Belfast and the Titanic Museum

Even though the next morning was rainy, we geared up after a bit of breakfast and walked over half an hour to the Titanic Museum.  The drizzle picked up a few minutes from arrival, but it was not bad at all.  The night before I had bought tickets online for 9:30, which was for early risers.  They were discounted saving us 5 pounds each and eliminated waiting in line to buy them.  The kiosk dispersing them was being updated so we were given personal attention at customer service.

Immediately upon getting into the queue area we were told to stand in front of a stack of suitcases for a photograph of us with the Titanic in the background.  Later, they wanted ten pounds for the 8X10 glossy….um, no thanks!

The entire museum is high tech and numerous people must have taken advantage of the discounted tickets!  The displays began with the industry in Belfast, mainly the linen business which greatly contributed to the city’s growth.  Children were put to work extracting linen fibers from the machinery without turning off the internal workings!  Yikes!  The museum showed the construction of the ill-fated ship, including over three million rivets mostly driven in by hand!  Two people pounded in one rivet so as one swung back the other made contact.  They alternated many times until the rivet was in.  The situation of the three classes of passengers was shared as well as the famous passengers on board.  At the end they showed a video of an undersea exploration of the sunk ship with its rusticles and such.  After some nourishment and time off of our feet, we visited the Nomadic, which was the tender ship which transported the passengers out to the Titanic where it awaited them in deeper water.  Some of the furnishings were original, though some had to be regained from having been removed during its time as a restaurant near the Eiffel Tower and other endeavors.

Despite the wind, the rain had stopped so the walk back home was much drier.  After a rest we returned to the same restaurant, Bennetts, where we dined the night before.  The walk was brief and the food well-prepared.  Bill had his last Guinesses as they should taste until we next return.


Back in the UK

 As we continued east we stopped just over the border in UK and had lunch for the first time. BLT’s with “chips” did the trick across the street from a sizable park with some majestic trees beginning to show signs of autumn. We also stopped in Enniskillen for a bit of a stretch and were intrigued with the fishermen. They had lots and lots of equipment, including enormously long poles, but no nets or catch that we could see.

Then it was more driving. After some confusion with a booking for a BnB and not finding other hosts home either, we ended up at a pricy city hotel/conference center. We again had a suite with a washing machine and refrigerator, a second bedroom locked off, two twins beds for us, and a large bathroom with tub. Since we actually had eaten lunch we chose light supper at the hotel.

Waking to gray skies and drizzle, we had our breakfast buffet and headed east.  We weren’t quite sure where we would end the day.  The Mourne Mountains in the southeast are reported to be picturesque, but they were feeling shy today hiding in the low gray clouds.  Newcastle was the longest stop and perusing the shops brought us to a wonderfully aromatic butcher/deli.  As I ogled the goodies on the shelves I came across the cheese section on the other side of the store.  Oh, they had cooleeney cheese, the type of brie I found in Dingle last year and enjoyed in a baguette sandwich.  I just had to buy a round! Along with olive oil/sea salt crackers and a bottle of water we had a snack for lunch a couple of days.
Before leaving we decided we would continue to the coast where one can take a car ferry from Strangford to Portaferry.  The ten minute ride for the car and two passengers came to just under seven pounds.  The ten minute ride seemed quick and quiet.  As I needed to pee and Bill needed a break from the stress of confusing Google map directions, we rested in Portaferry Hotel bar.  The other goal was to find a place to spend the night.  The hotel was expensive at about $155 with breakfast.  The wifi was so much better than any we had had, even at the hotel conference center by far.   I went to reception to inquire about a room while Bill finished his beloved Guiness.  The clerk confirmed the rate and asked if I wanted a room with a view of the lough for over thirty dollars more.  I declined.  The owner/manager was sitting behind the clerk and said I could have the more expensive room for the standard rate!  Well, he wanted to show me some rooms so upstairs we went.  Both had a view.  The second room had a king bed and single with a slightly better view of the sea from the bed.  We agreed to take room ten for the standard rate. Score!

