Belfast, United Kingdom
Jul 01, 2004
Pros : The northern coast was peaceful and beautiful.
Cons: Traffic was really bad because
there was a bomb threat
After a couple sick days in Galway, I headed to Northern Ireland.
The first stop was Derry, aka Londonderry. This was the site of
the Bloody Sunday killings and the Troubles between the loyalist
Protestants and the Irish Catholics. Even though a peace agreement
was signed in 1994, there are still problems. Only a week before
my visit over 50 catholic and protestant kids had a rock throwing
fight. The whole feeling of the city was tense.
The northern coast was peaceful and beautiful. I stayed at a great
hostel in Ballintoy, a town of about 100 residents, one pub, and
only one shop/post office that sold everything from ham and candy
to pencils and irish souvenirs. It was only open 3 hours a day.
Near the town is the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge. A bridge that is
about a foot wide, constructed with rope and wood that hangs 30
meters over the ocean below. Even though I like heights (having
bungy jumped and sky dived before), the crossing was quite scary.
Locals say they have to helicopter a few people off the island each
year because they're too afraid to use the bridge back to the mainland
having crossed it once.
From Ballintoy I hiked 13 miles over beaches, rocks, streams, country
roads, and cliffs to visit the giant's causeway and into Bushmills
to visit the worlds oldest distillery and sample some 12 year old
In Belfast, I met many nice people and took a black taxi tour to
see the murals and the wall built between the Catholic and Protestant
parts of the city. Traffic was really bad because there was a bomb
threat on the interstate road on my last day in Belfast.