Joan's trip to Ireland travel blog

Ronan McNamara

Peace Bridge

Hands across the Divide

Gate marker

Many buildings have murals

St. Columb's






Bushmills' Distillery

Giants' Causeway




Another happy hour with the gang. Somebody's got to do it.


This morning we traveled to Derry (Londonderry) in Northern Ireland sometimes along the River Foyle. Derry is known for the intact 17th-century Derry’s Walls with 7 gates. Our guide, Ronan McNamara, took us along the walls and pointed out the various gates. Within the walls, spired St. Columb’s Cathedral displays artifacts from the 1688–9 Siege of Derry. The Peace Bridge which opened in 2011 is a symbol of a handshake of peace between the Irelands. Huge stained-glass windows adorn the neo-Gothic red sandstone Guildhall. The Hands Across the Divide monument is a striking bronze sculpture of two men reaching out to each other. It symbolizes the spirit of reconciliation and hope for the future and was unveiled in 1992, 20 years after Bloody Sunday.

Time for lunch at Willy Nilly where Derek served us. And back on the bus to head to the Giant’s Causeway, passing the Old Bushmills’ Distillery on the way. Bushmills’ was opened in 1608. Unfortunately we didn’t stop.

The myth of Giants Causeway: Carved from the coast by the mighty giant, Finn McCool, who left behind an ancient home full of folklore. Local people believe that between the hexagons, the mythical features carved out in the rocks and the tumbling sea, there’s real magic.

The science: It’s a geological wonder with over 40,000 interlocking basalt columns as a result of intense volcanic and geological activity and an epic 60 million-year-old legacy to the cooling and shrinking of successive lava flows.

The hotel this evening was the Europa in Belfast.

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