Doug here! And here is: Ireland! How exciting!
I began my journey in Belfast, which is in Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom and therefore still uses the Pound for currency. It is a very nice city with feeling of people aware & proud of their history and yet still excited & working to move forward.
One of Belfast claims to fame is that both the Titanic and it’s sister ship the Olympic were built there way back in 1911-1912. I went on a tour to see the slipways where the ships were built (a very long concrete area they could setup scaffolding on) and the dry dock where the Titanic was finished (a very large hole that can be emptied or filled with water from the river).
My favorite part though were the Drawing Offices, where the plans of the ship had actually been made. Men had stood all day, 6 days a week, on this room drawing blue print after blue print by hand. I stumbled across a drawer that contained many of these actual drawings as I explore the exhibits in the room. I was in the middle of examining them when the tour guide noticed and shouted in alarm. It seems these were records they previously hadn’t been able to find! Looking at the plans it was obvious where the errors had been made that caused the epic failure of the Titanic, causing it to be not only the most famous sunken ship of all time but the most famous ship period! I pointed these out to the guide, who merely stared at me like I might be a crazy person…I most certainly am not! I just solved the mystery of the Titanic!
Those are the Harland & Wolfe cranes…I’ll need to email them about my discoveries.
As I was leaving the exhibit, having fixed ship building forever, I came across a crazy sight. The were just beginning some sort of event with large dumbbells, stones and men in tight wrestling type outfits. Naturally I had to ask what it was…an amateur strong man competition! Intrigued I started asking more questions about the events and competitors until it came out that there was going to be a delay because they were one man short. There was such a cold wind blowing up off the river that I worried about the crowd that had gathered to watch. So I did the only logical, kind thing: I volunteered to step in! I did not know what I was getting myself into at that point! All of the things I had to lift was so heavy and you had to do so many repetitions! Needless to say I did not win…however they did tell me I was the strongest man of my size they had ever met!
Ready to leave the mayhem of Belfast I went on down to Wicklow county. Wicklow is an area right on the east coast with small mountains surrounding it. Why, you might ask, would I choose to head out to the middle of nowhere when I’m usually up to such crazy things in such exciting places? Simple, I had a crazy exciting thing to do there! It seems my reputation already precedes me…I was offered a small part in a movie being filmed there! The small towns and large estates of Wicklow county have developed quite a resume in the film industry. They’ve been used in countless movies and TV shows to depict a wide variety of different countries and time periods.
I’m not allowed to disclose much for details on the project but I will tell you this: it will be big (I got to meet another few big names!), it is a period piece based (back in the past), and I did get to carry a sword. To sum it up in a word, it will be awesome!
In the end though I also enjoyed the country charm I found in Wicklow town. It was a nice break from the hustle & bustle of my travel adventures!
The other main city of the Irish island is Dublin. Dublin is not in Northern Ireland. It is located in the Republic of Ireland, which is not part of the United Kingdom. It instead associates itself with the European Union (EU) and therefore uses the Euro for money. It was interesting to see the subtle differences between the North and the rest of Ireland.
The main sight in Dublin is the Guinness Brewery & Storehouse. It was opened in 1759 by a man named Arthur Guinness who was so confident he would succeed that he signed a 9000 year lease on the property! I was very curious about how beer is made as I had no previous knowledge on the subject. I was reading each exhibit carefully when I literally ran into a gentleman. After apologizing profusely I found out he is actually a Guinness master brewer! He took me on a tour of the brewery and taught me a lot of tricks about making my own beer. Maybe I’ll have to try that when I get home! Here’s a photo of me with a Doug-sized pint of Ireland’s favorite beer:
That’s all from Ireland…next will be an exciting tour through jolly old England! I just can’t wait!