Back in the bar I told Bill the good news so when he was done I showed him the fancy Georgian style room with a view.  He was quite impressed!   After bringing up the bags we checked out the area around the hotel.  The aquarium includes seal rehab and release so we decided to check out that.  The entry was about twelve dollars each but since it was helping a good cause, we paid and enjoyed the exhibits.  The clerk gave me a map which she said included the hours of feedings.  Fortunately I gave the list a look as just after we got to the first exhibits the feeding of the otters was taking place.  We booked through several displays and found the river otters outside being fed small fish by the workers.  Two of them were brought from zoos where they weren’t happy, became a couple, and gave birth to a son nine months ago.  They are Oriental otters and do not have the temperament of our sweet Emma at the Toucan Rescue Ranch.  After being fed they spent a few minutes outside and then disappeared into their den.  Later we saw them through a window.  The parents were playing with each other while the young one curled up nearby in the corner.  We then enjoyed watching the rays, seeing a female seal in the hospital resting from puncture wounds on her back, saw two healthy ones in a pool outside, and then saw the rest of the fish, a few rainforest species, and headed back to the hotel.

Dinner at the hotel was the best food we have had the entire trip.  It was tasty, fresh, and seemed created by a chef who cares.  My crab risotto was a bit too spicy for me, but not heavy.  Bill’s meat and onion pie had a flaky crust and finally had mashed potatoes which weren’t at all dry.  As the meals were so well prepared we opted to try desserts.  They, too, were of high quality.  Sticky toffee pudding and fudge cake with salted caramel were served with ice cream.  Yum!

After another big breakfast, this time eggs Benedict on Irish soda bread for me, we meandered around town.  The rain had stopped and the sun was trying to evaporate the remains.  The village is picturesque and seemed quite small.  After checking out of the hotel we wound our way around the peninsula gradually heading north.  The town of Greyabbey is home to Grey Abbey, the only Cistercian abbey  in existence in Ireland founded by a woman.  Back then, in 1193, she was the wife of an Anglo-Norman invader.  The Gothic style was unusual for the time.  The neighboring cementary is chock full of leaning tall gravestones as well as the short stubs.  The sunshine provided warmth as we wandered around the grounds.

Not being in a hurry we stopped by the Ulster Flying Club which offers pleasure flights and training flights.  As the weather had been so unpredictable we hadn’t made plans to take advantage of their business, so perhaps on another visit we will do so.

We found our way to the Air BnB in Belfast, dropped off our luggage, and returned the car to Sixt.  The mile walk back was certainly needed after not getting much exercise for two weeks.  A quick stop at a convenience store gave us a bottle of water and some fruit, and then we settled in to our digs.

Newport to Cavan Burren Park

After meandering around An Curren, we headed south to the small town of Newport.  There seemed to one short Main Street for all the business needs and another stretch on the other side of the river.  Crossing itis a seven arch pedestsrian bridge.  The lovely sunny weather, day two in a row, provided elevated views of this quaint locale.  Signage indicated several hiking trails in the area and there is also the Greenway, a biking trail that stretches from Achill Island, through Newport, and ends in Westport.  We both thought this would be a great area to spend more time to enjoy the activities.  The tourism office posted a notice of a dark sky meeting the end of October with an astronomy club that seems to meet monthly.

Westport is a booming town which likely is inundated with tourists during prime season.  As it was, on a Monday morning there seemed to be plenty of visitors.  A quiet canal with short arched bridges provides sustenance for mallard ducks.  The waterfront harbor was pretty tame for the huge hotels and shops in that area.  We didn’t spend a lot of time here.

After leaving Westport we spent the night at Courtyard Apartments in Carrick-upon-Shannon for 70 Euros.  It was very quiet and quite large.  There is a good size open kitchen/living/dining room with washer/dryer, a bedroom with a double and a twin, and a very spacious bathroom.

The town is known for boat hires and there is actually a rowing club.  The doors were open and we were able to view several really long sculls waiting.  Dinner was slim pickings as it was a Monday night.  The Bush Hotel provided expensive but good enough food.  The lemon lime cheesecake was misnamed as it was more of a light gelatinous pie.  We had to take care of ourselves for breakfast for the first time, and Coffey’s Pastry Cafe allowed us light fare.  We each had scones, Bill had apple pie with cream, and I had a slice of ginger cake.  Quite tasty and a much more appropriate amount of food.

The next day we continued east back towards the United Kingdom, Bill stopped at a lakeside park.  Displayed there was a sign showing local areas of interest.  We decided to investigate two of them.

First was Whitefathers Cave which is in a wooded area not far from the road.  A small stream flows through what was once one large cave, but after some collapses there are three sections.  A trail follows the stream to main entrance of the cave where there are concrete steps and a railing.  Although bats live in the cave, one can’t see inside far enough to view them.

