Belfast, United Kingdom
As mentioned in previous entries, the McKenna household is so like my own family in so many ways that when it came to say goodbye after a few short days, I couldn’t help but get emotional and steal an extra hug from Brigid on behalf of my own Mum who I miss terribly.
Edel and Enda dropped Christine and I off in town to catch a bus bound for the big smoke – Belfast. The drive through the Northern Irish countryside was picturesque but now that Christine and I were finally alone, we were too engrossed in conversation for photos – sorry.
Once we arrived, we got straight down to business and climbed atop an open bus tour with a guide who is best described in the words of Christine as a “horny old goat”. In between tales of Belfast’s rich history in politics, literature and shipbuilding (the Titanic was built in Belfast but it’s not their fault – an English person was driving!), she assured us that there are no good men in Belfast and extolled the environmental virtues of drinking wine by the box rather than by the bottle (…or by the glass but clearly she hadn’t considered this crazy notion)! We did a full lap, still largely engrossed in conversation, with the promise to redo it another day on my own and pay fuller attention (the ticket is valid for 3 days).
We had lunch at a cool cafe followed by a stroll about town and up to the viewing platform at the top of the new shopping centre before hopping into a taxi up the Crumlin Road. We arrived at yet another McKenna sisters house for a night of babysitting while Grainne and Joe headed to Dublin for a Bon Jovi concert.
Megan and Thomas took very good care of us and helped us make and decorate cupcakes or ‘buns’. They were very entertaining and it was interesting to hear the Belfast twang in their accent as opposed to their Augher cousins.
Once the children were in bed, Christine and I kept up the conversation until the wee small hours like gossiping teenagers, swapping adventure stories until we could talk no more! It was truly a pleasure to be able to spend the one on one time with Christine, deepening and strengthening a bond now further fortified by my gratitude.