I recently made a brief visit to Northern Ireland with Tony and Irish Pete. It was pretty excellent.
Friday (August 11th) night Tony and I flew from Munich to Dublin. The original plan had been to land in Dublin about 21:30 and have Pete pick us up and take us to a pub in Blackrock, his home town. However, our plane was delayed about two hours, so it was almost midnight by the time we met up with Pete. So we headed straight to his parents' house, where I was instantly offered tea and biscuits. After a bit of chat we headed to sleep.
The next morning we drove up to Belfast where we picked up Pete's friend Myles, then drove to the East Down Yacht Club on Strangford Lough. Here we met up with Pete's friend John, whose boat we'd be sailing on today. We got our gear sorted out and then the five of us got onto John's boat Jezebel.
We sailed North for about an hour to the Strangford Lough Yacht Club, whose regatta we were going to participate in. It wasn't long before the race started. It lasted about two and a half hours. We came in last (though rumor has it that once handicaps are factored in, we may not have been last), but it was a fun time. My role was mostly to be balast, which meant moving from one side of the boat to the other on a regular basis. But I also got to help navigate and pull on some ropes from time to time.
After the race we hung out at the SLYC for a few beers, then made our way back to EDYC. The wind had been decent so far that day, strong enough to be fun but not so strong as to make things stressful for us newbies. But on the way back to EDYC, the wind died down, so we used the outboard motor.
At EDYC, John took off pretty quick, but Pete, Myles, Tony, and I hung out for some food and beer with a few other club members. We dropped Myles off at his house, then headed to Pete's house in Belfast. After dropping off stuff we headed out for a few pints, but I was pretty exhausted at this point, so it was not a long night.
We started the next day off with a proper Irish breakfast. I had a full fry and tea. It was excellent. With our bellies full, we then drove around Belfast a bit. Pete gave us a tour that included Queen's college, the city hall, and then some of the interesting spots from the troubles, such as Shankill Road where we got to see crazy murals and so called "peace walls" that divide catholic and protestant neighborhoods.
We then drove up to the North Coast, stopping first in Ballycastle and then driving West along the coast. We stopped at Kinbane Castle, the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Dunseverick Castle, the Giant's Causeway, and Dunluce Castle. We grabbed dinner in Portrush and then drove back to Belfast. The drive along the coast was beautiful. I didn't realize you can see Scotland across the Irish Sea from there. So now I can say I've seen Scotland.
Back in Belfast we met up for pints with Myles and a bunch of other friends of Pete.
On Monday, after another Irish breakfast, we drove back to Blackrock and then Pete's Mom drove the three of to the airport for our flight back to Munich. It was an excellent weekend, if a bit too short.
I didn't take many pictures, but the ones I did take (with my phone) are online.