This is my guide to Ireland, everything from Irish tourist attractions and sights, Irish history , Irish food and recipes, folklore and mythology to the people and culture along with a few Irish superstitions and traditions. Your guide to Ireland by an Irish woman living and raising a family in Ireland

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Reminiscences Of Ireland - By Bob Donkin

This is a travelers reminiscences of his visits to Ireland
A four part series by Bob Donkin, who has kindly agreed to share his Irish travel experience with us.

Part 1 - "Just passin thru"

First Visit
Back in the early 70's I worked for British Rail and got free train tickets so with a friend we decided to tour the British Isles.

Starting at London we went to Penzance in Cornwall from there we went up to Thurso in the north of scotland via Edinburgh and Inverness. Then via the the Isle of Skye and Glasgow down to Stranraer. We got the ferry to Larne and then on to Belfast. To be honest it was a bit of a scary experience. It was at the height of "The Troubles" and the evidence of it was all around. We caught the first possible train to Dublin. We found a campsite I think it was in Bray but can't remember exactly but we found a local pup and sampled the "Liffey Water". The next day we went back to Dublin to look around. We saw the usual sites, the museum, Dublin Castle etc ending up at O'donoghues pub. My overall impression of Dublin at that time was that it was very similar to a lot of the UK provincial cities, possibly a bit behind the times, and a funny mixture of friendliness and aloofness.

O'donoghues was possibly the highlight of the trip. After about half an hour sitting by ourselves we struck up a conversation with one of the locals. A short time later we "accepted" into the company and spent a good few hours in, somtimes heated, discussions putting the world to rights. We got invited to a students' party after the bar closed and ended up getting back to the campsite around dawn.

The next day we got the train to Rosslare and then home.

Second Visit
The second visit in 2003 was more fleeting than the first. I attended a funeral in Ballyclare. I was collected from Belfast ferry terminal, stayed 2 nights in Ballyclare then dropped off at the ferry terminal for the return trip home. The evidence of the troubles was still to be seen, Some streets decorated with Union Jacks and Ulster flags while other streets were decorated with the Irish tricolour and many murals from both sides.

To be continued... My third visit to Ireland

All images are copyright of Bob Donkin

1 comment:

  1. Interesting.. I look forward to the other parts.
    Ooh, I'd love to visit..