Exploring Belfast, Northern Ireland

We have been in Belfast, Northern Ireland now for a week.  I have to admit I was a little reluctant to come here because of “The Troubles” between the Catholics and the Protestants at the end of the 20th century.   But peace has been place now for almost 20 years and Belfast is flourishing.  They have constructed an excellent tourist exhibit about the Titanic and her sister ships.  The ship was built here in the Belfast shipyards in the beginning of the 1900s.  belfast titanic 5x7 netIt is a modern architectural building that has some excellent exhibits that document this period of human grandiosity and folly, when they believed they had created the unsinkable Titanic. titanic belfast ship drawings netThis is a photograph of the ship’s designers hard at work coming up with a truly remarkable ship.  But they forgot to add enough lifeboats for all the passengers and crew in case the unthinkable happened. There are complete mock ups of the first class cabins with exact replicas of the luxurious furnishing.titanic belfast 1st class room 5x7 net  It was an intense experience.

It was easy and inexpensive (a weekly bus pass was £15 each) to get around the city on the big, pink buses.Belfast pink bus 5x7 netWe took a different bus to Hillsborough Castle which is 20 minutes outside of Belfast.  This is really a large Georgian town house where the queen comes to stay when she visits Belfast.  Hillsborough Castle Ireland netWe had an excellent tour given by this lovely guide, Helen. Hillsborough castle guideShe told us all about the history of the house and how it is still used by the English royal family.Hillsborough castle diningroom netHere is the dining room all set for lunch with china and crystal.  The extensive gardens and grounds are stunning.  Here is a photograph of the garden lake.Hillsborough Castle Lake netIt rains a lot here and there are lovely flowers everywhere.blush rose 5x7 netpurple spike flowers netTomorrow we are off to Greystones, which is a little below Dublin.  We get to take care of 2 wonderful kitty cats and 2 chickens.

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