7.14.2015

The Emerald Isle

And now it's time to talk about my solo trip to Northern Ireland! I've spent a day in Chicago by myself before, and many solitary days when I lived in Paris...so it's not like I'd *never* gone anywhere alone. But this still felt like a first. I was a little nervous to explore this foreign country all on my own, but my fears were instantly tamed when I found out how insanely nice the people of Belfast were. Culturally, this was one of my favorite experiences on the trip to discover how kind and helpful the people here were. And how insanely GREEN their land is. Holy cow. 


The whole reason I chose to come to Belfast was because I wanted to explore THIS castle (Dunluce Castle.) Unfortunately the tour I was on gave us five minutes there... and this was the closest I got :( When I told an Irish cab driver about that later he said with his thick accent "That's just not right."


Luckily, exploring the Giant's Causeway made up for A LOT.


Obligatory selfie on the Causeway.


This insanely unique coastline is made up of octagonal shaped rocks.


These rocks sprout up from the ground at varying heights and look AMAZING.


They're not hard to climb, because they all look like little stepping stones.


But before you know it, you've climbed pretty high!


Next our tour took us to this stunning coastline.


There's something about that water accross the pond.


This is the Carrick a rede rope bridge! It's a lot smaller than it looks. But it connects the peninsula to a separate little island where across the way you can see Scotland!


Here's a view from the treacherous bridge...that's actually really safe and quite short.


I'm telling you. I probably saw enough green to last me for the rest of my life here.


It even finds its way onto the water.


After my tour, I checked into "The Merchant Hotel" which among the locals is a BIG deal. Everyone I told acted like I was staying at the Plaza. "The Merchant Hotel!?" Well look at you..


Pretty nice digs. I visited the sauna, steam room and had a massage in the spa. It was quite divine actually. After the girl (whose favorite word to say in between words was "wee") finished she led me to a relaxation room where I sat in my robe, was given a bowl of berries and a stack of magazines to relax to my heart's content.


On my second day in Belfast, I explored more of the city. The yellow crane in the background is key to their skyline and is actually what the Titanic was constructed under. It's Belfast's claim to fame.


On the other side of the fish you can see the clock tower.


The city was full of beautiful monuments and buildings similar to this, but this one helped me to anchor where I was when I got lost.


But getting lost was fun too because I'd stumble onto areas like this.


And charming side streets.


Believe it or not, this was a cool parking lot!


I also saw some familiar signs. Close Belfast...real close.


Then I decided I needed to make up for not seeing more of Dunluce Castle, by visiting Belfast Castle.


Which my cabby told me he didn't actually consider to be a "REAL" castle... just a nice estate.


Well okay then.


Pretty nice "house"


My FAVORITE part though was discovering THIS. 


A garden decorated with a wonderful theme: CATS.


The sign said there were nine references. But I could only find four.


I think this sculpture was my favorite.


But all the grounds were beautiful!


Yeah. Quite the fancy house indeed. I'm really glad I got to see this.


Then I headed to the Titanic museum, which all the locals told me was a MUST see. Unfortunately by the time I got there, most everything was closed.


But I did get to see one of the Titanic's tugboats.


And the gift shop featuring play versions of the Heart of the Ocean. Maybe not the best kids jewelry..


Then I attempted to down this beauty at Maggie May's. It was amazing. But I could only go halfway.


In that area of town, I also stopped by the Botanical Gardens since you know I love my Greenhouses.


And it was lovely.


And with that, I took my last look at the gardens of Belfast, said goodbye to the city and hopped on yet another plane. And like that...we're almost finished with my giant European recap. Only one country remains: FRANCE, the place where my heart lies.  If you're late to the party and have missed any of my other European adventures you can find my post on England HERE. If you missed Italy you can find it HERE. Greece you can take a look HERE. And Croatia can be found HERE

2 comments:

Johanna said...

Ah, now I really, really want to see Ireland.

Sarah said...

You really fit a lot into your short time there. It looks breathtakingly lovely.