Then we found Cavan Burren Park which is only three years old.  It has an information center and several trails from which one can see Neolithic tombs and such.  The Giant’s Tomb is from about 2500 BC at the end of the Neolithic Age and is one of the three largest and best preserved in Ireland.  It has two sections.  Supposedly, a giant was buried here after competing for the attention of a young female giant and leaping over a gorge to his death.  Another wedge tomb from the same era is Tollygobben, supposedly built by an Irish craftsman of folklore and was for his wife and son.  It faces towards the setting sun of the winter solstice.

There is also a portal tomb from about 4500 BC which was reconstructed with some question as to the direction the portal should face.  In the late 18th-early 19th century it was used to house animals.  From the same time period are some u-shaped stone structures used to house turf.  They were placed in rocky areas to prevent the absorption of moisture by the turf.  The walls kept out cattle while the opening provided access to the fuel.

The various trails were well-maintained and enjoyed on this sunny day, despite the forecast of some rain.  There was scat throughout the system making me wish I knew which animals had left them.   Sitka spruce were planted here years ago and have self-sown rather well.

Achill Island

Saturday we pushed through to Achill Island arriving late afternoon.  Despite using at the last minute, I was able to secure a reservation at Derreen’s Hill House, and the owners immediately sent an email with directions.  That was good because although we were right there, we didn’t see the small rock at the driveway entry to indicate we had arrived.  We pulled in and parked by the new construction, as indicated with the Mayo flags flying, and were warmly greeted by Rob and Angie.   They showed us our en suite room and then the best part, our own private living room.  It was separate from the bedroom, designated only for the guests.  As they offer just one bedroom,  this living space was not to be shared with anyone.  It was spacious with lots of wide sofa seating, a fireplace, views of the bay, and where we were served our breakfast.  They call it the London Room due to the wallpaper commemorating their former residence.

Just down the road is an old cemetery and a castle of Grace O’Malley, formidable female pirate of days gone by.  Sheep help keep the grass around the gravestones at a low level. The castle is really just a tower which seemed to have had several floors.   We kept eyes out for seals but never did see any, though our hosts did twice that day.   They even saw a sea otter.

Further on, in the middle of the island, is a long road up a mountain topped with cell towers.  From there is a superb view of Keem Bay with its wide wide beach of gently sloping sand.  The color is exquisite.  We continued on up the hill to where we could see a religious statue, and from there the views were a bit grander.  Many cairns pepper the down slope on the other side.   Having to pee and with no one else around, I hid on the side of the statue protected from the wind and took advantage of the situation.

Once back down at sea level we visited that enormous beautiful beach.  Few people were enjoying this rare sunny warm day but a father and daughter were having fun with buckets of sand.  Perhaps a sand castle was in the making.  At low tide the sandy beach seemed to go on forever before touching the low waves curling on to the shore.

At the end of the road and the island is Keel Bay, another gorgeous, yet smaller, beach.  From here one can hike to the top of the tallest sea cliffs, say some, in Europe.  Having already exercised enough where the view was better, we left this adventure for others.  We continued exploring the island by road though there was really nothing particularly exciting.   I did buy some sea salt made on the island, but have yet to try it.

Dinner the first night was at Alice’s Restaurant, back near the entry bridge.  The dinner was pretty good, the salmon being moist, though the dessert was nothing special.  The next night we ate at Amethyst Restaurant.  We arrived just as the crushing defeat of the county Irish football team happened again, so the waitress seemed a bit snippy at first.  She settled down once she turned off the deafening television and waited for our orders to be ready.  Again, the food was ok.  I had lamb this time, which I think I really prefer as chops or in a stew.

After leaving Achill Island we took Rob’s advice and drove the long way around Curren which follows Clew Bay.  He hoped we would observe basking sharks and/or dolphins, but we were simply given sparkling calm deep azure water with the ever present sheep grazing nearby.

