After a quick tour of the facility to watch how they make Belleek pottery,
we were led past some exhibits about their pottery and patterns,
before going into the store. I might have bought something (although I was bummed they didn't have any teapot ornaments since we saw ornaments being painted).
Next we crossed back into the Republic of Ireland,
before crossing back to northern Ireland at Londonderry/Derry (in County Londonderry). Derry is the towns old Irish name. When King James II sent Scots and others he thought loyal to settle there with the Irish, the settlers added London to the name. The town's name is thus a mark of the divided history of the town.
Our tour started with a short drive by some of the murals of the People's Gallery, depicting key moments of the Troubles. For Londonderry/Derry, a protest held on Jan. 30, 1972 in resulted in civilian deaths. This is the impetus for U2's song, Sunday, Bloody Sunday.
(Someone's camera got in the way---sniff!)
(The Death of Innocence, depicting a 14 year old girl killed in cross fire between the IRA and British Army in Sept. 1971)
Next a walking tour,
including up on part of the town walls.
The tour also took us through a cute shopping area.
The tour ended at the Guildhall just outside the walls and we were set loose from the group.
We had a little bit of time to tour the inside (hey, it was free!).
We tried to walk back up to a cute church we had passed on the walking tour, but it was closed. We had wasted some of our lunch hour in that endeavor, so we headed back to our meet up point at the Guildhall (really city hall) and had some quick cheddar and ham sandwiches in the attached cafe before taking a couple of pictures of the Peace Bridge.
before heading to the bus. From Derry we traveled north, glancing at Dunluce Castle ruins on the cliff through the window (part of this castle fell into the sea during dinner one night, taking 9 people with it).
Our next "real" stop was at the Giant's Causeway, which was beautiful!
This geological formation was created by lava. We walked out onto the rocks towards the ocean, even climbing up pretty high! We had walked down to the coast and back, so we even got some exercise in during a day with a lot of bus time.
We did stop to take a quick photo overlooking the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and Scotland in the distance.
Next stop was Belfast, where we would be staying for the next two nights. Katherine and I went for a little walk to see some of the sights
Everything was weirdly closed!!!! It was just past 8 and we were going out to dinner, but one pub had just closed and the other was really quiet.
We walked back by city hall and the streets were pretty much dead (it was 9:30 by this point).
We did learn that today was a bank holiday as well, which we didn't know, so maybe that had something to do with it, but who knows? We'll see what's up tomorrow.