A female figure is looking down on two sea-nymphs lifting a drowned sailor from the sea. The statue faces east toward the shipyard where Titanic left the slipway to its misfortune. As visitors are passing the City Hall's memorial, it dawns to them that by far the most famous transatlantic cruise liner was built here, in Belfast. They walk away with a solemn reflection.
Comparable to Scotland in its hilly landscape and to Wales in the late-Victorian splendor of its major cities, Northern Ireland is a worthwhile stop on your UK route, even if it's with one sole purpose. For it's an irrecoverable loss to be around and not to see the lunar landscape of the Giant's Causeway, a wondrous area of about 40,000 interlocking, hexagonal basalt columns.
If you feel like lingering for a little longer here, pluck up courage and cross the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, lower your head as you proceede along the Bloody Sunday Trail and raise it up high to sweep the political murals in Derry; then traverse Glenveagh National Park, and when the sandstone cliffs of Cushendun have turned red in the setting sun, settle down in a cozy pub over a pint of Guinness.
With the total area of less than 14,000 square kilometers, Northern Ireland has been the subject of an ethno-political turmoil that no other separatist activity compares. This in turn poses a question: who would bother about such a sparse piece of land if it wasn't an exceptional tidbit? Alright, it may be more of a nationalist ambition for unity than pride in geo-cultural heritage that underpins the conflict, but the fact remains that the six counties of Ulster are truly an eye-pleaser. Sadly enough, decades of ongoing guerrilla warfare subdued tourism, and it is only now that the country is starting to win back favor. Will you help increase the visitor records?