My background is English, Irish and Scottish. I’ve ticked England and Scotland off the list but I had yet to visit Ireland! My parents came over for about a month back in April and I got the chance to spend some time in Ireland with Mum and Dad. We visited Dublin, Enniskillen and Belfast.
Dad had been doing a lot of family history research and had tracked down where our families used to live – not far from Enniskillen. We found old churches our ancestors were baptised and married in, grave sites of ancestors passed and even found an actual living relative still living at the same farm Dad had found in his searches! It was incredibly special to be apart of and share those precious moments with my Mum and Dad. We also got to wander around Dublin and Belfast and take in the sites and atmosphere in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Belfast Town Hall at Dusk
Old church near Enniskillen, Northern Ireland where my Great, Great Grandfather was baptised
Our journey started in Dublin where we flew in and saw our first traces of Gaelic/Irish, the signs are in both Irish and English. We hired a car from a cute Irish lad and headed to our accommodation just outside Dublin in Drogheda where we spent the next few days trying to figure out how to pronounce it!! Asking the locals didn’t help either, everyone seemed to have their own way of pronouncing it haha. There wasn’t much to see in Drogheda itself but we explored two ancient burial sites nearby, caught up with a relative for dinner and day tripped it to Dublin to explore the city. We happened to be there for the 100 year of the Easter rising which was interesting to see.
Mum and Dad at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin
Knowth Ancient Burial Grounds, Northern Ireland
After Drogheda and Dublin we traveled to Ennisklillen where we started our search of where our ancestors came from. We still aren’t 100% sure on everything but we think we found the locations of the farms where they used to live including one where a relative (no idea like second cousin twice removed of my Dad?haha) still lives today. Dad was able to meet him and have a good chat and piece some more history together. We found two churches, one where relatives were baptised and one where they were married – we were taking photos of the outside of the church when a lovely Irish lady asked if we’d like to see the inside! So friendly the Irish. Exploring a few cemeteries we also found graves of passed relatives. We cleaned the grave site up and left a few mementos for them and planted some lovely flowers on the grave. A token of our love. We explored a bit of Enniskillen itself including the castle which is steeped in history.
Our ancestors grave in Northern Ireland which we planted some plants on and left mementos
The Peace Walls in Belfast – pretty crazy to see
Looking out at the spot (on the left) at where the Titanic was built and launched in Belfast
Belfast was our last stop in Northern Ireland before flying onto Europe. We wandered around the city taking photos and spent some time at the Titanic Belfast which was pretty cool. We saw the exact site where the Titanic was built and launched. We also drove on each side of the peace walls and got some photos, its very interesting and quite sad to see this. Such history on this side of the globe compared to our young country in the southern hemisphere!
Overall I really enjoyed my time in Ireland, the accents are great, the weather not so much, the scenery was green (much nicer than England I must say), the people friendly and lots to see and do. It wasn’t nearly long enough time to explore, I would love to go back and do a road trip of the whole country one day – Ireland I’ll be back!
Have you been to Ireland and Northern Ireland? What did you enjoy the most?