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Posts Tagged ‘Northern Ireland’

The Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, Magic Steps to the Ocean

Northern IrelandThink about discovering her sights and sounds. It’s truly a hidden gem, and the place many Americans have their roots.

Belfast is the capital and largest city in Northern Ireland. It is a banquet of lovely gardens and neighborhoods, sublime Victorian homes and buildings.  There are extraordinary museums, great shopping and plenty of pubs filled with trad music and banter.

After all the hum and surprises that the big city has to offer, you might want to wind down and head to the countryside. Northern Ireland has one of the strangest and most exciting coastlines in the world. Explore the volcanic Giant’s Causeway. It’s made of 37,000 basalt columns running straight into the sea.  And, under the water, it leads to Scotland.  Many ancient tales surround the Giant’s Causeway.  How many are true?  There’s simply no way to know for sure, but let your imagination fly.

You’ll also want to explore the nine Glens of Antrim and experience the Mountains of Mourne sweeping down to the sea. And, a ramble through wild and gorgeous Donegal is a must, as is the serene Lake Country of Fermanagh.

Ireland is emerging unified, its troubles healed, its beauty and mystery made whole.

Your dedicated Authentic Ireland writers:  Meredith and Win Blevins

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Braveheart filmed in Ireland and the Scotch-Irish ConnectionThe Romans Called the Irish the Scoti

Which translated, means “the priates.”  There’s a reason for that:   When the Scoti (Irish) crossed the Irish Sea 1,500 years ago, they invaded the land of the Ancient Picts.  (Now there’s another interesting story, the Picts… We’ll get around to them later.)

After the invasion, the Pict’s land was called Scoti-land.  So, at that point, in translation there were actually two Irelands!   There are many things the Irish and Scots share, but here are two of the most important:

1)  Neither group was ever conquered by the Romans.  (Sorry, Brits.)

2)  They share the same Gaeilic branch of the linguistic tree.

Rathlin Island, clearly visible from Scotland and about 15 miles away, is part of Northern Ireland.  Rathlin is where Scotland’s leader Robert the Bruce retreated in 1307 after being defeated by the Brits.  It is said that Robert hid in a cave on the island. Here  he observed a spider patiently building its web each time it had been buffeted by a wind and was destroyed.  Inspired by the spider’s perserverance, Robert gethered up his Scottish forces and defeated the British at the decisive battle of Bannockburn.

We celebrate the island of Ireland as one.  We feel the ties to our Scottish neighbors.  And, we wonder how different the present would be if Scotland and Ireland had formed a single nation 700 years ago…  When you visit the northern areas of Ireland, you can feel and hear Scotland’s influence.  When  a local was asked about it, he joked, “The Scots are just Irish people who couldn’t swim home.”

Let us know how you think the world might be a different place had the Scots and Irish formed a Union so many hundreds of years ago, and we’ll chime in with our own ideas!

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