There is a lot of free time with two weeks of Easter holidays. Instead of working on university projects or relaxing in Cork I used it wisely and traveled around Ireland and also to the United Kingdom (to which I will come too later). So out of those 16 days I didn’t spend even 24 hours in my apartment since I tried to see as much as possible – the result: the best Easter break ever.
The first journey brought me to Northern Ireland. Our International Society organized a three-day trip to other end of the island which belongs to the United Kingdom. To my surprise, there were no border checks on the six hours drive from Cork to Belfast – but we’ll see how turns out after the Brexit. Anyway, we headed straight to the modern port quarter to the new Titanic museum. It was established on the site where the Titanic was built 100 years earlier and is definitely worth visiting. Despite its fancy architecture, you get a nice, well-designed insight into the events and the culture at that time.
Afterwards, we got to see the city itself, which is kind of two faced. On the one hand, you have a historical center with an immense city hall and pleasant pedestrian areas (especially during sunset). On the other hand, there are the outskirts which are still coined by “the Troubles” in the 20th century. You can find a Berlin-like wall that is now used by artists and numerous memorials and the famous murals.
Many people didn’t like Belfast because of this ambiguity but at least for me this is what makes the atmosphere of the city so special. There is this strange (in a positive sense) vibe – somewhere between a spirit of optimism and mourning for the events during the war – that covers the whole city. Moreover, Belfast has a very dynamic nightlife with loads of awesome pubs and clubs.
the gigantic coast of antrim
On the next day we left Belfast for the coast of county Antrim. Again, we were really lucky with the weather and so we were able to enjoy our stay at the Giant’s Causeway to its fullest. This is a bizarre rock formation with hundreds of black basalt pillars that are nicely situated in a bay surrounded by cliffs. The footpath to the Causeway already gives you breathtaking views and I dare say that this corner of Ireland definitely belongs in my personal Top 3. Thus, I spent my time there sitting on the columns watching the sea, strolling around and slipping on the wet stones while taking pictures- with many people watching me tripping.
Somehow, I managed to survive before we continued our journey to some Game of Thrones movie sets. To be honest, I have never watched a single episode of the series but I must admit that they chose lovely spots for their scenes. Once we saw the “Dark Hedges” and Ballintoy Harbor we drove to Derry where stayed for the night.
The UK officially calls the city Londonderry but some inhabitants of this catholic area of Northern Ireland still get offended if you say Londonderry instead of Derry. Following an entertaining party night in a club which we almost had for ourselves (it was Sunday) I had to leave Northern Ireland early in the morning to meet some friends from Austria in Dublin.