Tag Archives: Northern Ireland

29 August 2019:
Londonderry / Derry, Northern, Ireland:
Knife’s Edge

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

The story of Londonderry helps explain the complex background to the long history of conflict between Protestants and Catholics, English and Irish. Its commercial roots are based on investments by guilds and merchants in London, and they added the prefix of their home town to the original name of Derry.

You can read more about Londonderry / Derry and see more photos by clicking on the tag at the bottom of this blog.

But in summary: my view includes a belief that nothing in history is written in black and white; it is all shades of gray.

Today in Northern Ireland we had an appropriately gray day, and so I began my tour thinking in monochrome. Here are some photos I took in the predominantly Catholic district of Bogside, showing a few of the murals that memorialize The Troubles as seen from that side:

Bogside

Three monochrome images of murals in Bogside
Bogside from across the river

Splashes of Color at the Londonderry Guildhall

And then I returned to one of my favorite places in this part of the world, the Londonderry Guildhall, for some splashes of color. They were preparing for a recital on the massive organ in the main hall, and the pipes were glowing in anticipation.

The pipe organ
Some of the wondrous stained glass windows that tell one side of the story of Londonderry/Derry, that of the guilds of London who came here to develop…and change…the region.

All photos and text Copyright 2019 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE ANY PHOTO OR AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

28 August 2019:
Belfast, Northern Ireland:
The Titanic Rises Again

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Belfast, with a population of about 600,000 in the metropolitan area, was a center of the Irish linen, tobacco processing, ropemaking, and shipbuilding industries, a major player in the Industrial Revolution.

After a painful decline in the second half of the 20th century, it has seen a bit of recovery in aerospace and military industry.

Today, Belfast is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland, which—like it or not for some residents—is part of the United Kingdom.

The main yard, Harland and Wolff, built a ship you may have heard of: the RMS Titanic. The Wolff shipyard is now the location of the world’s largest dry dock, where the giant cranes Samson and Goliath stand out against Belfast’s skyline. Most of its work now involves support for offshore wind and oil platforms.

But in the early 20th century, this was the biggest and most productive shipyard in the world, and Belfast was at the heart of the Industrial Revolution. Harland and Wolff became one of the largest shipbuilders in the world, employing as many as 35,000 workers.

Almost forgotten—except amongst locals—is the fact Belfast was heavily bombed by Germany during World War II. In one raid, on the night of Easter Tuesday, April 15, 1941, two hundred Luftwafe bombers attacked and about one thousand people were killed and tens of thousands left homeless.

Apart from London, this was the greatest loss of life in a night raid during the Blitz. It had been thought that Belfast was out of reach of German planes, but once France fell, the Luftwaffe was able to fly from there.

The primary targets were the textile works which manufactured uniforms and other equipment, munitions factories, and the shipyards.

Today the shipyard no longer builds titanic ships and the linen factories are almost all gone. The flashiest modern attraction is Titanic Belfast, which opened in 2012 to coincide with the centenary of the incomplete maiden voyage of the luxury liner Titanic.

The angular design was intended to evoke the image of ship. It stands 126 feet (38 meters) high, the same height as Titanic’s hull.

Locals have already applied their own nickname: The Iceberg.

The museum tells the stories of the ill-fated RMS Titanic and her sister ships RMS Olympic and HMS Britannic.

And all around the handsome city of Belfast you can see some of the wealth that the shipyard and factories brought to the city.

The Crown Liquor Saloon is the only drinking establishment in the U.K. owned by the National Trust. It was decorated by Italian artisans brought to Belfast to build churches, and with some of the paneling and artwork of the great ships made here.
The Grans Opera House
The Titanic Museum at the shipyard in Belfast
SS Nomadic, the surviving First Class tender for the Titanic

All photos and text Copyright 2019 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE ANY PHOTO OR AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

19 August 2019:
Belfast, Northern, Ireland:
Birthplace of a Legend

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Belfast, with a population of about 600,000 in the metropolitan area, was a center of the Irish linen, tobacco processing, ropemaking, and shipbuilding industries, a major player in the Industrial Revolution.

In the early 20th century, Harland and Wolff was the biggest and most productive shipyard in the world, employing as many as 35,000 workers, and Belfast was at the heart of the Industrial Revolution.

Harland and Wolff, built a vessel you may have heard of: the RMS Titanic.

