Hello from a very green and alternately sunny and wet Ireland. We have just driven from the north (Belfast) to the south (Dublin) through heavy rain and are enjoying a welcome cup of tea in our new campsite with access to WiFi and work over for the week though much still to do. We have been introduced to so many fascinating places and people and I plan to post more about our visit in due course. For the moment I just want to say 'thankyou' to the many generous organisations who sponsored the event, which was hosted by the Caravan Writers' Guild.
From the Wicklow Mountains to the Giant's Causeway, we were feted and fed and were privileged to be given access to places that are otherwise not open to the public. One such I want to share with all readers is that which we visited yesterday: the Titanic Experience. Set within the former shipyard of shipbuilders, Harland & Wolff - where of course the Titanic was built - most is in fact accessible, though additionally we were shown into the very room where the fated ship was designed.
The picture at the start of this posting (taken from an old poster) shows the sheer size of the Titanic; the shot immediately above is of the dry dock where the ship was fitted out and made ready for the launch. Just visible on the left is the old Pump House which controlled the flow of water in and out of the dry dock. It now houses the shop and a restaurant where we were served delicious soup and freshly made sandwiches.
This is the very spot from whence the Titanic was launched down the slipway into Belfast Lough in 1912. My notes are packed away (I'm sitting in the cab of the motorhome to lap-tap this) so please forgive the lack of information. The whole shipyard area is undergoing a reformation with a new visitor centre which will be opened in 2012, one-hundred years from the ship's maiden voyage and subsequent sad demise with such a terrible loss of life. Were it not for that iceberg, today's dockyard regeneration might never have been.
I found the experience poignant and moving and took some unusual photos which will appear within my 'Irish Rhapsody' travel journal - for an update on that, please move over to my journaling blog which I will update shortly (the WiFi here is none too good and it's taking ages to upload photos.) I must thank many friends for emails to which I cannot reply - so sorry, but my laptop is set up to receive but not to send. In fact it has taken so long to write this post that we are now enjoying an 'apple aperitif', and it's time to prepare a motorhome supper.