Northern Ireland

20120914-235428.jpgWe drove up from Dublin today for our first of two days in Northern Ireland. Our first stop was Belfast, specifically the Falls Road, where my grandmother grew up. I’m not sure exactly where on the road she lived, but I wanted to go and check it out. I’m glad we went. It was interesting to see the strong politics there and how they’re demonstrated (flying Irish flags, the only place we’ve seen in Northern Ireland with Irish writing on the street signs) and it felt good to “visit” with my grandmother while here on this trip that makes me think of her so much.

20120914-235446.jpgAnd then we drove on to Portrush, on the Antrim Coast. When we came over the crest of the hill and saw the rocky costline and the wild sea, all I could say for several moments was, “Wow.” It is amazingly beautiful and rugged and wild. I have never fallen so instantly in love with a place. I would move here tomorrow and live here forever.

We checked into our hostel (our first hostel ever) and walked down to the point of land that sticks out into the Irish Sea. There’s a path and a small playground, and the wind is whipping and the ocean crashes all around. It’s like the edge of the world — but it’s green.

20120914-235514.jpgThe boys played and ran around while the waves crashed and sent the sea spray up into the air and then down on to all of us as mist. Liam loved it — the wind tangled his hair and he just ran. B wanted to go swimming (um, no) and then hid in the stroller to get away from the wind, but then wanted ice cream.

I love it here. I’ve said that before about other places, but this place feels different. It isn’t idyllic or perfect. A lot of people wouldn’t like it at all. But it speaks to me. I find it beautiful and very centering. It’s not that I like it here more than the other places I’ve been and loved, but this satisfies something different in me. Those other places are wonderful, and I want to go back. But this feels like finding a place I’ve been looking for all along and never thought I’d find.

I am so happy to be here, and so excited to see what we discover tomorrow.

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