The shipyard is now the location of the world’s largest dry dock, where the giant cranes Samson and Goliath stand out against Belfast’s skyline.

Just recently, the current owners called it quits. Workers are protesting, but the yard’s future is uncertain. Samson and Goliath are probably safe as landmarks.

Here are some photos from today:

The flashiest modern attraction is Titanic Belfast, which opened in 2012 to coincide with the centenary of the incomplete maiden voyage of the luxury liner Titanic.

The angular design was intended to evoke the image of ship, or perhaps the iceberg that did her in.

I went with guests to Mount Stewart, the family home of Edith, Lady of Londonderry

It’s a not-at-all modest place, somewhat similar to the grand cottages of Newport, Rhode Island in the United States.

Mount Stewart
The family chapel, with several Order of the Garter banners

You can read more about Belfast by clicking on the tab at the bottom of this blog.

Belfast’s impressive City Hall
SS Nomadic, the last of the White Star Fleet, built as a tender for the Titanic. In the background is the Titanic museum, depending on your point of view resembling either a ship’s prow or an iceberg.

All photos and text Copyright 2019 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE ANY PHOTO OR AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

17-18 August 2019:
Londonderry / Derry, Northern Ireland:
Stroke City

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Princes govern all things–save the wind, wrote Victor Hugo.

And so we arrived Saturday near Londonderry/Derry in Northern Ireland, which was not our original plan.

We had expected to spend yesterday, 16 August, at anchor offshore of Galway, Ireland but when we arrived in the bay the winds and the seas were ungovernable, and instead we turned about and headed out to sea. Our captain managed to secure a temporary parking space for us at an oil and chemical loading pier outside of Londonderry/Derry. It is not the most handsome pier in the world, but we are safely and securely tied up for the day and will move Sunday morning to our planned dock closer to town.

Silver Wind at her temporary safe pier near Londonderry/Derry

I went into Londonderry/Derry today to revisit the handsome Guildhall, which is emblematic of the story of this city of divided histories.

Here are some photos I took today:

Londonderry’s Guildhall, built by the guilds and associations that brought money and power from London here to the north of Ireland in the late 19th century
All photos by Corey Sandler, 2019. All rights reserved

Londonderry is the second-largest city in Northern Ireland, home to about 93,000; well behind the 483,000 in the Northern Ireland capital city of Belfast.

The name Derry is an anglicisation of the Irish name Daire or Doire meaning “oak grove”. In 1613, the city was granted a Royal Charter by King James I and as a reflection of the funding it received from the London guilds, it added London to Derry in its name.

Its official name remains Londonderry.

But like many, many things in this part of the world it depends on who you talk to.

In general, Nationalists—those who would prefer a unified Ireland bringing together Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and who are predominantly Roman Catholic—drop the “London” and call the city “Derry.”

Many Unionists—those who want to maintain Northern Ireland as a part of the United Kingdom and who are predominantly but not exclusively Protestant—subtly, or not-so-subtly, keep the link to the UK out front by calling the place “Londonderry.”

A local broadcaster tried to popularize the unfortunate nickname of Stroke City as in Derry-Stroke-Londonderry. It’s not a pretty name.

Things are greatly—though not perfectly—calmer today than they were at the heart of the “Troubles” that obsessed most of the 20th century. A flare-up early in 2019 reminded people on both sides of the stroke of the bad old times.

All photos and text Copyright 2019 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE ANY PHOTO OR AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

28 June 2018:
Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK:
The Titanic City

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Belfast has had its ups and its downs, its launches and its sinkings.

In the late 19the and early 20th century it was a center for two major industries: linen (which is the source of one of the city’s nicknames, Linenopolis), and shipbuilding.

The main yard, Harland and Wolff, built a ship you may have heard of: the RMS Titanic.

But in the early 20th century, this was the biggest and most productive shipyard in the world, and Belfast was at the heart of the Industrial Revolution.

The Titanic Museum in Belfast

At the museum, the Nomadic, constructed as a tender for her big sister the Titanic. Photos by Corey Sandler

Harland and Wolff became one of the largest shipbuilders in the world, employing as many as 35,000 workers.

The shipyard is now the location of the world’s largest dry dock, where the giant cranes Samson and Goliath stand out against Belfast’s skyline.

Most of its work now involves support for offshore wind and oil platforms.

