Back home

Yesterday morning I woke up a little after midnight Texas time in
Ireland and didn’t want to leave.  I began the long journey home
with a flight from Belfast to London (sat next to a young Irish
singer/actor going to audition for Les Miserables–he’d just finished
working in the musical Chicago and goes home to his family as much as
he can) and then a 10-hour one from London to Houston (sat next to a
chatty Rice alum whose husband works for my company).  Today, work
was ok. 

As you can see from my pictures below, my final days in Ireland were
spent visiting some amazing places, but I also enjoyed the lovely
people.  When I met up with some old friends who went to school
with me in Nigeria, I got to hang out with their relatives and heard
one of them in his upper 80s play the fiddle for us beautifully despite
his fingers shaking because of Parkinson’s.  I wish I could
capture the old lady who met me at Yeat’s grave and recited the poetry
on his monument and his headstone, as well as Longfellow and If
by Rudyard Kipling.  She explained all the things mentioned in the poem he wrote about his burial, and I asked her if
she were a professor, and then an angel, and she laughed both
times. 

I thought that the ceasefire from a few years ago meant that everything
was hunky dory in Northern Ireland, but the tension and segregation
didn’t just disappear and is in fact still a major problem.  I
also heard that in some areas of Belfast, business owners are still
threatened into paying off local militia groups who maintain regional
control over certain neighborhoods.  And half the population likes
to leave town during the summer marching.  It seems that many of
the younger generation from either religious background would be game
for a united Ireland, but in order for that to happen, some older folks
would still need to die off. 

Bunglass Cliff in the Slieve League mountains of west Donegal. 

Bunglass is the highest sea cliff in Europe, and a Bavarian guy named
Stefan hiked to the summit with me (his friends stayed behind with the
car). 

Nothing much between here and New York. 

That little lake in the distance is where our cars are parked.  
The 10-kilometer hike afforded us ample time for conversation. 

Eventually, I met an old friend on the north Antrim coast.  There she goes up the pillars…

40,000 pillars make up the Giant’s Causeway, so-called because a
hospitable Irish giant laid them down to invite a Scottish giant across
the water for battle. 

Or maybe they’re volcanic.  Most are 6-sided…they’re incredibly surreal. 

Climbing the ridge overlooking the Giant’s Causeway.  We started
talking to an American couple out there, and crazily enough, the guy
grew up as a missionary kid in Zimbabwe, had visited the guest house in
Accra that my parents are at right now, lives in Texas now, and his son
almost went to the same university in Tennessee that my friend studied
at! 

Taking it easy in Ballintoy harbor, a place whose strange beauty is difficult to capture without an aerial view. 

Basically, it’s got a lot of funky rocky islandy stuff going on. 

I know I just walked across some rope bridges in Ghana, but I couldn’t
resist Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge as well.  We could see Scotland
off in the distance. 

Not so lovely–a mural in Belfast by the Ulster Freedom Fighters, one
of the groups that’s on the opposite side from the IRA.  We saw
plenty of memorials to martyrs on both sides. 

We also saw an international wall with murals concerning a wide variety
of things, including the ETA fighters in the Basque country of Spain
and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.  By the way, in every single
country I visited, at least one person responded with “Bush country”
when I said I was from Texas. 

Made it back to Houston just in time for some birthday fun at oatwoman’s place!

 

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30 Responses to “Back home”

  1. fun, fun, fun…welcome home!

  2. ummmm is that Deborah Jill Garland in that picture? If it is, I am gonna need more pics of her………..oh i miss her so much!!! if you have more pictures of her i want you to email me some……..pretty please, i will be your bestest friend! oh yeah and cool pics!! you make me wanna take my family and leave on some European adventures!

  3. wow. great pics…welcome home. oh, and speedorama exaggerates a little….

  4. laying in the grass looks really nice…

  5. Anonymous Says:

    it was nice to finally meet you this weekend =)  it sounds like  you had an incredible trip!

  6. Glad you are back in safely…wouldn’t you agree that the jet lag is 10x better on the return trip? Going west is always my choice direction.

  7. welcome back to bush country. that sounds so dirty.

  8. Had to add some testosterone to this comment section.  Welcome back.  Grunt.

  9. Classy pic of oatwoman. 🙂  How come you don’t have a big bootie picture?  Oh wait, because you were playing the entire time…

  10. Hey you!  Did you bring me a rock???  This would be your cousin Melody!!!

  11. Those are awesome cliffs! Wow.

  12. oh my… oh my…. too beautiful…. must go to ireland…. soon!

  13. red? or rad? and actually that picture was taken while we were moving, I don’t remember what I was trying to capture, at the time I thought it would be cool–but forgot about it; it just kind of fit the story…

  14. the redness is due to extreme sunburn– I failed to put on any sunscreen or wear a hat at  Beer Bike.  and I paid for it.

  15. what is cheval?? i wanna know!

  16. ooooh okay. hahha. no its the pinnacle. its at hwy 6 and 290 (actually huffmeister and 290) im way out west. and apparently theyre gonna be building a mall of america out here, or so i heard.
    noooooooooooooot cool.

  17. now texas is bush country…how sad…it used to be my escape from saying i’m american…I guess now i’ll just have to outright lie and say i’m canadian.

  18. love the pics stebo, but i think it’s time for a new post.  sorry i had to cut it short earlier.  hope you had a lovely sunday.

  19. indeed, i do play in all the oz shows…that is why i should be in my be sleeping right now, so that i can be “delightful” in the morning.
    no, i’m not singing the song on my xanga, a sweet little band called The Innocence Mission is.
    I’ve seen you at church but can’t remember if i’ve properly met you…so……
    How do you do? My name is Lori and some call me Pie. *smiles and nods*
    Looks like you have been having some lovely adventures.

  20. Welcome home sweetie poop – saw you for two seconds at church but couldn’t get over there. Can’t wait to catch up…

  21. better days – love that song. it’s one of those that keeps me in the car when i have already reached my destination. 

  22. Anonymous Says:

    Hello 🙂  Hope you are having a good week.

  23. Hey, what was that missionary kids name?  I was born in Zimbabwe.  Maybe my dad knows his family cause my parents were missionaries over there!?

  24. Anonymous Says:

    Wonderful pictures and word images from your travels. Thanks for sharing with us. I especially like the first pic and then the one looking down from the cliffs at the water that is clear enough to see the bottom. How enthralling.

  25. what do you mean just hard to find??? do you know something i dont know??

  26. Awesome pictures. I’m jealous.Yes, Orlando is a little far from home: 7 or 10 hours, depending on your luck. It was spring break.

  27. ryc: yep, not all flowers are for girls…
    great photos in your post

  28. I’m picking up wireless at my apartment again, for the moment!! Yay!!!Did I mention yet how jealous I am that you went to Ireland??

  29. cool pics from u too! and heck yes im saving the sex. haha, thanks for the comment.
    its funny, i was actually thinking today that u hadn’t commented on my site for awhile. haha, welcome back to my site…or whatever

  30. Anonymous Says:

    those are beautiful pics, sirstevo.  thanks for sharing. 🙂

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