Woodford Green

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Here’s the first house we lived in in Northern Ireland. It was in the “greater Belfast area” but by 1970 we’d found our way to Fitzwilliams street in central Belfast.

Ireland Trip Pictures

Ahh, yes the moment you’ve all been waiting for … my pictures from Ireland. Sit back, grab a handful of popcorn, and enjoy the show. Donations will be taken later … remember we depend on your generosity. Thanks in advance (just read “The Power of Positive Thinking” … or at least as far as you know).

The trip started in Belfast and being a fan of chronological order I’ll start there:

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Botanic Street is filled with cool and mildly-edgy stores that gives the vibe of the new Belfast … a city of growing wealth with youth (Botanic leads into Queens University), attitude and a history that threatens and a contrasting modern face that welcomes. I will point out, however, that underneath the cool is the beginnings of conformity that is officially endorsed by the introduction of a Starbucks (bottom right).

 

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Back in the early 70’s we lived on Fitzwilliam Street which is near Botanic street and literally pours into the main entrance of Queens University. Our flat, #61, has been converted into three apartments now and apparently is now on sale (the black doored flat on the right side of the building). On the bottom you’ll see shots from the back alleyway and also an advert from next door which has apparently been converted into a backpackers flop. 

 

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Queens University doesn’t have a massive campus but it does have some impressive buildings as frontage. My father taught Physics here when we were residents.

 

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I definitely remember visiting the Botanic Gardens as a kid and on this trip it proved to be the strongest of my remembrances of Belfast. I distinctly remember going through the rows and rows of flowers with my mother. As an adult the scale was slightly diminished but the Botanic gardens are still very impressive at any age. Unfortunately for me the Ulster Museum was closed for refurbishment. The Ulster Museum is where my clearest memory of all comes from … the big map of Ireland which had buttons you could press that then lit up sections of the country. What could be cooler for a future gadget freak.

 

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As I left Belfast I headed up the coastal A2 and was lucky enough to get perfect weather. Along the way were ocean views intermixed with the green patchwork that makes up the Irish farmland. Occasionally the traditional beauty would give way to a more rugged beauty as seen in the picture at the bottom.

 

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Once reaching the Antrim coastline I stopped at the first tourist hotspot … Carrick-A-Rede (the rope bridge). It was a vacation season, however, and it was a 45 minute wait to get a ticket. I opted out and took pictures around the area which was fantastic.

 

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The next stop was Giant’s Causeway and again the main attraction was a bit too crowded so I took the path less traveled which was a 5mi cliff walk. It’s amazing how a little exercise will scare most tourists off.

 

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Later in the day I went to the Dunluce Castle (top two pics), and then to Mussenden Temple on the Downhill estate (lower pics).

 

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The last stop in Northern Ireland was Derry. As I’d gotten a late start I didn’t do a lot in Derry but did have a chance to have a Guinness and then take a stroll on the wall around the old city.

 

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Donegal was stunning, however, unlike my tour of the Antrim coast the weather started to become unpredictable … torrential rain was followed 10 minutes later by blue skies and then back again. Fortunately for me it seemed that where ever I went it cleared by the time I got there.

Only 5 minutes before they kick me out of the Internet Cafe so I’ll make this a quick update … day 5 was a tour of Donegal. In the morning I went to Glenveagh National Park and did a small walk. It was sunny intermixed with showers but overall it was nice. The afternoon was a total washout, heavy rain made for a less interesting update but I did tour around in the car and it was still pretty fun. Ok, that’s it for now.

BTW, what is it with Ireland and Led Zepplin? A few days back I saw a woman with a Led Zepplin concert teeshirt. I noticed it but didn’t think too much about it but since then I’ve seen at least half a dozen people with similar looking shirts. What doing? Maybe Jon Bonham never died but moved to Ireland and Zepplin has quietly started doing tours there again?