And nearby is a very popular modern museum that tells the story of the design and construction of the Titanic.

TODAY IN BELFAST

On this visit, once again under an unexpected bright sun and blue sky, we returned to some of our favorite haunts in this monumental city, starting with the impressive City Hall which I photographed outside, inside, and in reflections of nearby buildings.

From there to the Grand Opera House, a place that truly deserves its superlative. The structure went into an ignominious decline to serve as a movie theater and then came perilously close to being converted to a bowling alley before being saved and restored in the late 1960s.

And finally, we paid a call to the Crown Saloon, an opulent watering hole and the only pub currently owned by the National Trust.

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

6 June 2017:
Belfast, Northern Ireland:
The Titanic City

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Belfast is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland, which—like it or not for some residents—is part of the United Kingdom.

A tenuous peace has taken root in the past two decades, with some level of power-sharing between the two sides.

In modern times, Belfast was a center for two major industries: linen (which is the source of one of the city’s nicknames, Linenopolis), and shipbuilding.

The main yard, Harland and Wolff, built a ship you may have heard of: the RMS Titanic.

The Harland and Wolff shipyard is now the location of the world’s largest dry dock, where the giant cranes Samson and Goliath stand out against Belfast’s skyline.

Most of its work now involves support for offshore wind and oil platforms.

But in the early 20th century, this was the biggest and most productive shipyard in the world, and Belfast was at the heart of the Industrial Revolution.

Harland and Wolff became one of the largest shipbuilders in the world, employing as many as 35,000 workers.

Belfast briefly overtook Dublin as the largest city in Ireland.

My view of history is that it is driven by economics.

And the relative success of Belfast as an industrial center was one reason why Unionists held on to the link to Great Britain, at least at first.

The flashiest modern attraction is Titanic Belfast, which opened in 2012 to coincide with the centenary of the incomplete maiden voyage of the luxury liner Titanic.

The angular metallic structure was intended, according to its designers, to evoke the image of ship.

It stands 126 feet (38 meters) high, the same height as Titanic’s hull.

Locals have already applied their own nickname: The Iceberg.

We went for a long walk across the river to the former shipyards and the Titanic Museum, which also includes in a nearby drydock the last remaining White Star Line vessel: the tender Nomadic, constructed alongside her much larger sister to be dispatched to Cherbourg to carry guests from shore to the ship at anchor. Nomadic performed that task just once…and then was reassigned after Titanic sank.

You can help support this site by making purchases from
AMAZON.COM by clicking on the banner below.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams cover

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

5 June 2017:
Londonderry/Derry, Northern Ireland:
Stroke City

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Londonderry is the second-largest city in Northern Ireland, home to about 93,000; well behind the 483,000 in the capital city of Belfast.

The name Derry is an anglicisation of the Irish name Daire or Doire meaning “oak grove”.

In 1613, the city was granted a Royal Charter by King James I and as a reflection of the funding it received from the London guilds, it added London to Derry in its name.

Its official name remains Londonderry.

But like many, many things in this part of the world it depends on who you are talking to.

In general, Nationalists—those who would prefer a unified Ireland bringing together Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and who are predominantly Roman Catholic—drop the “London” and call the city “Derry.”

Many Unionists—those who want to maintain Northern Ireland as a part of the United Kingdom and who are predominantly but not exclusively Protestant—subtly, or not-so-subtly, keep the link to the UK out front by calling the place “Londonderry.”

A local broadcaster tried to popularize the nickname of Stroke City as in Derry-Stroke-Londonderry.

An older nickname is the Maiden City, a nod to the fact that its old walls were never breached in three separate sieges in the 17th century, including the Siege of Derry of 1688 to 1689.

The Siege of Derry was the first major event in the Williamite War in Ireland, also called in Irish the War of the Two Kings.

It was a conflict between the Jacobites (supporters of the deposed Catholic King James II of England and Ireland, VII of Scotland) and the Williamites (supporters of the Dutch Protestant Prince William of Orange) over who would be monarch of the Kingdom of England, the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of Ireland.

The siege is commemorated yearly in August by the Apprentice Boys of Derry, a Protestant fraternal society, founded in 1814.

During the troubles, marches by the Apprentice Boys were often the flashpoint for violent opposition by the city’s Irish nationalist majority.

The parades still take place, but in recent years most of the Troubles are more like well-rehearsed Kabuki theater. Let us hope they remain that way, or go away completely.

