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Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 2011-01 > 1296062434

Subject: Re: [S-I] Where to stay in Belfast
Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2011 12:20:34 EST

Sounds like a great time!

I think it's so important to bring aboard local historians and guides on
tour. They add so much to the experience! Derry has grown up a bit since
you were there last! You would be amazed at how much has changed and with no
watch towers around any longer. Such a different feel. When I was there
after all had been changed I just wept at the progress they had made.

It is also important to have a small group, especially with genealogy as
you get so much further and really bond with others on tour.

I'm happy to say thing have changed a bit in the North!

Fuchsia hedges abound... but you must be there in summer or late summer to
see them! If you are there in spring you have to trade the Fuchsia for Blue
Bells! Not a bad trade at all!


In a message dated 1/26/2011 8:56:00 A.M. Pacific Standard Time,

Hi Ginger, yes you really missed a great tour. We did have a tour of the
Derry Walls and thanks to our local tour guide, it was the best. We showed
up on Sunday morning, so it was somewhat empty. Which is good because we
could talk loud and freely without worrying about offending someone. As luck
would have it we arrived at the front of I think it is St. Augustine, the
smaller church on the Wall, just as Sunday Services left out. We started
asking people about the cemetery and one old fellow entertained us for quite a
long time with the story of this church during the Siege -- of how cannon
balls blew some of the corpses out over the wall and people ran out under
the cover of darkness to retrieve them. You would have thought he was there
himself, his story telling was so vivid.

What really made the tour was the engagement with local people. This was
possible because it was small -- and we had a local tour guide. He also
enjoyed it a lot, finding the interaction also very amusing. So many funny
jokes occurred that over the years I've told over and over again.

Sorry to hear of the fire in the Malone Lodge (larger hotel on same
street). I have also stayed at the Marine Guest house (same street). It is
cheaper but when I stayed there had no 'en suite' rooms, so frequented by locals.
"En suite' is Brit-talk for 'private bath', Americans. The room had a
spring on it so it closed quickly. This was bad at night since you could get
locked out of your room and have to spend the rest of the night on a sofa or
prowling about in your jammies looking for the owner with the key.

I am sure the move of PRONI will impact all the hotels and guest houses.
Never was able to afford to stay at the Europa (most bombed hotel in
Europe), but I partied there one night right after the Troubles ended. Closing
time came and went but nothing closed. No one parties harder (or later) than
the people of Belfast. I was with a number of Dublin friends who drove up
for the occasion (an "All Person Talk" event -- for anyone recalling that
project). They got too drunk to recall where they were and started telling
Free Stater jokes, very loudly. I was terrified, but no one took notice,
though driving back, late at night, people threw bottles at the car (Republic
license plates). I wish I could remember those jokes. I hadn't ever heard one
before, though my grandmother claimed to be a Free Stater (though what you
call a Free Stater from Tyrone and County Down is a Unionist, I believe

Ella Peterson took me on a religious tour of County Down and Armagh. We
saw of course the cathedral and the hot springs and some Marian shrines WAY
up in the hills of Armagh. And a number of other places as well. We jabbered
for hours with the lady running the gift shop at the Cathedral. She told a
story of some Catholic ladies who visited and stayed and stayed. Just when
they were going to go in and see if they were okay, out came the ladies.
They were transported. "We couldn't help admiring your stations of the
cross," they said, so we just stayed on and did them all." Hadn't realized it was
an Anglican church and those were plaques commemorating families who
donated money to build the church! There happened to be just the right number.
Anyway, later on they told the local Catholic bishop who loved the story as
well. At an ecumenical St. Patrick's Day service the next year, he retold
it, but by then it was a busload of Catholic ladies, not two.

The best times I've had have been in Northern Ireland, I think because of
the people. They interact more.

Have you been to that part of the Antrim coast where all the hedges are
fuchsia? Oh, what a glorious place that was. I forget it's name. UP the coast
highway somewhere.

