Saturday, July 24, 2010

Another Amazing Day

We slept in a little this morning because everyone is tired. The children have been amazingly good. They've enjoyed the places we've been, but they don't like the long hours in the car to get there. So this morning we took it easy and then drove just a few miles to the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum. We started in the Folk Museum and if I'd known what all was there I would have arrived sooner. The place is a village of homes brought in to preserve the daily history and culture of Ireland. While there D8 learned some Irish dancing and we all got a taste of "olden days."

The oldest home was built in the early 1600s and the latest was a bank managers home from 1920s. Farm homes, tract homes, merchant shops, print shops, weigh stations, weaver shops, basket makers, black smiths, you name it and it was there. I tasted soda bread made by a period costumed woman over an open fire, and spent awhile talking to another woman in a tract house that had all the "modern" conveniences of her day which included a tap that brought water right into the house and a gas meter that you put coins into and it gave you gas to use for gas lights and a hot plate. It is easy to see why the Irish have a mythology dancing with leprechauns and little people. Everything here was and is small or as they say,"wee."

It rained all day, but it was more of a constant misting which made me cold so Mr. J and I had low tea at the Tea Shop before we left which consisted of a delicious pot of peppermint tea. That helped warm me and we were ready for the Transport museum. While Mr. J found out how to get out of the village, I bought toffee at the corner candy shop for the kids. The only problem is that the Transport Museum was about to close so we hurriedly walked through the first building of trolleys, cars, and bicycles, but never saw the airplane, train, and Titanic exhibit. Since the Titanic was built here in Belfast I'm sure the exhibit was wonderful, but we keep running out of time everywhere we go .

With all the museums now closed, Mr. J and I drove to Crawfordsburn, a quaint village that many writers have frequented. Bunyan, Tennyson, and C. S. Lewis have all stayed there at the Old Inn part of which was built in the early 1600s and still sports a thatched roof. Walking into the interior is a walk into the 1800s--dim lights, overstuffed furniture, dark wood paneling, and rich floral carpeting. To say I immediately fell in love with the little, winding village is an understatement and there aren't even words to express the magic of the Old Inn. One room was set up for low tea and Carl took my picture sitting in one of the couches.

Next we drove into Belfast and found Little Lea, the home Lewis lived in when he was a boy. The home is privately owned and from all the fences, hedges, and forest around the home it is obvious the current owners don't want anyone intruding, but we did get a picture of me at the front gate. The home is large and impressive and beautifully kept. It is difficult to believe that it is over a hundred years old. A delightful surprise was finding that just four-tenths of a mile from Little Lea is the Holywood ward--a place where Mr. J attended missionary meetings and baptisms when on his mission.

Tomorrow we go to Church at the meeting house in Cave Hill where Mr. J served and then head south where we will spend the rest of our trip. So next time you hear from me I'll be in Cahir (prounounced care).

I just have to say before I close, "Dreams really do come true!!!"


Alyssa said...

It looks like y'all are having the best time. I'm quite jealous that you're in Ireland, by the way. I can't wait to hear all about it once you're home!

Connie said...

Oh what a wonderful trip...I looked at all the lovely photos and am pining for a trip myself.
So many places, so little time.
Glad you are having a great time.

Wendi said...

You look really pretty in that second picture where you're sitting at the table. I'm glad you're having such a wonderful time in Ireland. :)