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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Londonderry, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

Nov 1, 2013 - Failte Doire (Welcome to Derry)!

"The last time a car bomb exploded in this street was in 2011 - we are living in really peaceful times!" Right - so I don't think I want to visit in violent times... So started the tour of Free Derry. This was one of those money-can't-buy sort of experiences that you need to know someone to get. Sure, it was still a little touristy, and was organised by Paddywagon Tours. However, the guy doing the walking tour had grown up in the street of the car bomb (also the street of the hostel) and knew the (retired?) IRA commanders (so that he could...

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Oct 31, 2013 - One helluva big Hallowe'en Party

Imagine 20,000 people in fancy dress costume, most of them over 18 and drinking copious quantities of alcohol, and watching fireworks along the river. This is Derry/Londonderry on Hallowe'en. They say its the biggest Hallowe'en experience outside USA. People apparently come from everywhere - I came from Australia. While police with automatic rifles and armoured cars remind you of the dark days of the past, this is a people who are celebrating how far they have come. Sure, I still jumped when I heard the first bang - but none of the locals...

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Sep 20, 2013 - Walking the wall

Today was dry and mostly sunny with a high in the upper 50's, perfect for walking around Derry. We had a full Irish breakfast in the "peacock" dining room that was good but not like at Blackrock. We have decided it is too bad we had such a wonderful experience in Carnlough so early in the trip. It is going to be hard to beat the b & b and dinner at the hotel. While the Iona Inn is more of a hotel than a b & b and quite disappointing, it is perfectly located across the street from the Peace bridge that crosses to old and new Derry. You...

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Sep 19, 2013 - The rest of the Coastal Highway and on to Londonderry.

We were greeted with very low clouds and rain when we woke up but half way through breakfast the rain stopped, the clouds lifted AND a rainbow appeared. We certainly can see why rainbows are associated with Ireland, we saw 3 again today by 10:30. Our excitement with finding Black Rock B & B continued with our first Irish breakfast. Our host prepared us quite a feast with a perfectly fried egg, pork sausage links, salt cured ham, Irish soda bread, triangles of potato bread and toast points with butter, orange marmalade (Jim's favorite) &...

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Sep 15, 2013 - North to Derry/Londonderry

Rain and Wind, it was a grey and stormy morning. And has alternated with sun and rain all day. Mostly sun and always wind. Our B&B hostess, Carmen I think, was so friendly, we first met her at breakfast this morning. She had a delicious breakfast, all the items the others have had but as there was only one other guest while we were eating, she had time to talk to us about Ireland, Derry, Northern Ireland, the troubles, her children. We enjoyed a great meal in her beautiful breakfast room. We headed towards Sligo, the rain soon stopped,...

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May 19, 2013 - Derry and the Giant's Causeway

On the Sunday morning we packed everything up, climbed aboard the coach and departed Belfast to make our way through the Nine Glens of Antrim, a region renowned for its gorgeous natural beauty. This was the first of many days when the view from the bus window was mostly grazing sheep and more sheep, rolling green hills, never-ending valleys and glimpses of the North Channel in the distance. Even though there is an old saying about Ireland being made up of 40 shades of green, the description was popularized by Johnny Cash's song (no lie) -...

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Jul 2, 2012 - Artrim Coast

Sunday was a terrific day. It just barely rained in the morning and evening, and we got in lots of hiking along the Atlantic! For a day trip from Derry, we headed east along the coast for some spectacular views. Our first visit was to the Giant’s Causeway, which has nothing to do with San Francisco (Giants) or Yolo County (Causeway). It’s a series of some 40,000 interlocking hexagon-shaped basalt columns, formed along the shore by ancient volcanic eruptions. The photos are the best way to understand these. Our second stop was the...

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Jun 30, 2012 - Westport to Derry

I knew I loved our Westport B&B: Friday’s day started with a highlight. I got my usual porridge (oatmeal) with a bonus topping – Bailey’s Irish Cream instead of milk! What a treat. I recommend it highly. We stopped for lunch at a market in Grange, and found an adorable park on the way out of town. It stopped raining just long enough for us to enjoy our picnic and get in some play. The boys were attracted by the zip line, which was broken. But we ended up playing on the adult exercise equipment. They need this in Davis. There was an...

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Jun 30, 2012 - County Donegal

Saturday was a rainy day, and it was weighing on our patience. With just half a week to go, we were hoping the weather would make a turnaround by now. It’s almost July! We feel like we vacationed in the Southern Hemisphere. Because we’re in an apartment in Derry, we had our first breakfast on our own, cold cereal instead of the Irish hot breakfast. That was fine. We decided to drive out to see more of the County Donegal countryside, west of Derry. This was back over the (invisible) border into the Republic of Ireland, and back to the euro....

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Sep 21, 2011 - Giant's Causeway and Belfast

This entry is a little late: that is, the morning after. Last night in Belfast staying at the business centre hotel in downtown, this supposed upscale hotel did not have free WiFi. In all the hotels in Ireland, even in the inns on the remote west coast, WiFi has always been provided free of charge. But here they charge 5 pounds an hour so forget it. As I write this entry it is 9AM Thursday the 22nd and we are in the luxurious ferry lounge in Belfast awaiting our sailing on the Stenna Line to Stranraer, Scotland. Here they have free WiFi....

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Trip Journal


2011 UK and Ireland

Sep 20, 2011 - Derry or Londonderry

So this morning as we leave Donegal, we leave the Republic Of Ireland for Derry as the Irish call it Or Londonderry as the Unionists know it. It is a short drive through some lovely purple heather hills deep in the morning mist and drizzle. For the last few days as we have been driving through western Ireland we have been noticing frequently large stacks of fresh cut peat in many yards and farms. These are, we believe, the equivalent of our winter stacks of firewood. How they dry for burning, how long it takes to dry and how long they burn...

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Trip Journal


2011 UK and Ireland

Sep 24, 2010 - Derry

@@@@@@@ Background With the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, monasteries began to spread around the island. In AD 546, St. Columba chose a site beside the River Foyle and named the place after the huge forests of oak trees in the region. ‘Doire’ Gaelic for ‘oak grove’ was later Anglicized to ‘Derry’. And so it was known for the following 1100 years until the city was selected as a major ‘Plantation’ project following the Flight of the Earls in 1607. The land was very fertile in the six counties that formed Ulster and the English monarchs...

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