For now let’s go back to Ireland, I don’t think I can handle New Zealand yet. SO MANY EMOTIONS. Last I left off, we had arrived in Northern Ireland in the town of Derry the night before after a long but not relaxing day on the bus- Ireland Day 4: Driving to Northern Ireland, Croagh Patrick, and Yeats Grave.
Walking Tour of Derry
Early the next morning, we met our local guide for an emotional tour of Derry. We walked down the street where Bloody Sunday took place and saw the various memorials and murals in remembrance of this day and other conflicts at the time. Our tour guide was this wonderful older gentleman who shared his personal experiences with the conflict and had most of us crying in only 10 minutes. It was an emotional morning and one I will never forget.
We walked up the hill to the old Roman wall and saw a “peace wall” dividing the Protestant and Catholic neighborhoods. It was shocking to actually see the wall and to witness the physical separation of people. It is both astonishing and sobering to understand the violence that must have taken place for this boundary to exist. The fear is still there.
But the tour ended on a positive note. Our tour guide said that the people of Derry want to live in peace and leave the conflict behind. There is hope for a better future and I pray that they will find it.
After our morning in Derry, we drove to Giant’s Causeway, a place of myth and majesty. It was a foggy afternoon which was nice after being burnt to a crisp on the Aran Islands. However, I was still exhausted from the day before and was not so much in the mood to navigate the crowds of tourists. So after a lunch of delicious stew and bread, we descended down the winding road and into the mist, unsure of what we would find.
Massive land formations loomed in the distance with people scrambling around like ants. At the end of the road, interlocking columns of basalt rock protruded from the ground, topped with rounded stones. It really was a sight to behold. The myth is that giants built this causeway of stepping stones as a bridge between Ireland and Scotland. In reality, these stones are a unique geological formation caused by an ancient volcanic eruption. It is a bizarre phenomenon and a fun place to explore leaping from stone to stone.
Amazed but sleepy.
We walked further along the path towards the large “boot” left behind by the giants. I was tempted to take a nap on the damp grass but soldiered on, pushed along by the weird narration of our audio tour headsets.
Ok so the boot was pretty cool and worth the muddy boots. A boot for a boot. Haha.
Soon it was time to walk back up the road and catch the bus to Balentoy, a small town where we would be staying for the night. By then the mist had started to clear, giving us a better view of our surroundings.
Giant’s Causeway was a pleasant surprise and a really interesting place. However there were a shit ton of tourists which really put a damper on the whole experience. Also, it was difficult to enjoy everything when I was so exhausted.
But thankfully the best location of the day was still to come. Onward to Balentoy!