail) which was closed only in 1996. The building is now used for events such as weddings, dinning and other celebrations and open for visitors to tour. This was an enlightening tour especially knowing that the institution was still in use until quite recently.
A visit to the Titanic Belfast Museum should not be missed. There are interactive displays, recreation of decks and cabin, articles retrieved from the wreckage and logs depicting times of communication during the emergency situation.
The special effects and theatrics really gave one a real experience. Well this took us across the country from the republic to the north, I am sure this was only a taste of what Ireland has for the inquiring minds to explore.