finished our stay at Glengorm Castle and we had to start our day
early to make the ferry to the main island and drive to Glasgow
to catch our plane to Belfast.
The photos below are what we saw.
from Tobermory to Craignure to catch the ferry. Most of
the road was 2 lane, but there were a number of narrow stretches
that were only one land with pull-outs. There was plenty
of traffic, so great attention was required. Most of the
area was farms but once we hit the area around Craignure we came
upon this logging operation where locally cut timber was loaded
onto ships for transport.
into the ferry queue and then hiked around to see what was going
on. We spotted this Morgan in line.
ferry was a different type that I had seen before. The
whole bow of the ship opened to provide access.
bow is elevated, it is locked into place with a huge
hydraulically-actuated finger hooking on a large square pin.
is being lowered and the locking hooks can be seen.
ferry passage was calm and less than an hour. Our
destination was Oban. As we were coming into Oban's port,
we could see a number of nice houses right on the harbor.
Tower was visible on the hill above the harbor. Started in
1897 by John McCaig a wealthy Scottish banker, it was intended
to be a lasting monument to his family. Mission
Columbia's cathedral was also visible from the harbor.
Once we were on the shore, we headed out of Oban toward Glasgow to make our flight to Belfast. Just outside of Oban, we passed this modern bridge crossing one of the local rivers. A large portion of the road to Glasgow was quite narrow and there was lots of weekend traffic coming from Glasgow heading north into the Highlands. But, aside from hitting a large pot hole which pinched our front left tire, the trip was uneventful. The rental car company did not change me for the tire and we got on our plane on schedule.
cab ride from the Belfast City Airport got us to our
hotel. The Gregory is a guest house that is in a
residential area near the University. That night we went
to the city center and found a great place called Deane's which
had seafood. They had fresh oysters and lobster and it was
morning, we headed out to explore Belfast. Steve decided
that we would take the "Black Taxi Tour" which is a political
history of "The Troubles" in Belfast.
was punctual and drove us to spots that were significant in the
Troubles. Along the way, we passed this nice sculpture.
his narration, the driver took us to a series of murals that
were persistent reminders that the issues are far from
over. We got the download on each one, but after the
second one, the details blurred. This one shows the issues
surrounding the murder of a set of kids by the SAS. The
details have been classified and never released. I will
leave the reader to research the history of the Troubles for
Ireland, but suffice it to say, it is convoluted and fuzzy from
obfuscation by both sides.
the Black Taxi Tour is touted in a mural, I have to assume that
it is part of the "information dissemination" (AKA propaganda)
effort to get folks on their side.
driver claimed that prisoners at the Long Kesh prison were
gassed during a riot in 1974. I looked up CR gas and it is
rather nasty stuff. The U.S. uses CS gas, a close
neighbor, but CR is much more toxic.
and faces of fallen IRA members.
Alec is the person credited with brokering a lasting peace.
Sands is considered a hero of the PIRA. He died in prison
as a result of a hunger strike.
shocked to find that there is a fence and gates between the
warring sides of the city. The gates are closed on Friday
at about 6pm and remain closed until Monday morning.
fellow on the left was our taxi driver/narrator for the tour.
the stops that we made was at a Catholic cathedral that had
recently been refurbished.
interior of the cathedral was pristine.
cathedral, he took us on the other side of the wall to see some
of the adornments that were applied to the wall built by the
British Army during it's time in Northern Ireland.
encouraged to sign the wall; he came equipped with magic
An interesting piece
of art on the wall. There were hundreds of individual
pieces of metal cut into shapes that were "locally
significant" welded onto the basic under-structure.
A Loyalist Bar named
"Rex" (Latin for King) which was claimed to be the source of
the initial problem.
A mural of the queen
next to the loyalist bar.
As if on cue, there
was a loyalist protest in the Belfast Center area.
A crummy photos shot
through the dirty side window of the cab, but the idea is
clear: Northern Ireland is still not truly at peace. It
very well may never be given the deep divisions in the
We had the cabbie
drop is near the city center and we had an awesome
lunch. From there, we walked to our lodging. One
of the nice buildings in the city center.
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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2015, all rights
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.