Day 22: Civil Rights in Belfast and the Titanic

Today was going to be a great day, especially for the weather - clear skies, sun, and near 50 some degrees.  Awesome for a day of city touring of Western Belfast.

The day started with the usual routine of a shower, dress, and heading down to the reception area and the food area.  Breakfast was grand - an assortment of cereal, fruit, sausage, bacon, potatoes, scrambled eggs, and even the typical choice of the "Traditional Irish Breakfast."

After breakfast, we headed out to meet up with a guy named Patty who was a black taxi driver (color for the taxis in Belfast - however he drove a "white" black taxi if that makes sense...).  He was our guide tour around the area of Western Belfast where their civil rights movement like Derry had occurred.  The "battle" was between Protestants and Catholics as well as the British Army and the ruling area.  We stopped several times along the way where Patty showed us painting murals depicting the struggle between the three groups.  We also were able to stop around the Peace Wall that was put up to break the two groups into a "peaceful" surrounding.  Finally, we stopped at several houses that included paint murals of political figures and even stopped at the headquarters for the IRA (Irish Republican Army.

After we dropped Patty off, we then drove once again around the Titanic Studios and harbor area to get a few more pictures.

Around 11.30, we then stopped at the Titanic Museum.  If you ever visit Ireland, you DEFINITELY need to stop in Northern Island (Belfast) and see the museum and location of where the Olympic as well as the Titanic were built.  The museum is full of interesting history and depicts the booming time in Belfast with industrial production.  The museum also includes a little ride throughout the "docks" of the ship building area.  The museum itself is built like a start-shaped building where people who see the museum from above or even space can view a star (I prefer to call it an "iceberg" because they also added detail to portray that design as well).

After finishing the tour, I then made my way down to the souvenir shop area and made a purchase (which was done in pounds or sterling since we were technically in the UK).

Walking out the back doors of the museum you then had the opportunity to walk all the way down to the end of the dock and see the actual size of both ships - their outline was recreated on the ground with light strips and you could visually see the size of the ship from the ground level.  What a great sight to see.

After everyone made it back on the bus, we then headed for home.  We stopped at a little service rest stop similar to the one we had stopped to before and then finally made our way back into Dublin.

We spent the time talking about our experiences and thanking the entire staff for what they had done for us and wished each other a great last day in the classroom.  Once John and I were dropped off at our bus stop, we walked back to the house and met up with Catherine and Ron.

We talked for most of the night about our trip and our experience and what was going to happen in the next three days.  After a late dinner, we then made our way up stairs and got ready for bed.  Unfortunately I did not stay up for the Steelers game, BUT I did wake up to see the actual ending of the game (big win too!).

Tomorrow is the last day in the classroom.  I cannot believe it has been almost twenty some days spent in Ireland.  All I can say is I'm looking forward to our little get-together tomorrow night at the Arlington Hotel and expect several great laughs with Dr. Lehman, John Nolan and Lidia, and Tommy our bus driver!