Balleek Woods and Downpatrick Head

About a half hour down the road is a wonderful wooded area on the River Moy where it is possible, though not probable, to see river otters!  Being a Saturday there were numerous joggers which passed us in pairs off and on while we meandered the trails.  With the tide being out there were many birds seeking breakfast and boats moored awaiting the next trip.  We were not lucky in viewing otters but at least we know where to try again to see the elusive sweet critters on another visit.  The woods were peaceful and mostly clean of litter.  There are dozens of stopping points which a brochure details the importance.  Many noted the planting of trees, but there is also remains of a boathouse, and a grave of a man, and another of his beloved dog.  Along one trail a small bird suddenly landed on a shrub near us and stayed there for several moments allowing its photograph to be taken.  I loved the burnt orange breast.  Later I found it is a common robin, but more wren like than the ones in the States.  There is also a castle on the grounds which offers a tour of the interior and houses a restaurant.  As we approached the back of it a remarkable cat same by, went crazy scampering up and down three nearby trees, and then paused enough for us to comment on the markings.  Very unusual spots!  Facebook friends convinced us it was a Bengal.

Another half hour away is a very impressive 126 foot stack rock structure, Downpatrick Head, standing about 100 meters off the cliff in the ocean. Back in 1393 it was attached to the mainland by an arch which broke away in a storm. The inhabitants had to be rescued by ship’s rope! Can’t say that seems like fun! No protective barriers to keep people away from the edge which would be required in the States. People just have to make good decisions!

Donegal Town and Neolithic Tombs

After another hearty breakfast, though smaller scale than usual, we continued on the Wild Atlantic Way and took a driving break in Donegal town.  Maybe due to the call of tourists, we had to pay to park, only we didn´t have the right change.  While Bill guarded the car, as the traffic police were about, I found a kind middle aged owner of a coffee shop who was willing to cheerfully change my pound for a variety of cents.

We meandered about, looking for t-shirts for the woman who cleans for us, and came upon Donegal castle and a three-arched bridge.  Despite no luck finding an appropriate Ireland shirt for Ana, we returned to the coffee shop as I had noticed he was selling raw native honey.   A friend of his has bee hives near Sligo and is teaching the cafe owner about beekeeping.  Meanwhile he sells the expensive honey.  A dapper chap was standing at the counter having a cuppa while we chatted about the honey. He had been a golf caddy at Greenbriar in West Virginia!   The owner was very impressed with our leave of the US and settling in a foreign country and found us inspirational.

Of increasing interest to me are Neolithic tombs, of which there are many in this part of Ireland.  Just south of Sligo is Carrowmore, one of four large Megalithic cemeteries in Ireland.  There are about thirty tombs on this site, in various stages of repair.  They are laid out in an oval shape around the central one, a dolman of great weight.   Usually five upright stones create a chamber, which is covered with a capstone, and surrounded by a circle of large boulders.  Most of the activity here occurred about 5600 or so years ago.  Agriculture was the center of their lives until the climate curtailed the abundance of cereals.  Then they became cow farmers.  The culture seems fascinating, as heard the tour guide explain to a group of Dutch tourists, which requires research on my part to get a better understanding.

By then it was late afternoon and the best lodging was at O’Gradys bar and shop.  The matriarch is 87 years old and still manages the clients at the bar.  She is a little hard of hearing but seems to be quite energetic and bit of a character.  Though from England, she worked there before finishing her studies, left to continue them, but then was called back and never did return to England.   Being a small village there didn’t seem to be much available for restaurants, but she claimed they served everything!  The next morning there was to be a sheep mart.  In preparation for that a local business prepared numerous meals for people and the bar was storing them overnight.  While Bill had a Guiness and I had a pot of tea at the bar, her friend Birdie prepared our dinners.  For ten euros each two were reheated for us.  Bill had chicken curry with rice, and I had a chicken breast with a bit of stuffing, ham, and a mixture of vegetables.  Part of the establishment is a convenience store on the other side of the bar.  Wanting a bit of sweetness, I walked over there to buy some ginger cookies and some chocolate ones.

Our room overlooked a side street and was near to the bar’s smoking area.  Though for a few hours we could hear people gathering out there the noise never seemed to last long. In the morning we had another full breakfast, paid the bill which had to be done at the store, and continued on.

Dunfanaghy to Slieve League

The rains today lasted a bit longer but we still had plenty of sunshine when it really counted.  The most striking part of the drive was at the end of the day when we arrived at Slieve League.  Some say it rivals the Cliffs of Moher.  The drop is not sheer vertical cliffs as such, but they are still striking.  The first interesting spot that blew us away was a long but thin waterfall being pushed in the opposite direction by the gale force winds.  When we arrived we thought it was raining but as we left we realized it was simply the water which couldn´t fall as it was blown upwards and landing on the entry.