These days Derry or Londonderry is mostly peaceful, with conflict moved into the political realm. The British election is scheduled for less than a week from now, and Sinn Fein is now a recognized political party

Today we went for a walk within the walls of the old city to visit the Guildhall, paid for, constructed, and decorated by the London Guilds who aimed to make Derry British…and who added London as a prefix to its name. Here are some of the stunning glass windows of the Main Hall:

From the Guildhall we exited the old city walls and walked a short distance to Bogside, a mostly Catholic area that was involved in many of the major events of The Troubles, including Bloody Sunday.

You can help support this site by making purchases from
AMAZON.COM by clicking on the banner below.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams cover

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

16 September 2013: Belfast, Northern Ireland: A Titanic City and a Giant’s Causeway

A Titanic City and a Giant’s Causeway

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We headed north from Dublin to Belfast, the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland, which is—like it or not for some residents—part of the United Kingdom.[whohit]-Belfast-[/whohit]

A tenuous peace has more-or-less taken root in the past two decades, with some level of power-sharing between the two sides:

The Unionists or Loyalists (mostly Protestants supporting the continued link to the United Kingdom) and Republicans (mostly Catholics who want a union with the independent nation of Ireland.)

You can call it a religious conflict.

Or a political divide.

Or a clash of cultures.

Locally, they call it The Troubles.

Belfast Queens College-6715

Queen’s College, Belfast. Photo by Corey Sandler

In the Industrial Age, Belfast flourished as a center for two major industries: linen (which is the source of one of the city’s nicknames, Linenopolis), and shipbuilding.

At the sprawling yards of Harland and Wolff, the RMS Titanic was built.

The shipyard is still there, now devoted to new industries like wind farms and offshore drilling.

But the newest major attraction is Titanic Belfast, which opened last year to coincide with the centenary of the incomplete maiden voyage of the luxury liner.

The angular metallic structure was intended, according to its designers, to evoke the image of ship.

It stands 126 feet (38 m) high, the same height as Titanic’s hull.

Locals have already applied their own nickname: The Iceberg.

Belfast Titanic

Belfast Titanic Museum

The museum on the site of the former Harland & Wolff shipyard tells the stories of the ill-fated RMS Titanic and her sister ships RMS Olympic and HMHS Britannic.

That last ship had been intended as a liner, but was converted at the start of World War I to be a hospital ship; it struck an underwater mine off the Greek island of Kea on the morning of November 21, 1916 and sank.

There were 1,066 people on board, but only 30 died.

The Britannic was the largest ship lost during the First World War.

ANOTHER GIANT

One of the more extraordinary natural wonders of Northern Ireland lies along the Antrim Coast.

The Giant’s Causeway is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption.

The tops of the columns form stepping stones that lead from the cliff foot and disappear under the sea.

Most of the columns are hexagonal (six-sided), although there are also some with four, five, seven or eight sides.

Belfast Giants Causeway-6688 Belfast Giants Causeway-6700

Giant’s Causeway. Photos by Corey Sandler

Some 50 to 60 million years ago, Antrim was subject to intense volcanic activity.

Molten basalt intruded through chalk beds to form an extensive lava plateau.

As the lava cooled rapidly, contraction occurred.

Horizontal contraction fractured in a similar way to drying mud, with the cracks propagating down as the mass cooled, leaving pillarlike structures, which are also fractured horizontally into “biscuits”.

So much for science.

According to legend, the columns are the remains of a causeway built by a giant.

The Irish giant Finn MacCool was challenged to a fight by the Scottish giant Benandonner.

Finn accepted the challenge and built the causeway across the North Channel so that the two giants could meet.

In one version of the story, Fionn has second thoughts about his upcoming battle when he realizes that his foe is much bigger than him.

Fionn’s wife, Úna, disguises Fionn as a baby and tucks him in a cradle.

When Benandonner sees the size of the ‘baby’, he reckons that its father, Fionn, must be a giant among giants.

He flees back to Scotland in fright, destroying the causeway behind him so that Fionn could not follow.

I like that version.

I think of it as another Titanic, a half-completed crossing of the sea.

Belfast Dunluce Castle-6675 Belfast Giants Causeway-6705

Dunluce Castle, Northern Ireland                         The bay at Giants Causeway

Photos by Corey Sandler