Hey everyone! I’m sorry it’s been a while since my last post! Thursday (Feb. 7th, which was my birthday) we left for the IFSA trip to Belfast and it was really exciting. On the way to Belfast we had to stop and pick up the students at Cork. The Limerick students were on the bus for a total of 7 hours on Thursday (with of course a stop at a rest area to grab lunch). I didn’t tell anyone it was my birthday until not too long before we stopped at the rest area because I didn’t really want to make a huge deal out of it. At the stop a friend of mine bought me a cupcake for my birthday (which, by the way, was delicious. The owner at the restaurant she got it from makes all of the cupcakes and icing from scratch!) Everyone sang happy birthday to me on the bus, and after the very long, cold 7 hours on the bus, we arrived in Belfast and had an hour and a half break before dinner at the hotel (Jury’s Inn). My friends surprised me with a birthday card (which everyone in our IFSA group from Dublin signed) and a brownie cake. Everyone at dinner sang happy birthday to me and I honestly and truly was surprised. I think that Ger got a few pictures of me crying/smiling/being surprised (that’s right, sometimes I cry when people do really sweet things like that for me, especially since it was unexpected). It was a fantastic birthday (minus the part where I felt sick on the way to Belfast).
The next day we all got on the bus and went to the Carrick-a-rede- Rope Bridge, Giants Causeway, and Dunluce Castle. On our way to Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge, I…. Threw up. All over. I felt terrible. Thanks goodness I have friends here!! Once we pulled over and I got cleaned up, we were on the road again. The rope bridge was AWESOME. If I can figure out how to upload videos on here, I’ll upload one of me walking across the bridge, which by the way is where the show Games of Thrones is partly filmed. Then we went to Dunluce Castle and it was amazing. You need a whole day for each site we were at. It was magnificent. I’ve only been here a few weeks, but everything is absolutely breathtaking. It was pretty awesome to be in a castle (no matter how much of it dropped into the ocean, as the story goes). We left the castle and had about an hour and a half at the Giants Causeway, which was nowhere near enough time. I would be there a whole day to walk to trails and not fall into the ocean while climbing the rocks. After we got back from our adventures, we had a free night, which I spent in the hotel room laying down and drinking hot tea so that I could somewhat recover from being sick.
The next morning the Limerick group had a 9am Black Taxi Tour of Belfast, which was pretty cool. They gave us the history on the religious divide, they discussed some important facts of their history and explanations of the murals we saw, and we also went to the Peace Wall (which Rhianna and Justin Bieber signed) and we all got to sign it too, which was pretty cool. During lunch (which was at the hotel at 12:30ish) there was a march to the city hall having to do with the flags (they took down the flags and Northern Ireland currently does not have a flag of their own; some people want the British flag, some want the Republic of Ireland flag, and some want a flag all of their own. The people in the march clearly wanted the British flag, which they all wore in some way). After lunch a group of us went to the Titanic Museum, and I had goosebumps the whole time. It was absolutely amazing to read about the background, see what the rooms looked like, see original documents that were signed, seeing a video that recreated what some aspects of the ship looked like, and hearing the testimonials of the survivors. It was definitely a very interesting museum, and I wish I had more than 2 hours to explore. Later that night a group of us went to The Basement and listened to a band play, which was great craic. After a while of being there and talking to the locals, we all went to the dance floor and quite literally danced the night away. It was… Oh my goodness. SO MUCH FUN. After the band finished playing, we talked to the members for a little bit and then headed back to the hotel for another 7 hour bus ride the next day back to Limerick. This trip was so great, and I can’t wait to do more traveling/for the next trip!!