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Northern Ireland

Our passage from Campbeltown to Glenarm is blessed with good wind and flat sea's. Neither of us have ever visited Northern Ireland before and we are very happy to sail into the little harbour of Glenarm. In itself an achievement due to the shallow water at the entrance where our keel just kissed the soft silted ground.

We decide to stay an extra night in Glenarm for the household chores as well as a visit to the Walled Garden at Glenarm castle, which is well worth a visit.

The next day we motor in total calm from Glenarm to Carrickfergus, which is to be the harbour for Whisky Romeo 4 for the month of July. Carrickfergus is a very well equiped marina whilst the town lacks the charm of Glenarm. We visit the Flame, the old gas works in the town center and are given a guided tour by a very knowledgeable old guy who explains the process of coal gas production in great detail.

The following day we decide to make a Belfast day. We catch a train into Belfast Central and just as we did in Edinburgh bought a ticket for the Hop-on Hop-off bus to get an impression of the city.

Since the end of "the Troubles" in Northern Ireland the city of Belfast has clearly been cleaned up and become more interesting as a tourist destination, but the underlying difference in political and religiuos views is still very evident. The catholic and republican areas fly the Irish flag, and the protetstant and unionist areas the Union jack. The most impressive evidence of the Troubles is still witnessed by the murals.

Of course Belfast has more history than just the Troubles of the second half of the last century.

A long standing "To Do" on Roland's list is a visit to the Giants Causeway on the north coast. So we rent a car and drive up the coastal road past Glenarm and Ballycastle where we stop for a welcome cup of tea. Before reaching our destination being the Causeway we stop at Carrick-A-Rede where the little island of Carrick can be visited by crossing a rope bridge. After a short walk along the cliffs we arrive at the rope bridge and have to cue before we are allowed across. Leontine who suffers from vertigo had to dig very deep to make it over and back again.

We proceed on from Carrick-A-Rede to the Giants Causeway and are rewarded by a truly spectacular display of natural-geological beauty. With basalt pillars mainly hexagonal like paving stones making a walkway disappearing into the sea.

So after two months of sailing we are now at Belfast City airport feeling fulfilled after an amazing experience of sailing 1,254 nautical miles (2,322 km) and to date knowing we have raised EUR 2.538 for KiKa.

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