|Happy Fathers Day|
|Our first view of Ireland|
|Get your Party Shoes and Shorts Ready!|
|"Occupy Belfast" too--but no one is on the street!|
|Enormous Room of Bunks|
|Les and Sean at the Bushmill's Distillery|
|We walked a rope bridge to this island|
|This looks like a sand castle to me|
|Still Life (Get it?)|
|Les with the columnar basalt looking out to sea|
June 17—We went on a grand tour on a sunny day to the northern coast. On the way, we stopped by some castles and the Bushnell’s Distillery. There we toasted Les Lauther and Julia Baird for Father’s Day. We crossed the gap to a fishing island on a rope bridge modeled after those that the fishermen used to bring in their big salmon. It was a beautiful day to be out on the Giant’s Causeway. Like mid-Oregon, the columnar basalt has crystals that bend and collect into pleasing patterns. This formation goes right into the sea!
|Our Black Taxi|
|Our Taxi Driver/Guide Paddy|
June 18—The big part of today was the Black Taxi Tour. It was all about “the troubles” and how it developed and is resolving, and how it was to live in the troubled times. It is said that during the troubles, if you ended up in the back of one of these black taxis, you may not come back.
|It started here: King William III in 1690|
|The English set up a viewpost with Catholic homes below|
|Old photo of the view from the lookout|
|Les at the "Peace Wall"|
|Curfew Gates still in use|
|Bobby Sands died in a hunger strike in prison|
The English created large prisons in which to keep those criminals, but those in prison wanted to be treated as war prisoners and not common criminals. So they went around naked in blankets, refusing to wear the criminal uniform. They upped the ante by not showering or shaving, and by soiling the walls of the place.
|The kinds of prisons|
Finally, they started to fast. Many of them starved to death until Brendan Hughes put an end to it all, and they were treated like war prisoners, though the queen never officially called them war prisoners.
|Anyone want to buy some "Republican Gifts" at the Sinn Fein Shop?|
Years later, US President Clinton and George Mitchell finally got people from Sinn Fein and the British representatives to work out a peace process.
|The Protestant Side of the Wall|
Now, though there are still angry people on either side trying to fight for what they think is right, they are losing power because so many people are coming together for peace and cooperation.
|Remember a particularly bad neighborhood hit|
No one got exactly what he/she wanted; there is no unified Ireland. England no longer can legally dominate the Catholic Irish like they did before.
|Flags put up getting ready for "marching season"|
|Huge bonfire site. Furniture inside fire circle|
We were there 2 weeks before the marching season, where the (English) Protestants wear uniforms, carry flags and march through the whole of Ulster to celebrate William of Orange’s “success.” Paddy, our guide, was informative and dramatic. He said that many of the Catholics go on vacation about this time, as old passions flair up in violent ways. We saw their preparations for the giant bonfires; this is not a small thing.
|Rory and Ani|
|Who shrunk Les?|
|It was waste awareness week. Little electric car!|
|A fiber leprechaun at the end of this rainbow?|
|I'm in the Coates family!|
|Rory and mom|
|Les and Rory's dad|