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

Jun 6, 2014 - Ireland Day 6 continued

The Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal (in the Republic of Ireland) is a piece of land bordered on the west by Lough Swilly, the east by Lough Foyle and the north by the Atlantic Ocean. It is uncrowded and incredibly beautiful, with one spectacular view after another. The drive was made even more special by our bus driver, who happened to be from the area and took us down narrow, winding roads that seemingly led to nowhere (and sometimes did!). Once we ended up in the yard of a farm and carefully had to get turned around again. We...

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Trip Journal


Living Our Dream

Jun 6, 2014 - Ireland Day 6 - Derry and the Inishowen Penninsula

Derry/Londonderry is a town that can't decide on its name. The original name was Derry. The name problem began in the 1600s when King James I gave much of Derry to Protestant English and Scottish families (driving out the native Catholics) and sent in London workers to reconstruct the medieval town. Wanting to make it more their own, these immigrants renamed the town Londonderry, a name that has been a source of controversy ever since. In Northern Ireland it is called Londonderry, while in the Republic of Ireland just a few miles away, it...

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Living Our Dream

Jun 5, 2014 - Ireland Day 5 - The Northern Coast

We were on our way early this morning to explore the northern part of what is called the Antrim Coast. It's the northernmost part of Northern Ireland. First stop was The Old Bushmills Distillery, one of the world's oldest distilleries, licensed to distill spirits in 1608. We were able to watch the whiskey making process through distilling, fermenting and bottling, but no photos were allowed. An interesting side note: they were also doing the bottling and packaging for Jamisons. Samples were offered at the end of the tour, but since I don't...

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Living Our Dream

May 27, 2014 - Food and Drink

I do love to eat. On the other hand, I do not have an adventurous palate. I shocked my South America tour group when I told them I don't travel for the food. I won't try just anything. Once I find stuff I like, I tend to stay with it. I've found I've been eating two meals a day this trip. Always breakfast, and then some afternoon to evening something. Of course, I snack when I need to and am very conscious about hydration. During the B&B phase of my walks, breakfast was the big meal. I'd have the classic fry. Sausage, bacon, eggs, beans,...

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UK on Foot

May 25, 2014 - The Clumsy Traveler

I try my best to be a thoughtful traveler. I don't trash my rooms, I sometimes clear my plates in a B&B, and I try to be pleasant and efficient when buying tickets and the like. This morning, I was waiting for the 172C bus to take me from Bushmills to Coleraine for a train connection to Derry (aka Londonderry), Northern Ireland. I tend to have connection anxiety, so I double check times, write down bus/train/other numbers, and show up early to the station or stop. It was cold and windy as always, and threatening to rain. The bus was a bit...

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UK on Foot

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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