Friday, June 24, 2011

Ireland: Clonmacnoise and Belfast

I know it takes me forever to get stuff up. I know it's been a month since our trip (For real. What's that again about time, you know, flying?). But darn it all, I have more pictures to put up! More stuff to say! So, here goes... While in Ballinamuck, we grabbed a few hours (okay, most of the morning/afternoon) between family visits and went to Clonmacnoise. It was windy and fun and a great place to run around and explore. It's so weird to see pics of us here with big Bran and Nuala, when I keep seeing pics of us here with baby Bran and Nuala pop up on our picture slideshow. Speaking of Nuala and Bran, you might notice in the pics below how much Nuala looooves Bran hugging her for these photos. And Bran knows just exactly how much she loves it. Exactly.

That's the River Shannon behind them.
After that, we went geocaching at a place somewhat-but-not-really-nearby called the Giant's Grave. We don't have any pictures of the actual grave because, while it was a beautiful walk, the megalithic tomb was actually not all that impressive. Apparently so unimpressive that Z deleted the pic or two we took of the kids on it. It was a great little outing, though, the tomb was just covered in grass.
After a few days there in the Longford area, we said goodbye to the wonderful Prunty clan and headed north. To Belfast. First stop: Belfast Castle. Lamest castle ever, if you have little kiddos excited to see a real castle. Luckily there was an Adventure Playground next to it.
That was fun. There was a ton of cool stuff to play on, but this rope-tower-climby thing was quite awesome! Also, we were the only ones there. Not counting the big magpies that kept trying to sneak into our snack bag.
The next morning we went down to the waterfront. Those kids could watch boats for hours. Well, really they kept begging to get on a boat. One day soon, kiddos, one day soon.
Up top, the Beacon of Hope statue in Thanksgiving Square... one of its nicknames is the "Nuala with the Hula," haha. Under it, a fish. A really, really, really big fish. It's called The Big Fish. We liked it.
After walking along the waterfront a bit, we drove up and down some of the Falls Road, where many murals of a Republican nature are. Here's one of my favorites. It says, "The Easter Rising 1916" in Gaelic. I timed our trip with reading 1916 by Morgan Llewellyn, an historical novel about the 1916 Rising. It was a great read, and, as is the case with most historical novels, I felt much closer to the people involved. Ahhhh.... hmmm. I was really annoyed with the British feel/presence in Northern Ireland. I still loved it up there. It's beautiful. But really couldn't help but be ticked at the Brits about this. I mean, I've always felt that way, but I've never been to Northern Ireland before and hadn't firsthand felt it. There's a lot more about that I could blather on about, but I won't. Here are a couple more murals:
And... into the NORTH. I think it's funny how it's all-caps on that road sign. A road sign that is NOT also in Gaelic, may I add.... since it's, you know, in the United Kingdom and all... But yes, our adventures in Ireland are slowly being revealed. Next up: more of the NORTH.


Tara Milligan said...

Lol, I looooove that picture of Bran and Nuala dangling off of that yellow gate-thing. So cute. Love the cute hat Bran is wearing too! That playground looks way fun, and those murals are really cool! I'm glad you FINALLY blogged it ;).

pauline said...

Hi there ... yes, the murals are very colourful and "loaded" too... I can't understand some of the written words though... sadly! It looks windy, cold, and rainy ... the 3 little rascals in their cute raincoats. Oh, I love Bran's blue cap! Nuala got all the way to the top of those ropes; looks like it's WAY up there! Maeve is so cute with her smiles... she's enjoying swinging ... Bran lavishing the hugs on Nuala: obviously not "properly" appreciated! F&Z look good too ... good thing you packed warmer jackets! Love, Mom (Dad too) xox

Dan said...

NORTH, I guess that so don't forget it.
Still seem to be some attention in the northern Ireland.
Good pic, and trip.

Bonnie said...

So are you guys ever NOT traveling? Your life is like one eternal vacation.

fiona said...

I know, right? What the heck is that "work" thing other people talk about?? Though, really, while we do travel a good bit more than we could if we lived in the States, mostly it seems like it's even more because I string out numerous blog posts about them... just as I am doing now! Hopefully one of these days our travels will include UT and I can finally meet/re-meet all your kiddos.

Rob and Erin Smith said...

Fun! I love Bran's hat! He looks so Irish and them hanging off the gate, so cute! The murals are interesting, colorful and I was wondering if it would feel British... Hmm... Was it a good read? Oh, the playground, we had one of those climbing things in Warsaw, one of our favorites too! So cool!