6.30.09 Belfast, N. Ireland (to Dublin)

Larne Travel Blog

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6.30.09 Belfast, N. Ireland (to Dublin)

Belfast was really beautiful!  I expected big, industrialized city, but got sparkling and lovely with fabulous buildings, old Irish pubs, and lovely people.  We were so impressed with Belfast!

We walked 5 minutes from the campground, through the quaint town of Larne, to the train station.  For 15 Pounds total (they are part of Great Britain, so we use Pounds and measure in mph and not metric) we got round-trip tickets to downtown Belfast, nearly a full hour away.  The train was smooth and clean, a delightful ride indeed.

A free metro bus (pink) picks up every few minutes from the station (free if you took the rail into town) to tote you to the center, where you hop off at City Hall.  There is the ferris wheel (like a small London Eye) on that main square and enormous buildings. 

The monument to the Titanic is there too, as Belfast is where the ship was built and some residents died on it.  Shipbuilding is a part of Belfast's long history and we could see the gigantic, square, yellow arches used in hoisting the ships being built.

We enjoyed riding the ferris wheel (18P for family rate).  It circled 4 times with commentary inside our private capsule- it was like an overhead tour of the city!

We walked all over Belfast- beautiful!  Although there was a cruise ship in town, most of the people in town were locals.  It was a delightful time and we never felt or saw any of the issues that occasionally surface on the news.  Granted, we did not go into the neighborhoods where the segregation between Catholics and Protestants is found either.

We bought a sticker from Ulster, which is the N. Ireland province.  I found 2 "Ireland" stickers to every "Ulster" option.  The feeling of "one Ireland" with shared history, Irish pubs, etc. makes it difficult to separate the fact that half the country is part of Great Britian and the other the Republic of Ireland, it's own country. 

Finally, we took the once an hour train back to get Sugar from the campground by 3pm, check out time.  Check out times in Europe are far more reasonable than in the U.S.  The earliest checkout we've ever had in Europe was noon, I believe.

By 6pm we'd traversed Dublin traffic, gone around the M50 ring road, and arrived at the wonderful Dublin's Camac Valley Campground, where we had spent our first night on our own after leaving the Behan's.  It was like a homecoming and we were happy to see Tracy again.  After chatting about our travels, Tracy said that there was no charge for the night, in honor of our last night camping in Europe!  Wasn't that nice?  We later took her some wine and chocolates when we said goodbye .

Then we hopped the hourly bus into Dublin - it stops right in front of Camac Valley- and got off near the Gaiety Theatre, where we retrieved our 7/25 Raindance tickets, so that at least someone else can enjoy the show.  They did not offer any half-price tickets, even 20 minutes before their show.  But we were ready to enjoy Dublin.

We walked around St. Stephen's Square, the Trinity area again, and found a great pub with traditional Irish food.  We ordered cafeteria style and then sat in the dark wood, old pub and enjoyed our last night out in Ireland.  Delightful!

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photo by: Deftones