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From Dublin we travelled north through rolling farmland covered with herds of sheep and cattle. Each family's parcel was divided by hedges and rock walls giving a beautiful patchwork quilt effect.

We crossed into Northern Ireland and were surprised that there was no visible indication that we had crossed a border into another country.. No guards, not even a welcome sign. The only way we knew we were now in Northern Ireland (other than the fact that our guide told us!) was that traffic signs were now in miles per hour instead of in kilometers as is the case in the Republic. In both the Republic and Northern Ireland, traffic drives on the left side of the road and most roadways are narrow, two lane roads. While the Republic has gone to the Euro, Northern Ireland uses Pound Sterling just like the UK.

Down CathedralWe stopped at the Down Cathedral in Downpatrick which is reputed to be the burial place of St. Patrick. He initially lived in the area during the 5th century. Although the cathedral was not built until the 1100's, people believe St. Patrick returned to the Downpatrick area to die. It is thought that he is buried somewhere beneath the present church. A large stone was placed in the graveyard to commemorate his burial place here.

When we arrived in Belfast, Barbara and Colleen grabbed a taxi to go to the Belfast Public Records Office. Our grandfather was born in Ireland in 1888 and immigrated to the US in 1909. We were trying to locate his birthplace. Our only clue was a piece of paper indicating his confirmation at the Presbyterian Church of Myroe. The Church no longer exists but we had discovered prior to the trip that the public records office had a microfilm record of the Church's birth and baptism records. We were very excited to find the listing for Grandpa's birth along with his twin brother. That record gave us the name of his father and mother and the county and parish where he lived, none of which we knew before. We learned that he llived somewhere in Londonderry but we were not able to find exactly where. Belfast City Hall


Grand Opera HouseWe raced back to the hotel in time for a bus tour of Belfast. It is a surprisingly pretty city that shows little sign of the past trouble. It is also not as crowded as Dublin (1/2million population).The city is rich in Victorian and Edwardian buildings with elaborate sculptures over the doors and windows. Did you know that the Titanic was built in Belfast and today the world's largest drydock is there?Queens University


Crown Liquor SaloonRight across the street from our hotel (the Europa) was a very ornate and historic pub called the Crown Liquor Saloon. It was built in 1826 and has gorgeous stained glass windows, a tin ceiling, tile floors and a beautiful long bar with inlaid colored glass and marble trim.Private Room - Snug Especially interesting were a series of ten small rooms on each side called snugs, each guarded by a mythological beast. Inside there was an antique system of bells for summoning service.Naturally we had to try a Guiness, the national beer of Ireland.Having a Guiness

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