This past weekend we set out on our second group trip to Derry, which is located in Northern Ireland. As many are aware Northern Ireland is still part of the UK, whereas the rest of Ireland is known as the Republic of Ireland and is its own entity. This has been a source of much tension in the region that only recently began to subside. Northern Ireland was home to much of the violence and conflict, the IRA, and still suffers from a massive split between Protestants and Catholics.
While I felt completely safe the entire time, we were quickly advised not to openly talk about politics, religion, or anything that could be a hot topic, so it is clear that the divide still very much exists. In all it was an amazing trip, but it was also very different than anything I have experienced. It was surreal to be standing where so much history developed to create the current situation in Ireland.
To get to Derry it was five and half hours on a bus…. which was less than thrilling. We tried to remain as comfortable as possible, but I couldn’t drink any water because I knew that I would to use the bathroom (hello small bladder) so I was thirsty and tired. We arrived late Friday night and had a fabulous meal at the hotel followed by some quality snuggle and TV time. The hotel was super comfy and cute and I got a queen sized bed and I slept like a baby… I woke up sprawled out and boyyyy did that feel good compared to the worlds smallest bed I have in my apartment.
Saturday was spent sightseeing all the goodness that Northern Ireland has to offer. We headed to a fortified castle that has since become ruins. The views are unbelievable and there was tons of places to climb up onto, caves to climb into, and plenty of the castle to still see. This was also the most northern point of Ireland… especially cool since we were able to dip our toes into the most southern tip of Ireland in Dingle. It was extremely windy that day so don’t mind the crazy hair and really red cheeks. Unfortunately, I was dressed for light fall, but I sucked it up and honestly everything was so magnificent that I often forgot how cold I was.
The view from the castle. The steps lead all the way around to the lower level of the castle.
The view of the actual castle. The sky was absolutely amazing all day!
Julie climbed all the way to the top of the cliffs around the castle.
Molly and Molly
Fiona and I inspecting the caves. You could see the water through them.
The rocks were super slippery so we had to be really careful since most of us were in slippery footwear.
Photos take twice as long when your hair is going crazy and you are so cold it hurts to smile!
I opted to hold the hair back at one point!
It was the perfect start to the day because we were able to wander, climb, and take some amazing photos. Even though it was cold the weather was amazing. If it had been raining our entire day would have been miserable since most of the day involved climbing, walking, and trekking across rock–some of the sites even shut down when the wind and rain get to be too much. Once again, like in Dingle, we were blessed with a rainless day!
Stay tuned for the rest of the day coming soon!