I'm pretty sure that Northern Ireland is the most beautiful place I've even been to, and that's saying a lot. It was so incredibly amazingly lovely that, on the bus ride home, I was actually disappointed that we were going back to Dublin. Really.
We went to Belfast first. In some ways, Belfast seemed more city like than Dublin-- its buildings were higher, at least-- but there were less people around, and the people who were there, seemed friendlier. They smiled more, and seemed happier to see the people around them. Even with their murals and memorials and Peace Wall, it didn't really feel like like a city that had been paralyzed by what was basically civil war just decades earlier. I think that might just have been me, though. I still have a hard time imagining that something like that could have happened to such a developed country not that long ago. I mean, I was alive during some of it! Not that I had any idea of it, I was only a kid. But, I'd never even heard of The Troubles until college! I signed the Peace Wall, anyway. Because peace is awesome.
Then, I took pictures of things that made me smile.
There were a lot.
But, when we got out to the country? That was my favorite. I'm not used to living in cities, and I've missed nature desperately. As we drove north, it was just so exciting, because there were trees! I adore trees, and Dublin just doesn't have enough. We drove for a while, and didn't stop until we got to Ballintoy, at the tip of Northern Ireland.
It was beautiful. So beautiful. It was already starting to get dark but, as soon as we got out things into the hostel, and few friends and I set out to explore.
We found a playground! Complete with a creepy bear trashcan. One of the things that I don't understand about Ireland is how you never see college kids on playgrounds. Actually, you don't really see many people on them at all. It's kind of sad. We played the hell out of that playground, though. It needed it.
The next day was a mix of sheep, running around rocks and ruins and climbing everything in sight. We almost died a couple of times.
Like when we went on the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.
And stood on cliffs.
And ran around the Giant's Causeway like crazy people.
And climbed on things we weren't supposed to. Like castles.
It was magical.
Someday, I'm going back.