By: Bridget Bartos
On Sunday, we left Dublin at 9 am to head towards Northern Ireland. I was sad to leave Dublin, not knowing what was lying ahead.
We got on the Shamrocker bus and headed about an hour towards our first stop, Trim Castle. The town that Trim is located in was quaint and peaceful, with only some shops and houses nearby. The Castle itself was pretty but slightly eerie. It was mostly broken down and crumbling, but stood tall with a big moat around it. After taking some funny pictures with ~authentic~ cannons, we got back onto the bus and headed to our next stop, tombs older than the pyramids!
To get to the Loughcrew Cairns, we had to hike quite a while up a grassy hillside, but luckily some very well-trained puppers followed us the whole way! This was our first taste of green Ireland views, and the whole groups eyes were wide, in taking the scenery around us. It felt easier to breathe, as the air was fresher and inviting. When we got to the top our eyes were greeted with open lands filled with cows, sheep, and farmland as far as the eye could see. Next we went inside the tombs, which were low-to-the-ground and mysterious. It was cool knowing we were walking the same paths and touching the same walls as people thousands of years ago.
We headed back on the bus for a two hour drive to where my Great Grandma Bridget was from, and I was SOOO excited. I have been wanting to visit Derry for quite some time now so this adventure was really special to me. We arrived at around six at night, then headed for dinner next door. Derry was pretty chill and much more relaxed than Dublin. I really wanted to sit back and take it all in. We even went to a pub to hang out with our tour guide and get to know everyone!
In the morning, we took a two-hour walking tour through the city. Derry has had a lot of tension lately, so instead of feeling nostalgic like the night before I actually was kind of uneasy (so was everyone else). The tour was politically fueled and a lot about places of conflict, so it was a weird way to start the morning. The views, however, were astounding. The city walls and peace bridge were both highlights of the city, and provided a look upon history.