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Ireland Two



In County Clare, on the west coast of Ireland, intruding into the Atlantic Ocean, are the 5 mile long, 600 foot high Cliffs of Moher.  (the white dots in the photo above are houses)








Looking down at the stone

Looking up at the opening where the stone is located.

Of course when you are in southern Ireland you must visit the Blarney castle, as well as walk up one of the most narrow and decrepit set of stone stairs we ever encountered.  And since you are at the top, you might as well give the stone a good smacker and gain the gift of eloquence.



And in order to give the stone a smooch, you must become a contortionist. 

And bend over backwards.


Judith declined



The north coast of the island has some fairly spectacular cliffs and the road parallels the coast.



But look closer and you can see a tourist Thrill attraction.

The Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge which swings and sways 80 feet above the sea.  As it was a very long walk to and back from Parking we skipped this adventure.




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On the south coast of Ireland, within the great sheltered bay near Cork, lies one of the most famous towns of the country to American ears.  Most of the town's most notable events occurred when it was known as Queenstown.

Until 1849 is was known as Cove, but that year Queen Victoria made her first visit to Ireland and this is where she landed.  To honor her and the event the city's name was changed to Queenstown.  In 1920 it reverted back to the name of Cove only now it was spelled Cobh in the Gaelic language. 

It was the principal port of embarkation for the millions of Irish that left Ireland for a better life somewhere else; such as America, Canada, Australia and others.




Queenstown was the last Port of Call for the Titanic.



Torpedoed just 25 miles from Queenstown.  She was sunk in just 300 feet of water, thus the Lusitania nosed into the soft bottom and stuck there with her stern rising out of the water and into the air until she rolled sideways and went under in less than 45 minutes.


Today Cobh's maritime past is celebrated in the old railway/marine terminal located downtown.  The museum hosts all the normal tourist amenities.  Here is Papillon parked out front in the rain as the Holland American cruise ship Prisendam makes a port call.


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The Titanic was constructed in Belfast, Ireland at the Harland and Wolff yards.  To the right is the graving dock were she was built.


Today the shipyard is a mere shadow of itself as less expensive yards around the world have gathered in the world's ship building business.


But that doesn't end the city's pride in the yard, nor the city's use of its notoriety as a tourist promotion. 





The Troubles


B e l f a s t


From the late 60's until recently - and even now occasional bloodshed still occurs - Northern Ireland was engulfed in political warfare that took the lives of over 4,000 people in thirty years and was known as "the Troubles".  In the US the struggle was primarily perceived as religious in nature - with Roman Catholic pitted against Protestant.  The causes and reasons are numerous and varied and it is not my purpose here discuss the issue.

However, in today's Belfast tensions, though subdued, are still evident.

And measures are still in place to separate the two sides from each other.  Above is a portion of a wall that separates the Protestant side (right) from Catholic housing (chimneys visible) on the other side.  Though most of the city is not divided in this way.


Today the "battle" seems to be conducted utilizing murals on building walls to state ones argument or sentiment.






But perhaps we should wait a minute and take a closer look at today's Belfast.  Below to the left is a number of "tour cabs" that are guiding tourists around (such as ourselves) to the murals on both sides of the "line".  And to the right a tour company owner is being interviewed for a "day in the life" sequence to be shown on TV somewhere.

The murals have been toned down considerably and have become a tourist "attraction".

And the city and others are helping to foot the bill.

The photo above left shows a portion of a plaque that was placed beside a mural in the Protestant side.

The right hand photo shows the same wall previously shown between the two sides.  Here we see "graffiti" adorning the concrete.  The city council imported some spray paint "artists" from Los Angeles to decorate and tidy up the wall.


It gets curiouser and curiouser.



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