Thursday, May 22, 2008

Northern Ireland

Last month I commented on the postcards my friend Victoria brought back from Ireland. I noted that they drew no distinction between the Republic and Northern Ireland. Just thiis month, another friend, Teresa, visited Northern Ireland, and sent these cards.

Teresa noted that postcards were hard to find (not just map postcards). Presumably they are not geared up for the tourist industry, even though they've all stopped shooting at each other. Give it some time...

This postcard (to the right) includes a tongue-in-cheek emphasis on the pastoral setting... but Guinness and oysters for breakfast? Hmmmm... Guiness maybe...

And interesting fact: The famous (and tragic) steamship, Titanic, was built in Belfast.

Lough Neagh is the largest lake in the United Kingdom, as well as the largest lake on the island of Ireland. Unlike Loch Ness, in Scotland, it is not known for sea monsters.

The Causeway Coastal Route covers eighty miles of coastline beginning in Belfast and ending in the Walled City of Derry. Tourist don't want to miss a visit to the Bushmills whiskey distillery.



At Thursday, May 22, 2008 , Blogger neil c said...

"even though they've all stopped shooting at each other. Give it some time..."

it has been over 10 years now...

At Thursday, May 22, 2008 , Blogger Cartophiliac said...

That is, of course, true. However, many tourists still have a perception that Northern Ireland is not a "safe place". Unfortunately, that may take another ten years...

At Thursday, May 22, 2008 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, it's been 10 years since the Good Friday Agreement, but it's been over 400 years since "plantation" and these things aren't easily forgotten. William of Orange and James are sometimes still on the minds of some folks in Northern Ireland. Yes, and Belfast still has the "Peace Wall" which can be anything from razor wire topped blast walls (hard to miss) to what looks like the expensive "Gated Community" enclosures that you find surrounding new communities of paranoid wealthy folks out here in AZ. Those weren't so obvious to me, I've seen them so often. These barriers can be passed through easily, but not always, like on weekends and special "remembrance" days. The walls don't seem to be likely to come down anytime soon because the people on both sides of the walls put them up (unlike, say, Berlin or Isreal/Palestine.) That sort of stuff still scares tourists (present company excluded.) But these barriers must be addressed if you are to see all the famous murals, among other things. The scars that still mark Belfast and Derry (Londonderry - just the naming of that place is still a hot political button) make for a very interesting and unusual travel experience. I found people from several sides of "The Troubles" who were willing to discuss their personal experiences and the history of this fraction of Irish history (often with tears in their eyes.) I learned a lot, especially about what I DON'T know. (Like that there are more than two sides to "The Troubles.") I never felt anything but safe and welcome even though I have a compelling tendency to wander out far from the tourist spots. I suppose that if anyone wished to inflict violence or menace a tourist I (a middle-aged American housewife type) was probably an easy mark. Everyone was very kind, I never felt unsafe or unwanted. Heck, I was welcomed and even called "cousin" at one point.
If in Belfast, take a Black Cab Tour. These guys will take you to famous spots for the history of "The Troubles." I was personally escorted by Paddy Campbell who picked me up at Jury's Inn in Belfast. He also drove me and my Mom around rural Northern Ireland (looking in cemetaries - Mom's a genealogist.) Paddy is cool. He tried to be politically neutral, but he's a Republican. Robin, another tour guide who tried to remain neutral, let on that he's "Ulster Scot." He was cool as well.

I liked Northern Ireland very much. I think it's especially nice because it's NOT touristy. Yes, I saw Starbucks, but I didn't fly for 11 hours to go to a MacDonald's.

And besides, you can get an excellent salmon dinner (with four kids of potatoes) at the Europa Hotel (Most bombed hotel in Europe.) The only way you're likely to get bombed there now is by Guiness or Bushmills.

If you are a postcard collector, the National Trust has some good ones in their shops near famous spots like Giant's Causeway. I saw a couple tourist stores in Belfast and Derry, but it's not like Venice or London with huge kiosks of cards virtually blocking your path as you walk through town.
I saw several cards with images from the murals on them, but they don't explain the images.
I was specificaly asked for the "map type" of postcard for Jamie. I hadn't figured on the political nature of looking for such a thing in Northern Ireland. (duh) I could only find them in the few tourist shops.

At Thursday, May 22, 2008 , Blogger Cartophiliac said...


Thanks again for the postcards, and thanks for the details of your experience.

I hope more people will want to visit.

At Thursday, May 22, 2008 , Blogger Erik Maldre said...

I love the elevation of the coastline in the cartoon map. I'm a sucker for those kind of details.

At Sunday, May 25, 2008 , Blogger papel1 said...

I love Map Postcards. The ones displayed are so colorful. Nice Blog.

At Monday, May 26, 2008 , Blogger Michael5000 said...

I've noticed, even just within the U.S., that there seem to be postcard "dead zones" where they just can't be found. Obviously the volume of tourism is a factor, but I don't think it's the only factor. I suspect there are quirks of distribution involved as well.


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