Part 19: Belfast Walkabout and Travel to Dublin


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The Trip

Our plan was to use the bulk of the day exploring Belfast and then take the train to Dublin.  Kathleen had booked rooms at the Clontarf Castle in Dublin.  Castle Clontarf was originally constructed in 1172 but has been continually expanded and enhanced over the years.  At an early point in its history, Contarf was occupied by the Knights Templar.

The only hitch in the plan was that none of us were highly motivated to go hiking around Belfast given some of the information that we had received the previous day.  Later in the day, on our way to the train station, we learned from our cabbie that as recently as a week ago a senior IRA member was executed just a block from the train station.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

We went to the local farmer's market at St. George's.  There was the usual stuff including arts and crafts.

This is the second special frame we have seen for carving ham; the other was in Aldwych.

I gave the meat vendor the once-over and if I had a cooking method, I would have bought the pork chops.

There were large displays of cheeses and preserves.

There was a face painter and this little girl got the full treatment.

We were at the market about an hour and then we left to walk about the streets searching for a place to eat.  It was windy and cold and lightly raining.

We walked past a novel looking structure so we decided to investigate.  The structure turned out to be a modern mall in between old buildings.

The interior of the structure had a unique stair, elevator, escalator mechanism.

The roof support structure was a grid of structural members.

There was an observation platform at the top of the structure, but it was closed since it was early in the day on Sunday.

Only about half of the stores in the mall were open, so we went back out on the streets and saw this local fire and rescue truck.  Volvo, Scania and DAF are the preferred truck brands in Ireland.

Despite the strong winds we decided to walk out on one of the bridges over the river to get a view.

I can not imagine what this sign really means.  Later I discovered that it means that ships will become grounded at low tide.

From the center of the bridge we could see this interesting modern statue.  After the bridge we walked back into the city and found the Malmaison Hotel serving brunch.  They were able to seat us and we had a great meal.  When we finished brunch, we taxied back to the hotel to get our stuff and then headed to the train station to queue up for the ride to Dublin.

At the train station, we spotted a steamer in active use pulling passengers.  It was not our train, but on the track next to us in the station.

This style of steam engine is uniquely British.

The fellow up top is the fireman and was working the coal with a pick and a shovel.  We left the station before the steamer did, so we did not see it in action.  The ride to Dublin was a few hours and it was pleasant enough.

When we arrived at Dublin, we went to the ATM to get a few Euros and then took a taxi to the Clontarf Castle Hotel.  The inside reception area was truly unique.

Additions have been made to the walls over the centuries.  Note the different stone types in the wall and the names on the banners.

The castle recently received a $10M renovation.   The rooms were modern and nice.

Another view of the interior of the room.  The hotel was fully booked the nights we stayed there and the restaurant and bar were super-busy.

Later than night, Steve reported he was vomiting.  This was odd because we had all eaten the same thing, but many hours prior.  A few hours later Kathleen caught up to him.  She had a rough night so I assume Steve did as well.  So far, I have escaped whatever it is.  But, as the consolation prize, I have had some kind of cold that has lasted for about a week.  Colds are not much fun, but easier to deal with than vomiting.  We'll see how tomorrow develops.

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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2015, all rights reserved.
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.