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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Tuesday, August 21 2001

Northern Ireland-II

Derry, Northern Ireland—Though I've been aware of the conflict in Belfast for decades, the troubles in Derry or Londonderry failed to register to the same extent. So as Mike and I drove through the "Catholicside" of Derry this evening and saw dozens of armed soldiers enforcing the "peace," it was upsetting and unexpected. Derry turned out to be a much less amenable place than Belfast.

Belfast continued to please this morning. The night's rest was the best we'd had; the B&B breakfast one of the best. And the Internet cafe from which I sent yesterday's posts was the most complete and laid back yet. However, we went on a £9 bus tour of the town that took two hours to take in the highlights and, as Mike observed, the best highlight was that our bus wasn't blown up! It's grim humor.

Next we visited the episcopal seat of Padraic, better known as St. Patrick, Armagh, and were almost underwhelmed by the presentation of this salutory fifth-century figure in this town, considered by both Catholics and Anglicans to be the religious capitol of all Ireland,

We drove on to Derry, arriving just before dark, and though B&B's were much more difficult to find than anywhere else thus far, we did get into a room by 9 p.m. which is adequate and very affordable. However, we drove around the small city at least three times looking for a place to have dinner before finally throwing in the towel to have dinner at a KFC franchise...which provides no napkins with its meals (they think you're talking about diapers if you ask for napkins, but even if you use "serviettes," they don't have any!). But we've eaten worse.

Tomorrow, Lord willing, we'll look at a famous natural phenomenon ("Giant's Causeway") a few miles from here, then cross over to the Republic and visit Donegal, my first time as well as Mike's for that northern western Irish town.

Above is a photo of the abbey at the Scottish island of Iona, considered the birthplace of Scotland as the outpost from which Irish missionary-monk Columba carried on his sixth century evangel which launched Scotland on the path it is still pursuing. We were there Sunday morning, but it seems longer now.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Things I wish I'd known before going out into the real world

Never give yourself a haircut after three margaritas.

Sent by Mike Harrison

Count to ten

Before you flare up at another's faults, count ten...ten of your own.

—Anthony Coniaris

Sent by Carole Levinson Stuart

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