belfast

If you ever want to raise the ire of the Irish people, just mistakenly categorize them either 1) with the British, 2) from the United Kingdom, or 3) from Northern Ireland.

IMG_5208

I definitely knew the details about the Irish conflict at some point in my life, but it had all become very murky in my head up until a few weeks ago when I learned this the hard way…

IMG_5211

Kidding! Just being dramatic. I got the scoop from the friendly bus driver of our Belfast bus tour who told us the incredibly interesting history behind the religious and political conflict on the Emerald Isle.

IMG_5213

So technically, this little trip was my first international trip during my semester abroad! I was so excited about crossing the border where they even use a completely different currency! POUNDS!

…until 5 minutes later when I realized that I couldn’t buy anything, and the high exchange rate was a pain in the butt.

IMG_5217

Anyway, Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland, which is a separate country from the Republic of Ireland (capital Dublin). Northern Ireland is part of the UK and largely Protestant. The rest is the Republic of Ireland and mostly Catholic. Contrary to popular belief, Ireland isn’t all jigs and shamrocks and brilliant literature. The island has a long, sad history of conflict, British dominion, and the Irish quest for home rule.

And the Irish will be quite upset if you get these facts mixed up.

IMG_5218

Although the town was honestly a little bit lackluster compared to the hustle and bustle of Dublin city, the historical background was so rich and intriguing. Like this church!

It houses the head of St. Oliver Plunkett. Right there. In the case. That’s his head.

I know.

IMG_5221

After our pleasant meeting with St. Oliver, we found ourselves at this early Irish monastery that dates over a thousand years old.

IMG_5223

This original Celtic cross of the monastery is the largest one still intact (I think).

IMG_5227

As I’ve said before, one of the most awe-inspiring things is coming across these ancient landmarks and ruins in Ireland that make everything in young America pale in comparison.

IMG_5230

IMG_5231

This monolithic Dolman structure dates from the Stone Age! Baby Stonehenge?

IMG_5235

Dividing the border between the Protestants and Catholics in Belfast is this peace wall, which really surprised me as a feature that still stands and still continues to serve the same purpose today.

IMG_5233

IMG_5236

IMG_5238

And then there were more new things to be learned! Unless I am the only one who is tragically uninformed…the Titanic was built in Belfast!

IMG_5239

Hello famous White Star Line building!

IMG_5244

This is the dry dock where it was built. The sheer magnitude of this giant hole in the ground was impossible to capture on camera. Apparently, there are life size golden figures that mark the scale. You can try to find them if you want, but I couldn’t.

IMG_2555

Belfast City Hall

IMG_5254

IMG_5249

Thanks for having us, Northern Ireland

IMG_2560

Next stop, London!

Advertisements

About Bianca

I'm a 20-something optometry student, juggling my aspirations to become a doctor with my passions for food, traveling, and life. You'll find a little bit of each on this blog!
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s