Thursday, July 12, 2012

Slieve Binnian Part I

While in Ireland we experienced perfect weather.  In fact, it didn't even rain until the day I flew out.  That kind of sunshine is almost unheard of!  So we made the most of it and did every outdoorsy activity we always wanted to do but was always hampered by the rain.

This is a first set of photos of our hike up Slieve Binnian.  It's the 3rd tallest in the Mourne Mountains.  We almost hiked Slieve Donard (tallest mountain in Ireland) but decided on Binnian in the end because of the beauty.  You're able to stop by a couple lakes and have the most beautiful views of the Silent Valley.  

Tyler started to complain a little in the beginning of the hike.  Feet sore, too hot, thirsty etc.  I sat him down and had a little talk about how amazing this hike was and had him imagine of all the kids in all the schools in Parker, with all those kids... the odds are not one would have this experience of hiking in these mountains.  He's just at the age where he's starting to find it cool that he was born in Ireland and visits family every couple years.  After asking a few questions he bucked up and not one more word of complaint was mentioned on the rest of the 8 mile, semi strenuous hike.

It was an unbelievably perfect day.  


 Tyler cooling his feet in the Blue Lough

 Silent Valley Reservoir

Part II coming up soon!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Coast of Northern Ireland

Just various photos of the Northern Ireland Coast.  Beautiful right?!  John's parents have moved from Belfast City to a quaint little village right on the coast called Donaghadee.  The name just rolls off the tongue so perfectly.  

Our room has an ocean view and were only minutes from the ocean.  I'm used to the Southern California coast (which is beautiful) but I think I much prefer the moodiness of Ireland coasts.

On a side note... there is the most perfect little antique store in Donaghadee that I visited on a few occasions.  For years I've been searched for the perfect antique stained glass windows to hang up in my home but dang those things are pricy!  Much to my excitement this store was chocked full of them, all under $100 and some as low as about $40!  Then the realization that not one of these would fit in my suitcase. 


After talking to the owner for a bit I found out that he has a garage full of these, roughly 60 he said.  They don't sell there.  AGHHHH!  I did find out though that he would be very happy to sell them all to a dealer here in the States if I could find any interested buyers.  If you interested (pleeaseee) let me know.  All I ask is for a couple of these windows!  

It's torture.

 Donaghadee Lighthouse
 Donaghadee Coastline

Friday, July 6, 2012

Belfast, Northern Ireland

Recently we visited John's hometown of Belfast, Northern Ireland.  I've visited many times and lived there for a few years after getting married.  Tyler was even born there.  This is the first time though that I've ever documented anything more than family pictures.  I told myself this time though that it was okay to look like the American tourist.  I wanted to capture the way I see Belfast and also use these photos as a way to keep Tyler connected to his birthplace and family.

Belfast has changed a lot since we moved away (about 8 years ago now), but some things haven't changed much at all.

I do love it though.  It was bad timing living there before.  Just too much for one girl to handle.  First time living away from home, married, new country, mortgage etc and then a baby.  All in the first year and a half.  Phew!  

Someday things may change and we'll do the exhausting move back.  If that happens I'm buying a sun lamp to handle those grey days (months even!).

I'll be posting various Ireland photos over the next week.  The first installment is Belfast and what I find most interesting about the city.

Harland and Wolff cranes.  Their names are Samson and Goliath... not sure which one I captured.  There cranes are built in the Titanic Quarter, just steps from where the Titanic was built.

Titanic dry dock
This is the Catholic side of the Peace Wall.  Doors and gates are open during the day to allow people and cars to pass through.  This stretches along between the main Catholic and Protestant areas.

This is the start of the 11th Night Bonfires.  There's a parade on the 12th of July that commemorates the Battle of the Boyne.  These are not normal camp bonfires.  They take up whole city blocks and sometimes will even be made in the middle of streets.  On the 11th night it looks as though the city of Belfast is aflame with each neighborhood burning their own bonfire.
Murals that are painted on many of the buildings in Protestant areas.

Murals that are painted on many of the Catholic city walls.