Finally, the last day is there. Or sadly.
This last day was also a slow day, waking up late, packing stuff, checking out, and then a last and rushed visit to the botanical garden and the Ulster museum.
We didn’t have the chance to enter the old greenhouse in the botanical garden earlier, so we just rushed in at the last minute. It is fairly small by charming due to its age. They grow mostly only a few varieties of flowers there, probably to sell them. But still nice.
Just across from the botanical garden lies the Ulster museum. It features a bit of everything, some arts, some nature science stuff and some history. Unfortunately we couldn’t take photos inside, but sometimes it is nicer to look at the exhibitions through ones eyes and not through a viewfinder.
The museum’s setup was quite interesting, as it spiralled down from the top. You just follow a path and little by little you descend through the building to arrive at the exit. The top two floors featured fashion and object art, photography and paintings, lots of boats, but also other painting from Pissarro and Beuys. And a great photo series from Paul Sewright’s set “invisible cities”. Here is a link to look at some of the photos on his website.
Further down we passed a lot of taxidermy (what is the corresponding verb, dear English speakering personas?) of animals from the region. I liked the birds.
Then we went through the history department, starting from the early findings of pre-historical settlements through the medieval and industrialised periods of Northern Ireland and kind of finishing with the conflict in Northern Ireland. This last part was especially well done, trying to present facts and only little to no judgement over either sides. I believe it is quite difficult to get a neutral narrative going on, when the peace treaty is only in place for some 15 years now.
Unfortunately we were in a hurry and couldn’t read as much as we wanted throughout the exhibitions. The explanations to everything were done in a way that you could get the amount of information you liked, with some general points to put the pieces in context and very detailed descriptions if you are interested in learning more. I guess this way it is interesting for families, were the children can just get the general ideas and the parents don’t have to get bored if they know a bit already, as they can always learn more.
We then returned to the hostel, grabbed our stuff, took the bus to the airport, the plane to amsterdam, waited an hour in line for the easyjet counter, and finally flew home.
Northern Ireland was a great place to visit. I especially enjoyed the landscapes and the local people. But you should definitely get a car or some other means of transportation as the public transport covers the important bits, but not necessarily the beautiful ones.
We will certainly go back there, and also visit the republic of Ireland, to see the true Ireland a bit more.
So this travel reporting comes to an end here, but more reports on other trips will follow.