I found out that the SOS bus we saw last night around 11:45 was a charity bus. Essentially they are out on Friday and Saturday nights giving out coffee and tea to anyone who stops by. When I asked them what they were the described themselves as a charity out on weekends giving out coffee and tea and they offered me some as to be expected. I later found out that they also have the aim of sobering people up or getting them medical or police assistance if that’s what they needed. This seems like a great concept, something that might be good around particularly large or prone to binge drinking college or town.
Today we went to Giants Causeway via Carrickfergus as well as a number of other places.
UVF vs also loyalist UDA in Carrickfergus fight for territory in who has flags where. The police tried to take the flags down but the UVF if I’m correct started a few days of riots and the police no longer take the flags down.
The police weren’t always seen as the legitimate security force right away, they need to be very mindful of how propaganda may look when used against them. All of the police here wear body cameras as well as having helicopters flying above recording the true narrative of what went on. This may mean that arrests happen weeks even months later rather than at the time of a riot.
On the way to the Giants causeway we passed through some countywide which was bland in the sense that they didn’t generally claim allegiance to Britain or otherwise.
The pub we went to last night was overtly republican and political, in a sense it could have been “dangerous” but we didn’t encounter any inflammatory events. My encounter with the people there from my experience was quite positive. One man was joking with us saying we didn’t have to be nervous and we could set our jackets down, we also talked about trump which seems to be standard for anyone who knows we’re from the States; no surprise there!
On our way to the causeway we passed a quarry that was used as the Wall in Game of Thrones. Instead of pushing Irishness or Britishness Northern Ireland focuses on the Titanic or Game of Thrones, these being something more apolitical. This push towards Titanic and Game of Thrones is from the tourism industry itself rather than how the people that live here see themselves. Although it should be noted that we did see a UVF paramilitary flag at the junction up to the quarry. UVF was written on a column on the way so it’s interesting seeing that and their colors red white and blue. This tows here (Larne) where the crown is Protestant–an illegal moment. Illegal because there was no planning permission granted by local city authorities. Were it to be taken down it would likely start riots.
Carnlough is a traditionally Republican Catholic community flying Irish flags on the way to the causeway. This whole area will probably be my favorite part of the trip I love beaches and seaside towns and we were on the sea for a good majority of the day today! One of my life goals is to live by the sea and have a seaside view from my house. It’s mesmerizing just watching the waves and the ecosystems of the ocean that we can see above the water. The different hues of blue and green all swirling together are where I find my happy place whether I’m on the water or the beach or as it were today in a bus riding alongside the water.
Our first main adventure was stopping at Carrick-a-rede. This area had fantastic views reminiscent of the Carmel area! I was ecstatic that we got the chance to go here! Got some great shots but more than that I satisfied my craving to be by the sea. I neglected to go before I left home but this entirely made up for it for sure.