Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Northern Ireland: Part I

From the very time I watched the movie Braveheart(shot in Ireland), visiting Ireland was in one of my life’s ‘to do’ lists of sorts. I thought to end last year by a visit to Northern Ireland and put a tick in the mental checklist. After a plan was chalked out, flights and backpackers hostel booked, we were ready to take off to Belfast, the historic and riots marred capital of Northern Ireland. On the 30th Dec ‘05 afternoon, we were waiting in the lounge to hear that our Easyjet flight would take off on time giving us enough daylight in Belfast for the city tour. But alas, getting Easyjet to fly on time is not easy and they convinced me that the name is sure a misnomer. A four half hour delay is but normal. The only good thing was a £3 refreshment voucher which got me a burger from burger king. The pilot was trying to be funny and tried to keep us in the flight engaged with his anecdotes. The guys getting delayed on their vacation rarely laugh. I pardoned the delay owing it to Xmas season and will give easyjet one more chance to prove itself. Soon (after 4 hours delay), we were in air with Newcastle lights looked like shining gold coins below us.



It was a quick flight to Belfast with the cheerful pilot jumping out of the cockpit as soon as the flight stopped and waving us good bye at the gate with apologies for the delay. An airport taxi took us through the winding M2 motorway to the ‘Paddy’s palace hostel’, the backpackers inexpensive accommodation. The guy at the reception was as drunk as drunk can be and upgraded us to an 8 bedded-dorm from a 12 bedded-dorm free of cost and grin on our face took some time to fade. We were happier to know that there was no one in the 8 bedded-dorm but for us. A quick dinner later, we were off to see Belfast city on foot. And I bet the best way to see this small city is walking or cycling.



The weather was very helpful. We had a good long walk and tried to capture the Irish landmarks avidly enjoying every place we set foot on. The city council was palatial and the gardens strangely green in winter. The trees around offered no resistance to our view as they had lost their clothing of leaves and stood braving the winter stark naked. The magnificent Edwardian “wedding cake” kind of building houses the city council and built to give city status to Belfast granted by Queen Victoria. The oldest known pub, built in early 19th century, with mahogany ceiling and pillars still intact attracts tourists in Belfast. This pub named, Crown Liquor Saloon, was filled to the brim with people glugging beers in litres. It boasts of its opulent marble, skilful Italian tilework, booths with griffins and lions guarding them. Attached to the pub was another pub, which is famous for the regular Irish music played there. Right across the road Europa hotel beamed down on us like a giant bedecked in jewels made of light bulbs. A small walk brought us to the Grand Opera House, with a history of being bombed twice and in a state of dereliction, it now stands restored, playing ‘Snow White and seven dwarfs’. Time constraint forbade me to witness an opera at the splendid two domed edifice.
contd....

13 comments:

bee said...

ur a travel club guy to the core. keep these comin for similar minded folks who wanna know what the rest of the world seems like...happy travelling to u as long as u keep blogging :-)

Keshi said...

Ur such a traveller! Ireland is one country I wanna go to...my cuz went there and told me that he simply loved the place!


Happy New Year btw :)

Keshi.

Ash said...

hello Dinesh

it is wonderful to be somewhere where all the destinations u wanna visit are close by .....
ireland seems to be so beautiful ..
it is on my travel list too sometime in this life time ...

i heard ireland had snow this time after 13 years so was it a white christmas ...

have a wonderful year ahead .....travelling and workwise

Ash...
i so envy u fellow ...

icyblue said...

Dinnnnnnnnnnnnn...... u r one lucky bugger!!! And I'm stuck in India, in the same company... and rotting here!!

Nice pictures da.... and I wish I were in ur shoes... :D

Dinesh said...

@bee: Thanks Bee. will keep blogging and travelling.

@Keshi: Bet your cuz is right. It is beautiful. SHall put in some scenic snaps in second part of the travelogue. A very Happy new year and God bless!

@Ash: Gee thanks Ash! Sure, let Ireland on your list. I wonder if Bollywood hasn't discovered it yet. Luckiy for me, after having seen enough snow in Newcastle, it was snow-less in Ireland on new year. But yes it had snowed there during xmas. Thanks a million for the wishes. I too wish you a very happy new year and God bless.

@Icy: U sure to get a chance. Every s/w engrr has his/her day. Ok and for being in my shoes, the size is 9..lets see if u fit in. Will get it when I come to India.

Łóòň Ġãĺ said...

Gosh! Ur blog na .... makes me go crazy ... i wanna go to Ireland now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Keshi said...

yep put some pics up plzzz, thanks!

Keshi.

Ravi said...

Wow nice place..... waiting for more.

Dinesh said...

@Cheesy: :)) Do go ahead..we dont need a visa. You are in UK anywayz.

@Keshi: Will do!

@Ravi: Yup mate. The second part will be up ASAP.

Keshi said...

when? :)

Keshi.

bee said...

hey ur committing sin #1.

8 days gone n nothing up yet on ur blog? world could hv turned upside down in this long gap...
:-) hope to see something new and fun soon from you...

Dinesh said...

Keshi: Its done..finally. Sorry bout the delay..Work delayed it.

Bee: I still is updat periodically, thus saving myself from sinning. :)

icyblue said...

the size is 9..lets see if u fit in.

rofl!!!