The strong winds made it difficult to take photographs but the incredible cliffs and teal white capped waters below were amazing.  Wow, I thought the winds at Downhill were strong, but these made it really difficult to walk up the stone steps to access more views. I had to bend over and rest my gloved hand on the ground to keep myself from being blown over.  My raincoat was snapping sharply and loudly.  Even at that I was being pushed to the right, thankfully away from the edge of the cliff!  Then the contour of the land changed enough to ease the challenge of progressing in the correct direction.  We continued onwards and upwards with no more extreme efforts though the descent was just as difficult in that one area.  I chose to walk on the grass as I was afraid the winds would blow me down onto the stone steps.   Breaking a hip was not on the agenda.

Back in the car we marveled again at the reverse waterfall and descended to air was warmer and tranquil.  At the lower parking lot we took a restroom break and found a BnB we decided to try just a bit further back down the road.  For sixty euros we gave it a try.

From Derry to Dunfanaghy

Shortly after departing the BnB in the sunshine, rain and rainbows became the norm.  Just a few minutes away was Grianan of Aileach, a stone fort built back in 1700 BC.  Supposedly, the good god Dagda ordered the Celts to construct what was to be a burial monument to his dead son.   This perfectly round structure has three levels and was restored in the 1870´s.   We certainly enjoyed the 360 degree views from the top despite rain as we arrived and its return while we were on the top level.  The distant loughs and emerald green countryside were just exquisite.

Then it was down to Letterkenny and then north again to the other side of Lough Swilly where we took a stretch break in the quaint village of Ramelton.  We agreed we could spend more time there in the future.  There are still some Georgian buildings and a wide stream passes under a triple arch stone bridge.  Back in its heyday there were eight churches!  Progress brought the train to Letterkenny and Belfast became a linen center which led to a ¨decline¨to Ramelton.  The sun was warming our backs and the delightful weather just made idyllic moments.

At the tip of this peninsula is Fanad Head with a lighthouse where one can take a tour to learn its history and pay extra to enter the top of the building.  We opted to stay outside and just enjoy the views.  The brilliant sunshine and breeze made for another pleasant experience.

Arriving in Dunfanaghy we took the Horn Head diversion on the Wild Atlantic Way.  At the tip of the loop we detoured down a dead end which afforded a look at Tory Island, 12 km in the distance.  The king of the island greets everyone as they disembark the ferry, but with the rather active seas we chose not to take the trip out there.  Our host that night said there isn´t much there anyway.  After enjoying the vistas we turned on the portable hotspot and found a BnB for the night.  The comfortable house is owned by an Irishman who spent several years working in Trumbull and Fairfield, Connecticut.  He returned to Eire with his New Hampshire wife five years ago.  We were quite lucky in that he told us a jazz festival was starting the next day and would last for four days.  All accommodations have been booked for quite some time!  After a tasty seafood chowder and side dish of carrots my full tummy said it was time to retire!

Cooley Cross to Malin Head and Around then Down

With a sunny morning we departed after another large Irish breakfast.  Cooley Cross was just outside Moville, not too far along the Wild Atlantic Way.  Despite much Googling, I still haven´t found why the cross is named as such.  Cooley is the site of a Early Middle Ages 14th century monastery founded by St. Finian. The monolithic high cross has no carvings but does have a pierced ring and a hole.  It is believed to be pre-Christian.  A footprint at the base is said to belong to St. Patrick.  Inside the cementary are ancient tombstones, many in disrepair or simple stones. The grass had recently been cut after a long stretch of time as it was quite long lying about.  One small hut, similar to the beehive huts or cells that monks of that time used, remains and a glimpse inside reveals a couple of white bones.  There is another stone wall, a remanant of an ancient church.   Despite much searching the name Cooley did show itself on any of the tombs.  I felt a bit sad when I left, as those I was leaving personal history behind.

We meandered around Moville a bit but the information center our host had promised, does not exist according to the local butcher.  An ATM provided us with more Euros, and a pharmacy carried a sunscreen containing Mexoryl which I purchased. I had recently read that ingredient is used in Europe but not in the States.  It is supposed to be more friendly and not a possible carcinogen.

Further up the road is another village called Greencastle where one can walk along the paved coastal path.  Bill found some more blackberries, but these were lacking in flavor, in contrast to the ones he found on the Inishowen peninsula.  Seeing a lighthouse well up the coast we drove up there and enjoyed a brief shore visit before the shower began.  Interesting algae lay on the sand during the low tide.  A flock of cormorants were further out on a rock.  The lighthouse was not to be visited but did make for a scenic view.  The port-a-potties were handy, once the rain slacked.

