Belfast bound after one quickie visit to the lovely Irish city of Galway, I had 2 things on my mind. Firstly, we were going to be traversing from the Country of Ireland into UK territory, as Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland. Secondly, TITANIC MUSEUM TITANIC MUSEUM TITANIC MUSEUM!! (I’m a huge fan of the DiCaprio film, don’t judge me, I was 10 when the film was released and who didn’t love DiCaprio back then or now for that matter?). I couldn’t wait to hear more about the historical aspects of the tragic Crash in 1912, the biggest news story of its time. I’ll come back to this later though.
giving me the opportunity to navigate as her copilot. I watched for signs telling that we were getting close to crossing the Irish/UK border. The total driving time from Galway to Belfast was going to be about 4 hours via the big M6 Highway that traverses the Western Coast of Ireland all the way to the Eastern Coast hitting the capital city of Dublin. Once we hit DUBLIN, it was a straight shot driving north through to Belfast. It took over 3 hours to arrive at the border, and there was no border patrol, no mandatory stops or searches. . . believe it or not, the only way we knew we had crossed over was that all signage was now in English and not Gaelic. Driving a bit more, we noticed a significant change in the landscapes, the architecture of the houses and buildings (the color choices were much more traditional, and many homes had simple brick exteriors) and boom we had arrived in the city of Belfast. It was dark around the time we arrived, which made our arrival to our Hostel a bit more difficult. We were following instructions sent to us by our cooky Host, and the only problem was that parking in this cute neighborhood was limited. We arrived, unloaded our bags and were greeted at the door by PAULA, the Hostel-owner at Namaste Lodge. I had booked it from Hostelworld.com, and although its called a Bed & Breakfast on that site, breakfast isn’t homemade or provided here, so it’s more of a Hostel with shared bathrooms & a shared kitchen. The room we had reserved was nice with a comfortable bed and these funny paintings on the walls. We pried, and Paula explained that we had gotten the “Fertility Room”, and as you can see in this picture:
the Art was appropriately themed. My mom got a kick out of this and I couldn’t help but think, I wonder how many children were conceived in this very room. . . the miracle of life. . . Anyways, BELFAST. How could we possibly fit in enough site-seeing in this city if we only have the first half of tomorrow? You see, Paula had written to me via email her recommendations for us in the city and asked what we were planning to do in Northern Ireland after Belfast. I had only 2 concrete things I wanted to see, the Titanic Museum in Belfast, and the World UNESCO Site: The Giant’s Causeway in the northernmost part of the Coast. Google maps said it was only an hour and a half drive from Belfast up to Giant’s Causeway
but Paula said that we just HAD TO DRIVE Northern Ireland’s Coastal Route: The Antrim Coast. Featured in Game of Thrones she said, “We just had to”, “Couldn’t miss it”, and since listening to the locals had been how we rolled the entire trip, we didn’t want to switch gears now.
So let me break down our plan of attack for the following day:
- Wake up early and head to the TITANIC MUSEUM in BELFAST. Explore the museum for a few hours
- Hit the road via the Scenic Route driving on the Antrim Coast of Northern Ireland. Take in the sights
- Arrive at Giant’s Causeway. Explore this natural phenomena/World Heritage Site
- Lastly, hit the road driving back down crossing the border once again to sleep in Drogheda in the Republic of Ireland (2 hrs 40 min via Highway)
We couldn’t have packed our day any tighter, and guess what, driving that Antrim Coast ended up being just too ambitious for us. I’ll explain why later.
We woke up early, packed our things, said NAMASTE and farewell, and headed to the Titanic Museum. I was so excited. So for those of you that don’t know, THE TITANIC SHIP was built in IRELAND in the city of BELFAST, hence, this memorial Museum resides here in Belfast, Northern Ireland. If you have seen the James Cameron film from 1997, you might know that:
“TITANIC was called THE SHIP OF DREAMS, and it was, it really was.”
This was the biggest and the grandest ship built to set sail from Europe to New York City (“The New World”). Luxury was a priority, and of course so was size and speed. Sadly, we all know how this ends. Titanic hit an iceberg and sank, never making it to its destination in New York. If you want to know the history of the RMS, the company that built the Titanic, it’s here in the museum. If you want to know about all the key players, like the ship’s designer Thomas Andrews, the captain Edward Smith, or the ship’s director J. Bruce Ismay, or perhaps you are curious about famous heroes and survivors, all their stories are here in this museum and are worth learning about. I felt like I could truly understand how all it played out, from design to sinking, and all the stages in between. The Museum is so very detailed, impeccable detail.
Momma and I truly enjoyed the museum. You could spend easily 5-6 hours here. I think we probably stayed for 3-4 hours, and I even felt rushed. There was so much to see, so much information at our disposal. The museum is impressive, interactive and comprehensive. I would recommend it to any who has interest in the history of either Belfast (as a leading industrial city of the times) or in the history of the sinking of the TITANIC. With only 20 lifeboats on board, with the capacity to carry less than 800 people even though 2000+ people were on board the ship the night it crashed on April 15th 1912, this story has a tragic ending. We are reminded that life is a gift, and each life should have been treated with the same value. Of 2224 people on that ship, only 710 were saved (mostly in the 1st and 2nd class). . . less than 1/3 of the total number of people on board the Titanic.
If you choose to visit, I recommend taking your time. This is a great tribute to all of those who lost their lives that night in 1912.
We left in a hurry to head to the Antrim Coast. We were expecting to be blown away by the cliffs, the ocean views, the Magic of Northern Ireland. . . But instead, we had rainy/cloudy weather and a whole lot of stress. We had no idea the route on the Coast would take SO LONG!!! Paula, you forgot to mention it’d be nearly dark by the time with reached Giant’s Causeway. . .
and that’s exactly what happened. By the time we reached Giant’s Causeway, the light was quickly disappearing. . . and our photos ended up looking like this:
We couldn’t truly appreciate this natural Phenomena? Wonder?/strange Rock formation that meets the ocean. . . It’s still pretty cool that Volcanic activity formed Giant’s Causeway. . . and even cooler that it’s 60 million years old. . . but anyways, get there in the day. That’s the best advice I could give you. We drove in the rain nearly 3 hours from the Very North of Ireland down to Drogheda, where we would spend our second to last night in Ireland. OH NO! Don’t tell me the trip is nearing an end? Fookin’ ‘ell. (Fucking Hell in Irish Accent!) Here I will leave you with my favorite part of the Antrim Coast drive. . . seeing these Irish Dogs at attention whilst I chatted with their owner/a local. CAN I KEEP THEM?! please Momma? Let’s keep them.
With my Mom arriving to España in just a week, I am attempting to finish the Irish Adventure Chapter of this blog so as to make room for #delriostakeEspaña and #delriostakePortugal posts. . .
Stay with me. Last few Irish posts coming soon. Love to each of you.