Although I’ve been pretty good at posting daily for my English drip trip so far, I ran into a snag last night because the hostel didn’t have wifi—which means this is a double edition of the awesomeness from the last two days!
Since I’m pretty bad at sleeping, I woke up at around 5am, and, after dozing for an hour or two, decided to get up and have a morning walk around where we were staying at Haworth. It was surprisingly “warm” (in that it may have been in the double digits Celsius), and marvellously foggy. Sarah has been baffled about my enthusiasm for the unpleasant weather this weekend, but I maintain Yorkshire needs to be experienced through fog, mist, and rain.
Two weeks ago, I had the honour of attending my first Irish wedding reception, which was a flamboyant affair with lots of good craic. The reception was held in Carlingford in County Louth, Ireland, which is about a two-hour drive from Belfast. I carpooled with two friends, and we decided to make a weekend out of it—it turned out we had excellent timing, because the weather was magnificent, the sun was out, and everything was green and beautiful and picturesque. And I thought, well, why not make a blog post out of some of the photos I’d taken.
A few facts about Carlingford:
Carlingford is an Irish coastal town with an urban population of about 1,000 people;
The town is about 11km south of the border with Northern Ireland, and 90km north of Dublin;
Carlingford has a castle! King John’s Castle is named after King John, who reigned from 1199–1216, was younger brother of Richard the Lionheart, and has his own Shakespearean history play (surely the highest honour attainable by a British monarch or Roman figure). Unfortunately, work on restoring parts of the castle (it’s pretty darn old!) has been “under construction” for many, many years, and the inner castle remains inaccessible;
There are remains of a Dominican Friary, which was established in the 14th Century; and
You can grab a pint of Guinness at Taaffe’s Castle, which is basically a pub in a castle. It’s really all about the Guinness and the castles.
One of the wee Medieval streets in Carlingford. We had a lovely time meandering through these and going into the homely little shops.
The view of Carlingford’s town centre from a road along the coast.
Back in December, a friend asked me about where I am in Irelandisland, and for some recommendations of things to do in my area. Since first moving to Belfast in September 2012, I’ve not snapped many photos of the city in a super touristy capacity, so when my friend made her request, I spent a day or two carrying around a camera and playing tourist.
But first, a few little facts about this wee city:
Belfast is the capital and the largest city of Northern Ireland, and has a population of 580,000 in the metropolitan area (thank you, Wikipedia);
The name “Belfast” comes from the Irish “Béal Feirste”, which means “sandy ford at river mouth”, and the city is a major port;
Although Northern Ireland is physically located on the island of Ireland, it is politically (though I use that term warily) part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and uses the UK international dialling code as well as the Pound Sterling;
That being said, the rest of the UK sometimes forgets about Northern Ireland, and many services/shops/etc in Great Britain (consisting of England, Scotland, and Wales) don’t have branches or even deliver to Northern Ireland;
Northern Ireland became such in 1921, when the island of Ireland was partitioned between Northern and Southern Ireland;
The “South”/Republic of Ireland is a different country, with a different currency (the Euro), and different official languages (Irish and English). And although locals sometimes refer to Ireland as “the South”, there are parts of Ireland that extend to the north of the Ireland, such as County Donegal (it can all get a little confusing);
When things get confusing, drink Guinness;
The Titanic was built in Belfast, and shipped off to Southampton (in England) where it set sail;
Game of Thrones is filmed in Belfast and around Northern Ireland (which may have influenced my decision to move here); and
You can become an extra on Game of Thrones through an extras company, but in order to sign up for the company, you have to have a Northern Irish National Insurance Number (basically an Australian Tax File Number or an American Social Security Number), and in order to do that, you can’t be elsewhere in the UK, but must be living and working in Northern Ireland (see above parenthetical note).
And now, here are a few photos of this wee city:
Just a little street, with lovely terraced houses.
A lovely little river underneath a lovely little bridge. Unfortunately, the grey sky is all too common a sight.
Thanks to all who entered the Belgian postcard giveaway! The winners (selected by Rafflecopter’s randomiser of awesome) are: Ruby, Queza, and Shannon. Congratulations! You’ve all been contacted by email, and if you haven’t received it yet, please drop me a line.
But wait, there’s more! Thanks to my lovely host and friend Maria (who runs a book blog over at Solace In Another World), I’ve had the opportunity to spend the last fortnight in Belgium, where I’ve been hugely productive (25,000-words productive!). To share my love for this country, I’m giving away a box of Belgian chocolate truffles. And to top it off, the brand is called Hamlet, so there’s our literary relevance!
To enter, simply answer the following question: Which famous playwright wrote The Tragical History of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark?
You’ll also have the chance to earn extra entries by doing the following: