Sunday, November 9, 2014

Belfast with a Leprechaun

In Belfast Sue and I again decided to see the sights on our own.  For part of the day, though, we were escorted by an elderly man who adopted us on a street corner; he was walking his granddaughter's dog, and saw us struggling with a map.  He was a chatty, energetic little guy who told us about his work with a group that sponsors joint trips for Catholic and Protestant children so they can learn to live together peacefully.  I think he would have been happy to show us the entire town, but unfortunately my sister couldn't understand anything he said, so we parted with joint expressions of goodwill after he had shown us the cathedral and the waterfront.  (He sounded just like some of my late husband's cousins, so I was able to catch most of the travelogue and tell her about it later.)

The highlight of the day was our visit to the First Presbyterian Church of Belfast, with a small but beautiful oval sanctuary where a singer and pianist were practicing for a concert to be held that afternoon.  We couldn't stay for the official performance, but even the warmups were lovely.  We also toured the photography and vintage poster exhibits on display at the historic Linen Hall Library, the oldest library in Belfast and the last subscribing library in Ireland.

And yes, it rained off and on all day.

The row of sculptures to the left is a collection of ship memorials:

St. Anne's Cathedral
Trompe l'oeil bicycle, next to rings for locking down real bikes

First Presbyterian Church of Belfast:

From the exhibit of vintage posters at the Linen Hall Library

"I certainly notice the vitality in Belfast, which wasn't there in the Seventies.  There was a war going on then.  Now there are cranes everywhere.  There really is a sense of renewal and hope." ~Liam Neeson

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