Report on Northern Ireland Trip (3)
24 May 2009
Regardless of the late night we all made it to breakfast again and then packed all our gear on to the bus ready for leaving for Derry. Kenny was the driver for today and as Gail was feeling a bit delicate she rode shotgun with Mark. We stopped at Mark?s sister Heather?s house to use her facilities and she had laid on a lovely spread of scones, pancakes and biscuits with tea and coffee for us. Typical Irish hospitality.
Back on the road again, we drove through Clough were the kerb stones are painted red, white and blue and there are flags flying from nearly every house. Our next stop was in Derry and Mark guided us through the city to St Columb?s Cathedral where we were met by Billy (pronounced to rhyme with gully). Billy showed us round the cathedral and gave us some of its history. It was built in 1633 and was the first cathedral to be built in the British Isles after the Reformation. It cost ?3000 to be built. He took us to the Chapter House Museum where we saw some artefacts from the siege of Derry including original locks for the city gates. We were also allowed to hold some chalices which had been given to the cathedral in the 1600s and were very valuable. We had loads of questions for Billy, (well Aileen did) and he was really happy to answer them for us. After this, Mark gave us a guided tour round the city walls while giving us local history and also took us to the point in the centre where we could see all four sides at the one time. Kenny managed to get his photo taken with some football supporters who were celebrating the Rangers win. We then walked down to Bogside and looked at the murals on the gable ends of the houses. We went into an exhibition unit where the attendant was happy to explain the meaning behind all the murals. We all found the whole experience to be fascinating. How much could we take? We were like sponges, soaking up the information. It was after three by the time we got back to the bus and had our lunch. It was decided that we wouldn?t have time to do our planned walk but we would still drive across the border and go to Moville where we bought ice cream and had a wee stroll to the seafront. We then had a wee ferry ride to Magilligan Point then it was hell for leather to Ballintoy where we were booked into the hostel. It was a very nice wee hostel but not nearly as spacious or luxurious as Meelmore Lodge. We had really been spoiled there. We only had 30 minutes to put our bags in the rooms, skoosh some deodorant, change tops and slap on some lippy before getting to the pub before they stopped serving food at 8.30. (the guys didn?t bother with lippy) The food here was delicious and we ate as though we hadn?t eaten in weeks. The Irish certainly know how to feed a body. After dinner we went over to the pub across the road where they had a young lad singing. He was really good and played all our requests for us. Nothing seemed a problem for him and he sang everything from Danny Boy to Kings of Leon songs. Of course, the more we had to drink, the better he got. Most of us got up to dance at some point and Lydia and Michael really showed us how to jive. We staggered out of pub at about 2am after the owner had invited us back to stay there next year. Yippee!!! Mark is even considering a trip next year. Back at the hostel we had a cup of tea and some of the leftovers from Heather before we went to bed.