Wednesday, August 28, 2013

UK 2013 - day 4: Belfast and Mournes

We made sure we bought the news paper letting everyone know baby George was born. It was on TV all day.

So, at breakfast we were told that the night before was student's night, that is why we had action till late again. Yes, it was Monday night, but it is school holiday, so I guess it is ok for student to party on Monday night.

Last night we got a tip from Stanley last night to go to the Public Records in Belfast. Maybe there we would find more info on the missing links in our family tree. So, armed with all the info we got, we headed to Belfast, to the Public Records, which might just tie in everything.

Our weather luck seemed to be over. The forecast called for cloudy day with showers. Well, guess what! It was sunny with some rain during the drive there and back.

We learned that parking on a weekday is much (oh, yeah, much) more expensive than on the Saturday. Unfortunately St. George's Market is closed on weekdays. I would have loved another St. George's meal time. I just love that place.

Well, but this is Tuesday. Let's get to our business. We headed to  PRONI, which was supposed to be on Chichester St. But when we got to the government building on that street, we learned it had moved to the Titanic Quarter.

It was a lovely day to walk and we definitely prefer not to drive much on a city we don't know. So we had a nice time walking to the PRONI and talking about cultural differences. Small cars, lack of internet access without having to enter your entire personal profile, accents, traditional values.

The PRONI was an interesting place. It is so full of information ... unfortunately for us, we were not able to find he missing link. Some records were lost in a Dublin fire that is believed to have been intentional - to erase protestant records. But we indeed learned how to find information. We are putting this find and everything from yesterday together. We will be taking it all with us to England, where we will meet  up with Stanley's brother - the historian.

The funny thing is Dean had actually gotten a hold of his brother before we ever met Stanley. In fact we met Stanley by chance: as he was leaving church on Sunday. Someone who was talking to us stopped him and introduced us. Then he mentioned he had a brother in London who had a lot of history on genealogy for our family ... "Wait! we are meeting a guy in London ... is his name Richard?" Yup, it as the same person.

We, then walked back downtown for lunch. We thought of trying the Bittles bar, but they are only a bar - no food served. We haven't been lucky with pubs here this time. Can't we find a freaking Irish pub in Ireland? Well, across the street from Bittles there was a restaurant, right next to the Victoria Mall.

After lunch we went for a walk in the mall,  then over to ... ta-dah ... Boots (!) for more of their shaving stuff.

Mourne Mountains
It was still 3 pm, we had enough time to drive through the Mourne Mountains - even though it wasn't enough time to go for a hike.

When we stopped at Tesco for a bathroom break, Dean found a version of Red Bull called Tesco Blue Spark.
Boy, oh boy! 40p for a Red Bull generic - I kid you not. Dean said it made him feel better and he was almost falling asleep before.

Heaven! I'm in heaven!

We drove to the coastal town of New Castle to start our drive through the Mournes. The weather had been so nice to us untill that point tthat we were optimistic! All of these days here and it only rained twice - on our way to Belfast and on our way home after the Mournes route - Mean after we saw all the beautiful stuff.
Other than that - sunny days - temperatures in the low 70s - they have been calling it a heat wave.

At New Castle we saw the news of the new prince having been born. And we paid £14 for a 4 gig memory card. Yup, our card had ended and we forgot to buy a new one at Tesco.
Yes, people, before you leave on vacation, check your memory card, buy a new one just for safety. It is always cheaper to buy it from the comfort of your internet at home.

We then walked along the shore, and took pictures of the stores. Why? Because the sun was high up and they were all closing at 5:30.

I would love to have gone hiking at the Castlewellan Forest Park, but we had not time. I have seen pictures. It looks beautiful. But our priority was the family search, and the family search took our time from hiking.
But if you want to go hiking there, follow the signs that start in New Castle.

For dinner we just had sandwiches bought at ASDA along with a 2-liter cider we bought the night before at ASDA as well!!!!!!!

Finally, this will sound very odd, but there is not a sound coming from the pubs tonight.

As our last day in Ireland, we made a little reflection on things we have noticed:
We see a lot of windmills around here. They are everywhere.

Much to Dean's annoyance, there is a lack of internet readily available, unless we type in all of our personal information, the color of our underwear, the last time we had a haircut, etc.
To me, it is annoying that we can't just access information immediately -  know everything we want to know when we want to know it. We are so used to having all of our questions answered on the spot. For instance, what is that building we are looking at? What is the trailer of this movie on the billboard?
On the other hand, we can always ask someone. I guess internet is good and bad. It gives us full access to information, but then we lose the conversation that we can have with people.

Things here are more permanent, more traditional. I am opposing it to the things in America, which seem more fluid. People move from place to place, people move from church to church. Move, move, move, change, change, change. People here don't move much, they stay in their place, they stay in their church, they stay in their jobs - if you marry a person from another church, the wife follows the husband. Their cities are smaller. Their lifestyle is slower. They close business at 5:30, they don't open on Sundays. They dress for the occasion - farming clothes for work; dressy clothes to have people over and to go to church, dress down clothes to go shopping; the student's uniform is formal. Everything here screams permanence, tradition ...

Cows, it seems like everyone has them. Little tiny houses, with a little yard, and huge COWS in them.

Tesco -£0.80(cash)
Boots - £7.70(credit)
multi-storey car park at Montgomery st. - £14.20(credit)
ASDA - £8.68(credit)
Boots - £3.41(cash)
AJCeletrical - £14.00(credit)
The kitchen bar - £25.29
petrol - £10.00(cash)

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