from belfast to derry along the coast

The days all blend into one here in Ireland, just like the weather. Two nights and three days in Belfast went by in a blur, with days spent downtown Belfast and nights in East Belfast. A big shoutout to Maurice, fellow Van fan and couchsurfer, for hosting us while we were in town. We are most definitely looking forward to our return in a few weeks’ time, for Van’s show at the Odyssey and good craic with the rest of the fans coming over to Ireland.

There’s some stunning architecture, as you can imagine, in Belfast, with the grandest being City Hall in Donegall Square, with its domes and turrets and a statue of Queen Victoria in front that reminds everyone that we are in Northern Ireland, not Ireland.

We took the double decker bus (sitting upstairs in the front seats, of course) downtown both days – and the first day we wandered around, getting to know the city. Our tablemate at lunchtime, Jimmy, when finding out that Bridget played violin, suggested we head over to the John Hewitt pub later on for some live music, but alas, it wasn’t the case on a Wednesday night, so we headed over to Kellys Cellars for a pint and a bowl of Irish stew. The next day we were back in town, this time Bridget with her violin for a few hours of busking. What a hit she was. The wind and the rain finally set in for good by midafternoon, so with busking over, the work part of the day was done. It was over to Horatio Todd’s in E. Belfast for a late night pint and some acoustic blues. We’d been there our first night in town, where we’d gone for drinks with Maurice and his friend, Sammy, after a lovely dinner at a restaurant across the street. We have been treated royally (pardon the pun) in Belfast.

We headed out this morning for points north along the coast, first through Carrickfergus, then driving through the wee towns Whitehead, Magheramorne, Balleygalley …

… and on to Glenarm and Cushendall and Ballycastle, then west to Bushmills, where we stopped in for lattes …

… before heading a few miles up the road to Giants Causeway, made up of thousands upon thousands of black basalt columns – a truly breathtaking sight, even in the wind and the rain and the fog.

With the afternoon fading fast, we took to the road again, down through Coleraine and on into Derry/Londonderry/Stroke City, depending on who you’re talking to. We’ll take all three and see what tomorrow brings.

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