Ireland's political struggle.

Belfast Travel Blog

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Celtic cross in Monasterboice.

My new digital camera is already not working, so I have almost no pictures of my Paddywagon bus tour around Ireland:( I'm hoping to get some off other people on the tour.

My Paddywagon tour went for six days around all of Ireland. My group consisted almost completely of Aussies, majority being female (no fun for the single girls). I was surprised that the tour drivers were all wankers, but the tour itself was still heaps of fun with lots to see.

Our first two days were spent in Northern Ireland, which remains part of the United Kingdom. There are a few differences between here and the Republic - their accents are more difficult to understand, they use pounds, and there are blue, white and red stripes painted on the pavement in Protestant areas.

Me at the entrance of a monk's tower in Monasterboice.
But interestingly, there are no border crossings of any sort between the Republic of Ireland and this provence. I managed to see Ireland's two most important films, 'Bloody Sunday' and 'Michael Collins', to get the history of this struggle for territorial control into perspective.

Our first day was spent driving around to see lots of graves and ruins. We had a quick photo stop at Slane castle, where only one rock concert is allowed each year (U2 and Madonna have performed there), and then headed on to Derry. Derry (or Londonderry as it's called by the English) is where Bloody Sunday occured in 1972 when thirteen Catholic civil rights marchers were killed by English soldiers. There are a number of murals commemorating this and other deaths, such as a young girl who was shot while picking up plastic bullets to sell to journalists for a few pennies.

Old ruins.

The first night was spent enjoying pizza and the best punch I've ever tasted. The rule was that everyone had to skull the first cup and then sip the second, but this stuff was so easy to drink that we went through two big pots, leaving everyone on very friendly terms. We headed out to one of the only bars in town where a few of the girls got into the karaoke and the only two single guys checked out the local talent.

On the second day, we visited the Giant's Causeway, a group of oxygon-like coastal rock formations that has a legend about giants to go with it. I had an awesome steak and guinness casserole for lunch before we ended up in Belfast to take a famous black cab tour. The tour was really interesting, seeing first-hand the war zone between Protestants and Catholics. Belfast's city centre is actually quite attractive, but then you see the barbed wire fences and remember where you are. The tour takes you to the peace wall and murals in both sections commemorating each sides' heroes.

narmour says:
Have to say if you watched bloody sunday and michael collins you cant have got much perspective on the struggle here... two very one sided films!!! the loyalist side isnt covered by hollywood because it isnt deemed romantic enough. Dont forget that the IRA are murderers.
Posted on: Jun 19, 2007
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Celtic cross in Monasterboice.
Celtic cross in Monasterboice.
Me at the entrance of a monks tow…
Me at the entrance of a monk's to…
Old ruins.
Old ruins.
Slane castle, where there is only …
Slane castle, where there is only…
Protestant mural in Belfast.
Protestant mural in Belfast.
Graffiti on the peace wall in Belf…
Graffiti on the peace wall in Bel…
The Paddywagon group in front of t…
The Paddywagon group in front of …
Coastal shot.
Coastal shot.
photo by: vulindlela