Jackdaw at Jerpoint Abbey - my absolute favorite corvids. Love those spunky little guys so much!
The unique, amazing Giant's Causeway.
mbala and myself have been itching to travel more of Europe since we make bi-yearly trips to visit his family in the Czech Republic, but this was the first year we were able to take the extra time to hop about a bit. I was really excited that a toss of the dice took us first to Ireland and a whirlwind five day tour of the entire island.
When we flew into Dublin we picked up a tiny rental car and headed up to Northern Ireland where we were hosted by the incredibly kind and awesome _graywolf_ and her partner. (Thank you both so much, again, for your hospitality, wonderful company, and the delicious elderberry wine!).
We took a tour of Belfast, a city steeped in a controversial political history that is still very much alive today.
Belfast City Hall
Peoplewatching and ginger beer - awesome combination.
Guinness and meat pies in the pub.
Mbala and myself in front of the Europa (a building which holds the world title for the world's most bombed hotel - I believe it was hit 33 times now).
We took a black cab tour through the city and had a great guide who explained a lot about the history of the city as well as showing us Shankill road and many of the most famous murals decorating the loyalist and republican areas.
Great Famine mural on a very bloody street.
Belfast was amazing and combined with our multi-day travel lack of sleep was extremely surreal. I haven't ever traveled anywhere before with such a living history of war and conflict on that level - it was a powerful experience.
I wish we had these daily local markets everywhere!
The next morning we headed out to the north coast - we managed to inadvertently end up on our second 'most dangerous roads in the world' road (The peruvian mountain death road being the previous) - winding around on Torr Head road which was about half a lane wide hanging off the cliff on the Antrim coast.
The drive was worth it as it was absolutely beautiful and had an amazing view of the coast.
Our first stop was the Catrrick-a-rede roap bridge.
The bridge hangs about 90 feet over the water and is hand tied (and taken down) every year. It was used historically to reach the small island where prime salmon fishing was to be had - if it could be reached.
The water is so clear and beautiful! I am told you can sometimes catch a glimpse of seals fishing in the waves below.
Island off the coast.
Ireland is the land of excessive rainbows. We saw them constantly, everywhere. Double rainbows, full rainbows, rainbows coming out of peoples heads.
So many rainbows Mbala started using his polarizing filter to get them out of his photos.
Castle ruins along the coast.
Giant's causeway was absolutely gorgeous.
Every single stone is unique – I wanted to spend the whole week there getting to know every one.
To be continued. :)