This was my first trip to Ireland and Northern Ireland had to be included. My time in this lovely country was limited, so I opted for a day trip from Dublin to Belfast and some parts of the North (Booked online with Viator, but actually offered by Irish Day Tours.)
We set out from Dublin and headed along motorways. Our driver offered the "have you all got your passport" joke shortly before we sped across the border. Our driver/guide was knowledgeable, articulate and, despite his best efforts, delightfully biased in favour of the Republicans.
Our first stop in Belfast was the Irish Republican History Museum. This small collection of items about Republican prisons, made by Republican prisoners and reflecting the history of those troubled times was initiated by Eileen Hickey who was a prisoner in the infamous Armagh Gaol from 1973-1977.
The stark simplicity of many of the exhibits gave some indication of the life of the Republican population as well as the British stationed in the area.
Then it was a short drive to the Peace Wall with its murals and then to the British heavily tagged murals. A large traditional funeral procession that blocked our way gave an added dimension to the tour.
We drove to the Titanic Quarter for photo opportunities and then to Down Cathedral and the large rock which is regarded as St Patrick's traditional burial place. Then on to the nearby St Patrick's Centre where we viewed a wide-screen presentation about this patron Saint of Ireland and also got shopping opportunities.
Our last stop was the ruins of Dundrum Castle. Then it was a pleasant drive through the Mourne Mountains on the way back to Dublin.
This was a great day trip which gave me a better understanding and appreciation of the troubled history of this important part of Ireland.