This was our last port of call and we were torn between staying in the city to see all the sights we had seen so much on the television, but we couldn’t resist the lure of the Giant’s Causeway, which was within easy reach.

Belfast docks

Belfast docks

 

The docks seemed very busy after the traquility of the harbours we had been visiting. Across the harbour from us was the famous Harland and Wolfe shipyard where the doomed Titanic was built, Samson and Goliath – the giant cranes, the Titanic Experience building and everywhere container ships.

 

Samson and Goliath

Samson and Goliath

Our guide, Marie Theresa, was once again a fund of information about the places we passed and the history of the area. She was very even handed when she told us about the troubles of recent years.
We drove inland through the counties of Downe and Antrim, passing through some beautiful villages. It was difficult to reconcile this gentle vista with the ugly scenes of bombing and fighting which we were seeing all too frequently on our television screens not so very long ago.
We stopped briefly to take photos of Dunluce Castle ruins.This castle was owned by the Duke of Buckingham in 17c.

 

Ruins of Dunluce Castle

Ruins of Dunluce Castle

The Visitors Centre at the Giant’s Causeway is managed by the National Trust and is run as efficiently as all their properties.
We had a tasty light lunch and then took the bus down to the stones. There were lots of people there clambering over the stones. We had been given maps and personal audiophones.

 

Stones of Giant's Causeway

Stones of Giant’s Causeway

 

Another viewing

Another viewing

 

View three

View three

 

Popular viewing point

Popular viewing point

We had two hours there which soon passed and then we set off back again, returning by the coast road.
The scenery is beautiful, cliffs, rocks and sandy bays. We passed through villages with colourful gardens and hanging baskets.

 

Rugged coastline

Rugged coastline

We arrived back in time for afternoon tea and swapped stories of what we had seen. Those who had been to the Titanic Experience had been very impressed by it and those who did the City tour had found parts of it very moving.
I would like to go back again at some time to see all these other things.
That evening was the Captain’s Farewell party so we all togged up in evening dress.
After dinner JW and I went to listen to the String Trio, who were very good. They played light classics. One of the tunes I recognised as a gavotte which I had danced to for my grade 3 ballet exam! I could even remember the steps, not bad after 60+ years. 🙂
We rounded off the evening sitting on deck and watching a lone gannet following in our wake, swooping, gliding and diving, giving a tireless acrobatic display.

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