July 15, 2018
Belfast and Titanic Museum
Our official second day in Northern Ireland, and I still felt like I had been hit by a bus. Even though I was sleeping through the night, it never felt like enough. The fact that the sun wasn’t fully down until midnight really threw me off for some reason.
Our journey continued as we left Carrickfergus and made our way to Belfast. It was the first day we experienced rain as well. Thankfully it was only a drizzle and we planned on spending most of the day indoors as well. But we had one mission first, to take a black cab tour through Belfast.
Pat B was by far the best tour guide I have ever had. He greeted us cheerfully and was excited to get the tour underway. Driving around town, he showed us some of the sights while telling us the history behind them. What I remember most is when he spoke about the conflict in Northern Ireland between the Catholic and Protestants. When we arrived at the wall, he explained the importance of it and why it was decorated with numerous murals.
It was a brilliant experience. With his wit and knowledge, we were able to take in the information without becoming too overwhelmed with it all. It’s an experience I would recommend to everyone.
Pat B even poked fun at one of us for accidentally walking to the driver’s side of the car.
“Guess she’s driving us now!”
Being American, you can guess what happened a lot during the trip.
Or when he heard we had a ticket to the Titanic Museum:
“I don’t want to spoil it for ya, but you know how it ends right?”
“The Irish built it, and the English crashed it.”
Towards the end of the tour, he brought us to one side of the wall where there were thousands of signatures and messages. He handed each of us a marker and encouraged us to make our mark against the wall. He even pointed out Clinton’s signature and message on the wall [no photos, sorry].
When the tour was over, he brought us back to the Titanic Museum [where we had left our car]. Before he left, we had to take a picture with him. He was the best, and I’m pretty sure we’d all recommend him for a black cab tour when you’re in Belfast.
After a quick lunch and a delicious Guinness [my very first Guinness in Ireland], it was time for our tour of the Titanic Museum.
The Titanic Museum was huge and walking through it was a unique experience. Each room led you through the life cycle of the Titanic itself and those who worked on it. Each room had a plethora of information. There was even a ride during the tour [which broke down as we were on it, but I appreciated the break to sit. We had been walking around the museum for over an hour by that point].
Although I didn’t take a lot of pictures while inside, I took my time, trying to absorb as much information as I could from each of the rooms. As well as searching for a place to sit in every room…my back was killing me.
When the day was finally over, we piled back into the car to drive to our next destination: Ballymena. Our next stop was to our Airbnb where we could rest and regain some of our energy. Before we made our way there, however, we stopped at another Tesco to buy some ingredients for a pasta dinner. It was then we learned we wouldn’t be able to find Alfredo sauce in Ireland [and I was thankful for it…I hate Alfredo].
When attempting to find out Airbnb, the GPS took us to the general location, and the instructions from the host told us where to go from there. And at first, we turned down onto a road that had a home that looked slightly run down. As we approached, we began to get worried when nearly 10 cats came out of nowhere, all watching the car. It was then I learned how much my travel-mates hate cats. So that was new [one was allergic, so I wasn’t surprised by her disdain lol].
Thankfully, our house was only a few houses down. And it was beautiful. The house itself was a tiny cottage next to our host’s home.
The view was even more beautiful than the one at Carrickfergus Castle and our host, Jerry was very sweet. He introduced himself and took us on a little tour of the place. He showed us maps and even recommended the bar where the Game of Thrones cast usually go for drinks. Sadly, we had already brought items for dinner, so we weren’t able to go.
The most unique thing I noticed was his kitchen we in the back. We had to go outside, from the main house, to get into the kitchen. Not bad at all, just unique. We spent the evening catching up on the day’s events and plotting our next move while cooking.
By the end of the night, I was nearly falling asleep over my dinner. For some reason, exhaustion never seemed to leave me. But we spent a very relaxing evening in Ballymena, plotting our next day to Giant’s Causeway.
Which is a story for another day…