Thursday 17 February 2000
Highlights: Giant’s Causeway, personal tour of Belfast.
We did a Youth Hostel Organised tour to the Giants Causeway. Leaving from a different Belfast Hostel down the other end of town at 9.30 am so we had to get up early.
Along the way up we visited a coastal castle, abandoned long ago, which sits on a cliff over looking the sea. Part of the kitchen fell into the sea which encouraged the owner to move. The magnificent views from the castle make it worth the visit.
The Giant’s Causeway is actually what appears to be thousands of stepping stones leading to Scotland. The scientific reason is lava cooled in the sea causing the crystallised shape. The myth is a giant in Ireland built a bridge to Scotland to fight another giant. As a result to their encounter the bridge was destroyed. What makes this believable is the formations are in Scotland as well. A beautiful and unique sight. We also avoided the worst of the rain.
I arranged to meet ate or Campbell’s sister, Margaret White, and her husband David that night for dinner. Their family is Protestant and when they mistakenly thought we were Protestants as well we didn’t correct them which meant I got to hear a few jokes about Catholics (which I was raised as). The night was very enjoyable, but more than that insightful to how real people feel in this area about the troubles.
Margaret and David gave us an excellent tour in their car of the Catholic and Protestant streets. In particular they pointed out how Protestant areas have the street curbs payout end red, white and blue. Margaret in particular was extremely worried / uncomfortable when we drove in Catholic areas. In fact I could feel the fear when we stopped to get a photo of a Catholic Muriel. I got some excellent photos of murals depicting both sides of the divide. We where so very lucky to get such a personal tour from locals.