My husband and I spent ten days driving around Ireland. The blue line on the map below illustrates our route, beginning and ending in Dublin on the east coast. This blog is Part I of II from Dublin, in the Republic of Ireland, north through Northern Ireland to Derry.

I nicknamed this trip the “Flinching Tour” as one or both of us was always flinching as were a) driving on the “wrong side” and b) passing cars and huge trucks withing inches (make that centimeters) on the very narrow roads.

The Irish were so warm, welcoming, and fun!

"What butter and whiskey will not cure, there is no cure for."


Celtic Dancing

A favorite of the trip was the Celtic Nights show in Dublin. A great emcee led the traditional step dancing and music that filled the room with a vibrant energy and more than a bit of awe. Our table was adjacent to the stage and I was afraid they’d kick my camera.

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Northern Ireland, especially Belfast, was the site of the “Troubles” in the 1970s. In short, the Protestants wanted Northern Ireland to remain in the UK whereas the Catholics wanted Northern Ireland to leave the UK and join a united Ireland. The propaganda and hatred in evidence in the protestant areas were stunning. Reminded me of the KKK. They even have an annual burning of a 30 foot tall bonfire, dress in white robes, and fly the Nazi flag. Really.

Then there's the wall

The “Peace Wall” they call it. Sure it is. It’s a 20 foot tall and 4 foot thick concrete wall that runs for half a mile, separating the Protestants and the Catholics. Our guide told stories of lobbing missles over the wall when he was a kid.

The "Peace Wall." Note the extensions at the top.

The yellow gates separate the Protestant and Catholic areas and are close from 6 pm to 6 am every day.

We signed the Peace Wall in support of compassion and peace.

Onto a happier note, shall we?

We then headed to the north coast so I could shoot the Giant’s Causeway, a World Heritage Site, with tens of thousands of interlocking basalt columns. It was a wonderland of shapes and colors. And, it was pouring rain, again, a common occurrence on this trip. But I wasn’t to be deterred.

next up - carrick-a-rede rope bridge. Hold onto your hat!

Final stop for Part I as we leave Northern Ireland is Londonderry (to the British) or Derry (to the Irish). This was the site of Bloody Sunday where British soldiers killed 14 Irish participating in a peaceful protest during the “Troubles.” The neighborhood is covered with murals dedicated to honoring the heros of Bloody Sunday and encouraging peace.

To be continued in Ireland: Part II of II...