Full circle...

A long day of driving: Portrush to Belfast, then back to Dublin.

In Belfast, we took a turn around the city, looking at political murals of Shankill and Falls Road. Then we met a local guide at the Titanic museum, to learn about the industrial era and the Titanic, built in Belfast's shipyard in 1911.

A metal strip on the pavers between the Titanic exhibits and the water marks the spot where Titanic once sat in dry dock, next to her sister ship, Olympic.

Titanic on the left, Olympic on the right.

Our local guide has a personal connection to Titanic: her grandfather worked in the shipyards, and in an effort to improve his fortunes, decided to take a position on board Titanic and sail to New York on her maiden voyage. She gave us a tour of the building where the ships were designed, and where the draftsmen worked. We were one of the last groups to tour this building. It and others along the wharf will become part of a new hotel. Personally, I think that's a shame. This beautiful building, with its soaring roof and skylights, is a part of the history of the Titanic, and should be preserved.

After the Titanic exhibit, Dave and I returned to the city center for lunch, then spent an hour exploring the Belfast City Hall. Its soaring rotunda and stained glass make it a spectacular place to visit.

Then we settled in for the long drive back to Dublin, and our last night together. With no stops, I snapped through the coach windows. This blurry shot of the green Irish countryside reminds me that Ireland would be a great place to paint. My dad would have loved it.

Tomorrow at breakfast we'll say goodbye to most of our group, but a few of us are staying on in Dublin for a few more days.

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