Saturday, May 9

Belfast (and all the other days mixed into one post)

So, we've had the internet now for 24 hours, and what have we done?? Not used it! Well, we have been busy, but still. Let's recap...

We left the beautiful (and mostly dry) city of Cork to head up to Limerick, Ireland. Limerick is still in the Republic of Ireland (the southern part of the island), but on the west side, opposed to Cork in the east. On the way we passed through Blarney, Ireland, where we had to see (and kiss) the Blarney Stone, located on top of Blarney Castle. There are so many pictures I want y'all to see of it, but we'll just have to be satisfied with this picture and give you the link to all the others.

Angie, Ben, and I all kissed the Blarney Stone, granting us the "gift of the gab," or the gift of eloquence. Aww. Now we's can talk purdy. :)

The stone was a lot smaller than I thought it would be, but our lips managed to find it. After which our lips also found some hand sanitizer to bathe in, just in case. With all the swine flu scares, we didn't want to bring back, or help mutate, any Blarney Flu. That would be terrible.

We had some fun in the Blarney Castle Gardens and took a lot of pictures, then continued our travels up to Limerick, where we went to a really nice Pub for dinner (fish and chips!! YES!!) and stayed in the most basic of Travelodges in the world. But it did the job. :)

We went ahead and drove 20 minutes to get to breakfast Tuesday morning. Our original plans had been to eat at this Diner-like restaurant next to the Travelodge (Johnny Rocket's, or something like that), but Sister Hall vetoed that on the spot. We instead went to a different hotel's buffet breakfast, but it was great. However, I think we started getting a little tired of the traditional Irish breakfasts, including sausage, weird bacon, beans, eggs, toast, pudding (blood sausage), and steamed tomatoes. Needless to say, the cereal line was much longer than in Cork.

The biggest thing we did (besides passing too many castles to count) was visit the Cliffs of Moher (supposedly pronounced Mow-Air). These cliffs towered 650 feet above the ocean! At least that's what they told us. The cliffs were beautiful! Also really cool about them was the blasted wind - it was howling over 40 mph the entire time! We had a lot of fun leaning into the wind, until my eardrums started pounding. It was absolutely gorgeous, though. A wonderful stop in Ireland. Though, Sister Hall let me know in a matter-of-fact way that these were nothing compared to the Cliffs of Dover in England. Hehehe.

That night we had a really good concert at the Limerick Institute of Technology (I think), and it went really well. There even was a guy there from Brazil, and we had a 15 minute conversation in Portuguese! Supposedly I was the only one in the choir and audience who could speak Portuguese, so we had a fun time talking. It was a good evening. :)

We left Limerick on Wednesday to make our way up to Derry, if you're from the Republic of Ireland, or Londonderry, if you're from Northern Ireland. It's the same place, but your political side determines the name of the city. There used to be a ton of political unrest and violence there, but about 10 years ago they established peace, and it's a beautiful, historic city to visit now. On the way we stopped in Sligo to eat lunch, which is funny because Sligo is mentioned in one of our Irish songs. That was, I think, the only reason we stopped there.

The weather decided to turn against us on Wednesday, becoming much colder, windier, and wetter (word??). However, it was a good drive. We got to Londonderry and met our host families (Raymond and Sharon Douglas), and they took us home the long way, which meant we drove on the coastal road for about an hour. It was gorgeous!! We even drove on the, on the beach for a while. Then they took us home, fed us dinner, and took us to Portstewart and Portrush for an evening stroll on the seaside and ice cream. So cool. :) The fact that the sun goes down there about 10pm this time of year was convenient.

We were up and in the tour bus by 9am this morning, and took a bus tour of Londonderry. It was really cool to see how far they've come in the last 10 years and how much the city has grown. We also got to walk along the Derry Wall, enclosing the city and making it the only fully walled city in Ireland, with the original wall to prove it. The wall's been up since at least the 1640's. Wow. And it rained. :(

We stopped in a beautiful cathedral and had a tour, then had lunch and got ready for our concert in the Guild Hall, which was beautiful, too. We had a great concert with the Londonderry Youth Choir and got to sing our last song with them. Then we went back home with the Douglas Family.

We left Londonderry on Friday morning, but got to sleep in! The bus was going through Colerain (something like that) to go to our next destination, and that was where we were staying with the Douglas family. So we slept in (gratefully!) and then met the choir and the bus, and headed out to Giant's Causeway on the way to Belfast. Giant's Causeway is incredible! I can't describe even a part of it, so here's the Wikipedia link. It was so cool and so much fun! Oh, and soooo windy. I don't have the pictures on my computer yet, but we'll post them as soon as we can! Just know they're great. And I have a couple of good videos, too.

We made it to Belfast, which is the second largest city in Ireland, after Dublin. We met our host families (in the rain), and figured out that our host family was not in town, but we got their house! Angie & I, plus 4 other guys. It's funny - when we drove up, we went to the wrong house and tried to open the front door with the key. It wouldn't work! Hahahaha, they probably think we're burglars... Well, we finally got here and found a flat-panel TV in every room, a stocked kitchen, trampoline, XBox, Wii, the works. So, the two of us made dinner for everybody, made them eat their vegetables (steamed broccoli), then watched Iron Man on the biggest TV and went to bed. Great day ;)

We got picked up early, like 8 o'clock, then got up to Belfast at 8:45 and started another bus tour. I tried my best to stay awake, but that Iron Man movie was over way too late for us (12:15am!!), and we just didn't have the energy to stay coherent for the whole tour. But it was really good and informative while we were awake...hehehe. Actually, we had a woman give us the tour, an Irish woman living in Orem now. Her name is Molly Bird, and she's actually a tourism...uhh...person, living in Orem. Sounded like she does some travel agent stuff, too. Either way, she was hilarious and really knew her stuff about Belfast, probably because she grew up here. Just a few facts: the Titanic was built here. Well, that's not a few, only one, but that's all I could think of right now. Hahaha. I'll let you know more when I can.

We looked around Belfast all morning, rehearsed in the afternoon, then had a concert in the Ulster Hall (I think), which was made for choral singing. It sounded great, we sounded great, the other choir we sang with sounded great, and our concert went from 7:30pm to 10pm. Seriously. I was soooooooooo tired when we finished. But, they kept clapping, so we kept singing! It really was fun.

We returned to our stocked house, had ice cream or drinks (just fruit...don't get any ideas), then all went to bed. Well, all of us except two of the guys who decided to "sacrifice" their night to finish a group load of laundry, while watching a movie. Such big hearts. So selfless... ;)

It's Sunday morning as I'm typing this as fast as my fingers can go, so I may have missed a few things. I'll see if I can fill in any holes in the next blog, which I don't know when it will be. We're at the mercy of fate when it comes to posting. If the family we stay with has the internet, and a wireless router, we can post. If not, it may not happen. We'll see. :)


Mrs. Hadlock said...

I'm glad you're taking us on tour with you! And you'll be really happy you did this as it was happening rather than waiting until you get home and can't remember all of the cool things you wanted to remember. :)

Post a Comment