Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

Yesterday morning started early with an 8.25am appointment for an MOT with the car – and then the day suggested itself as a day off from the office for good behaviour until my optician appointment at 2.24pm. So I Googled “art galleries in Belfast”, made a few notes and got a bus into the city centre listening to one of Chris Wright’s morning Bible readings from New Horizon 2010.


Ormeau Baths Gallery


First stop the Ormeau Baths where I went for swimming lessons as a first former at Annadale Grammar School and Sheepy, the Latin teacher [who accompanied us] was the first person who ever taught me to dive. Now it’s an art gallery with a show by Siobhan Hapaska [from Belfast despite her surname] entitled Downfall.


The title piece Downfall

I quite liked this one although I hadn’t a clue what it was all about…

The next gallery I had listed was closed but eventually I arrived at Golden Thread Gallery with an exhibition entitled Art Beyond Ulster. This painting of an African boy on an exercise bicycle was done on a piece of metal from an old taxi…



Art Beyond Ulster


I was enjoying myself. It was a lovely cold bright day in Belfast and since I was in the cathedral quarter, I thought I would add some architecture to the art with this photo of St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast Note the enigmatic spire that has recently come to adorn our local cathedral…


St Anne's with "the needle spire"


My love of art had masked my appetite, so I grabbed a quick coffee and scone before heading to my opticians Harris Rundle – a firm with some history of its own in Belfast. After a satisfactory check-up, I thought I could fit in one more gallery before heading for home – Catalyst Arts which took some finding and a closed door. Just then the curator arrived and told me that I had missed the current exhibition by a matter of hours – but agreed to pose for a photo outside the door anyway.


Catalyst Arts with friendly curator


So a good day off! Car passed MOT no problem; eyes no worse than they were; and a good few hours of strolling and culture in downtown Belfast.


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News from England would make you sick! Heatwave health alerts and hosepipe bans indeed – not in Connemara and Dingle last week!

Typical windscreen view on 6 day camping trip

Now get get me wrong, the West of Ireland is amazingly beautiful – it’s just that the soft refreshing rain comes from hauntingly atmospheric grey clouds that tend to inhibit one’s view of stunning mountain and coastal landscapes.

However there were definite highlights!

1. Our new wee tent was more than capable of withstanding the wind and rain that swept across Renvyle Strand last Saturday night as we slept in it for the first time: thanks to advice from old friend Craig at Outdoor Concepts!

Ruth reading at our tent - and Philip Saunders!?!

2. Sharing part of our trip with Philip & Heather Saunders – and The Famous Bongo! Good conversation, a shared damp experience, coffee & cake in Leenane, a meal out in Renvyle House Hotel [rather good and not too expensive], poetic texting…

Thanks, Heather, for the photography - of us & the Bongo!

3. The One Good Day – weatherwise – when we took a walk along the south side of Killary Harbour, a deep sea inlet sometimes described as Ireland’s only true fjord, with Mweelrea looming over us on the northern shore and miles of salmon fisheries on the southern. Then there was the abandoned village of Foher; the impressive retaining wall of the Famine Road built by Famine sufferers in the 1840s in return for food handouts; the house in Rosroe harbour where philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) lived and worked for six months in 1948; the very pleasant walk over Salrock Pass in the sunshine – and the scenery, not to mention the prospect of a coffee shop wherein to rest tired feet!

Windswept tree with curragh & sheep | Killary Harbour

Sun & shade over Killary Harbour

4. Interesting people: all campers are equal on a wet campsite – no hierarchies, no us and them [except perhaps between people in tents and people in luxurious camping vans – I’m not jealous!], your next tent neighbour may be a philosopher or an old hippie who strums his guitar over breakfast and parks his rusting vehicle very close to your guy ropes [did we annoy him by pitching our tent too close to his?] or an amazing sexagenarian Dutch couple on a 12 week cycling trip or a Manx biker originally from Liverpool or a young European couple who offered to help us put up our tent on our first night and whose own tent was flattened next morning by the overnight wind  – or who knows?

5. Getting away from it all! TV, internet, Facebook, workaday stresses… a warm home, comfy bed, a fully equipped kitchen… Stop it!

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As bright and early as possible after a 6oth birthday party here this evening [no, not mine this time] we’re driving south and west on a camping holiday, first of all to Renvyle in Connemara…

Painting of Renvyle beach

And here’s a map…

I’ll post some of my own photos in the fullness of time.

Meanwhile the Wycliffe Engage Teams are heading off around the world: follow their Twitter and please pray for them here

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