The northern most point of Ireland is Malin Head.  The walk around Banba’s Crown is truly wild and rocky.  With waves crashing into the craggy cliffs and outcroppings, we watched in awe at the light fury in front of us.  At one point, for a split second or two, was a seal popping its head out of the water.  Although grey seals are said to thrive there that was all we were able to see.   I didn’t want to leave this wild wonder.  Incredibly, there was a sail boat way out, supposedly in calmer waters.  It must have been right bone chilling out there!  We were actually lucky with all the rain showers throughout the day that it wasn’t just a downpour while we were there as that area is known for its soaking rains.  A bit of a sprinkle and lots of wind was all we were presented.  Quite pleasant, really.

By then it was early afternoon and we still had as far to drive to get back.  Gas became a challenged to find as three stations in different villages were not working.  We decided to cut short the periphery and cut down the middle of the peninsula and luckily found some fuel before we ran out.  Getting on in the afternoon we stopped in Buncrana for a Guiness and then dinner at the Harbour Inn.  The food was average but the shared vegetable soup was warming.  The baked cod was bland, despite the butter and lemon. The garlic sautéed potatoes were tasty, though!

Wicked Wind, Stunning Scenery, and a Walled City

After I made a quick visit to Dark Hedges, showers, and breakfast we checked out of the hotel.  First stop was Downhill with its majestic panorama of scattered architecture atop another jaw dropping cliff.  When we arrived at Bishops Gate the main entrance was closed, but I found a small door latched open.  Despite the property being officially closed we saw other people enter so followed their lead.  After gorgeous gardens and a walk through the woods we entered an open field allowing us entry to view the mausoleum.  Of course, just as we began to make our way another wind whipped shower began to fall on us in an already soggy area.  We found a bit of shelter on the leeward side of the structure and realized there was another breathtaking wide spread of beach in the far distance with scads of white capped waves.  Noticing that the road passed the field on the other side we returned to the car and drove over there.  From the parking lot we entered the grounds and visited the rookery where one long pigeon was wishing we would disappear.  Back in the day the pigeons were a wonderful source of food which was otherwise scarce.
Beyond the field in the back we spied another breathtaking expanse of beach and over to the right was a glimpse of the Mussendon Temple.  Despite being buffetted about by strong strong winds we made it over there without being blown off the cliff.  Supposedly it was a library for the owner, though it is rumored it was for his mistress.  A fireplace in the basement and a closed flue kept the books from ever getting damp.  As the summer hours were over we could not gain access, but what a stunning building in a fabulous location.  Over time the cliff has eroded.  How sad will be the day when it can no longer support this incredible work of art in the middle of nowhere.

Between the temple and the mausoleum are the remains of an enormous mansion which was lived in until 1922.  One owner is said to have a bit of humor.  He would lightly sprinkle flour on the hallway floor at night to see which of his guests were making nocturnal visits to other bedrooms….During WWII it was used as billets for soldiers.  In 1944 it was sold and left to ruin.

After a bathroom break we continued on to Magilligan Point, a triangular bit of land that is on one side of Louth Foyle, with a ferry across the water over to the Inishowen peninsula. It has military firing range, a formerly notorious prison which is still in operation, and a small tower which was used to keep the French at bay. With alternating rain and sun and the ever present wind, we had to wait out the showers from time to time.

Londonderry/Derry became our next port of call.  We parked the car and took the Lonely Planet tour of the walls around the center of the city.  Cannons, the most famous is called Roaring Meg and used during the Siege of Derry, are in place at various points along the top plenty wide for pedestrians.  A bit of rain and wind surges followed us around.  In the distance one can see scads of townhouses packed together, especially on the Bogside which also sports many murals depicting the most recent unsettled times.  The most exciting part of the tour was seeing Dalai Lama leaving a large building in a car with security watching out.  As the chauffeur began driving, the Dalai Lama put his hands in prayer position and bowed his head slightly to the adoring spectators.


After checking in at a BnB further outside Bogside we returned to the city for dinner.  We walked quite a bit trying to find a pleasant place but ended up at a two-story bar/restaurant packed full of too many people and fussy young children.  At least the chicken curry and chicken carbonara were delicious.