Apparently, I’m meant to visit Belfast and Northern Ireland bit by bit…everytime, I discover something else that I should try next time…This time, I learnt that if I want a true visit of Belfast and its surroundings, I should use the Black Cab Political Tour. How do I know about it? By having taken an another (rather lousy) tour but the guide (a lazy Irish girl if I met any…) still was willing to talk quite freely about the political situation in the so-called new haven of peace. I thus investigated and found this quite interesting paper by Greg Oates leading me to them.
When I came back from my previous visit in Belfast, my first visit in fact, it had been such a shock to discover communities leaving behind walls and fences that it totally destroyed any hopes I ever held regarding peace in the middle-East. Belfast still has two school systems with totally different programmes! I’m glad that the next day, I met a group of Scouts from the whole region and saw the Norther Irish kids have fun and talk to their Donegal and Galway counterparts. “No politics with the Scouts, and all kids equal said their leader!
Back to the Middle-East, my day had started with an interesting coffee at Café Nero on Donegal Square, where I had a fascinating discussion with Lydia Wilson, a young historian specialised in ancient arabic cultures who recommended the following book if I meant to understand anything about the Syrian Conflict.
Yet, I absolutely adored the very intense people I found in this City, so this time, I came back as a tourist to discover the Tall Ship Race, by the grace of a misreading as stated in a previous post, and the Giant Causeway. But my next trip, soon, I hope, will be totally political as I wish to understand how in a globalised world such tensions can not only exist, survive but nurture themeselves. For example, how “Loyalist Cities”such as Larne really show off
As a good tourist, however, I discovered Carrickfergus Castle, heard about the Cottage to use to belong to Andrew Jackson’s parents (who gives a damn said the knowledgeable guide, the guy never set a foot there anyhow!) Then we moved on to far more important scenery, the staging of most of the Game of Throne HBO series….starting with Castle Black (aka the Wall) in Season 1.
As it is, pilot studies meant to stage the Series in Scotland, but the proximity of Titanic studios where all the interior scenes are filmed, plus the tax waving in Northern Ireland and the proximity of the spectacular Giant Causeway did the rest…!
80% of the exterior scenes are filmed in Northern Ireland, while the remaining 20% (i.e. the “sunny scenes”) are filmed in Croatia and Malta, with also the Icelandic scenery in some of the dramatic moments too.
Anyhow, I let you discover the absolutely exquisite beauty of the sites, hoping that it means more to you in terms of Game of Throne than it does to me! However, I’ll certainly now watch the series in order to experience again the breathtaking charm of this part of the world! The Giant’s Causeway’s history can be investigated by clicking on link but far more interesting are its legends…