June 2015 - Wales, Ireland, Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, Scotland
June 30, 2015
Isle of Man | Laxey | Laxey Water Wheel
June 24, 2015
Dear Family and Friends, We had a wonderful 5 days in Peel Harbor on the Isle of Man. The Isle of Man is an independant state under the protectorate of Britian so technically not part of the UK. We arrived during the final days of TT (Tourist Trophy) motorbike races so the island was bustling with activities. We visited the Peel Castle which included an excellent audioguide. The relatively new House of Manannan Museum gave an interesting interactive history of the island. The Creek Inn was lively all day with bikers who came to watch the races. Most were our age and older so we had some interesting conversations over a few pints and enjoyed some nice meals there.
Friday we took a bus to Ramsey to "watch" the final TT race. We saw the first two laps whiz by before the race was called and delayed due to an accident on the track. Really the bikes raced by so fast you could barely see colors let alone numbers. We decided rather than wait another 2 hours to see the finish we'd take a bus to Laxey and visit the 1854 huge waterwheel used to pump water from a lead mine. The still operating great wheel measures 22 meters across and can draw 1140 liters of water per minute. We walked the trails back to visit the mine and cistern. Beautiful grounds and hiking trails.
Saturday we decided to buy an all day transportation ticket of the island. We took a bus to Castletown and visited Castle Rushen. We had hoped to visit the Nautical Museum but it hadn't reopened yet from it's winter makeover:-( Then we took an old steam train to Douglas. We caught a bus to the Electric Train which we rode to Laxey again. We took an electric train from there up to Snaefell mountaintop and back. Great views riding up but the top was in the clouds. Back in Douglas we missed the last horse drawn tram (included in our all day ticket)so we walked the 2 mile promenade back to the bus station.
Sunday we walked 5.5 miles above Peel along the coastal cliffs, through pastures to Glen Maye waterfall. Beautiful sunny day again. We took a taxi back to Peel where we had dinner at The Creek Inn. We shared our excellent meals of thai monkfish/prawns and hake/queenies.
Northern Ireland | Belfast | Belfast Harbor
Monday we motor sailed to Belfast Marina in downtown Belfast, Northern Ireland near the Titantic Museum.
Tuesday we walked about Belfast enjoying the political murals in rougher parts of town and the more modern city center. We met a man from New Mexico and his lady friend from Belfast who drove us up to Belfast Castle for tea. Tea was really supper for them but we had coffee and dessert:-) It's fun meeting people like this as we learn more about the local feelings about history and the future of their city. They dropped us off at a great new Lidl's supermarket not far from the boat.
Wednesday we did laundry as it was free at the marina. We spent at least 3 hours at the Titantic Museum. We thought it might be hokey but not at all. It was quite impressive with excellent interactive displays and movies. We got into a vehicle that took us through a simulation of the workers building the ship. Great fun and well worth the price of admission.