Linda Merle

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 11:21:02 AM
Subject: Re: [S-I] Where to stay in Belfast


What a strange time that was! Brings back so many memories as that was the
first tour I organized, but then didn't go because of the bombing leaving
colleagues in Ireland to do the tour with you! So much has changed and
in ways it has not! Now the taxi drivers are in business for themselves
doing Black Taxi Tours and teaching others about the troubles, then and
They've done a wonderful job adding interest to the Belfast and Derry
areas especially. If you're in Derry, a must do is a walking tour with
McNamara of the city walls. A truly non biased point of view on how
things work there. He's also done a BBC film of the tour. Incidentally, ex
are being trained as tour guides in Derry as well.

I have to pine in as now that PRONI as moved, there are new hotels to
avail of and also if you remember Malone Lodge over in that same area,
had a fire last week... maybe two weeks ago, so a look see at damage
would be prudent if anyone is traveling there soon.
Also, I am working on accommodation and great rates for genealogists
traveling on their own and will have that out to all of you shortly as
well as
it will be listed and bookable on my website. Also, one of the best hotels
in Belfast that I use often on tour is the Europa, the most bombed hotel
Europe. The customer service is impeccable, rooms are handy with plenty of
room / desks for spreading out research and it's close to everything.
Walking distance to shops and restauarants.

There is so much to do in the area and one could easily spend a week or
more just in the Belfasat/ Antrim area. We also include County Down on
now religiously to take in St. Patrick's Centre and time to the do St.
Patrick's Trail. Worth the drive and look see even if you're on your own
there. All of this can be done within an hour or two from Belfast,
affording a
way to stay in one place and travel freely for days.

I will post soon for the rates at the new hotels near PRONI.

I also have a new article out on choosing accommodation @

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Ginger Aarons- Garrison, CTC, Director
Time Travel
P.O. Box 4427
Wilsonville, OR 97070
tollfree and fax 877-787-7807
cell 503-421-0029
_www.timetraveltours.com_ (

In a message dated 1/26/2011 8:05:25 A.M. Pacific Standard Time,

I was asked for the name of the place. It's Avenue Guest House on
Eglantine Ave.

Photo and comments here:


Once we took a tour over. It was a bad year as there was the Omagh
bombing, reducing the number of people willing to go. However the die
hards had a
wonderful time. In the taxi ride to the airport, one person reported later
(to Alice) that the taxi driver tried to enlist her into support for the
IRA. Alice phoned the taxi company and read them the riot act. I am not
they've recovered yet.

In Belfast ex terrorists often get jobs driving taxis (like New York). Of
course you don't know which side he was on, but he can tell your politics
by where he's taking you. Eglantine is or was 'non denominational', but as
it is upscale and near the university, well....that says it all now,
it? And the B&B has no saint-name, so....Protestant! You can walk to
several interesting communities, should you be so inspired. For myself,
I'd head
for the student bookstore and then the take out Indian restaurant on
Lisburn Road, unless its closed (in which case, weep).

That was a great tour! We went to tea at a farmer's house. He'd converted
a Presbyterian meeting house into several vacation apartments. However
we really liked were his sheep. Never had his sheep been so admired. I
think he feared he'd never get rid of us. We were Scotch Irish, people who
apparently are willing to spend an afternoon of a week tour admiring

I recall the tourist gift shop in Ballymoney. In the front room, the usual
Irish jewelry and cladagh rings (you can get these in Pittsburgh). Back
room -- a smell of oil paint wafted forth, drawing my attention. Back
were oils of goats and other farm animals. REAL local art. It reminded me
my grandmother, who won a trip to New York for making clothing for some
late-molting chickens, and my grandfather who raised goats and bees
the (first) Depression. he didn't eat the goats. Sold them to the
etc. However my mother recalled some very scary Thanksgivings. (for those
who post asking about Scotch Irish holiday traditions). Grandpa would
something off the back porch and that's what you ate. One year: possum.
Maybe it's different where you live, but here in Pennsylvania, possum
kill or fresh shot) is not considered high cuisine. Anyway, that's why I
really liked the rural art of County Antrim.

Linda Merle

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