Sunday, July 04, 2010

4th July in Bangor

[Maryanne]OK, So I consider myself “half American” (when it suits me). My husband is American and I have a US passport, but I’m still not sure it feels right to “celebrate” American Independence - given I’m basically British. Still, I can enjoy a party, and a few fireworks whatever the reason. Of course, while Kyle is currently in the USA, and able to fully celebrate, I’m in Northern Ireland, and expected to pass the day oblivious to its US importance.

Leaving behind Bangor fun fairs and towers on my way to Groomsport

I’d planned ahead and booked myself on a free guided walk of the area, to study the archaeological history of part of the coastal route around Groomsport (just a couple of miles South from Bangor). I woke to torrential rain, and wondered how we’d know if the walk was cancelled.... By the time noon arrived, the weather was glorious sun shine, and I set off to Groomsport. Great sun, but very blustery. I was sand blasted on the beach on the walk to Groomsport, but luckily had my back to the wind, and was able to enjoy the amazing swirling fog like effect of the sand flying around just above ground level ahead of me – pretty cool.

Sand and scenery on a blustery walk

I arrived in Groomsport in plenty of time, and purchased myself an apple, planning to sit and read a book in the sun until the allotted tour time. However, I soon realised that Groomsport was actively celebrating American Independence day... No escape, I realized I’m probably getting more of a 4th July celebration than Kyle! The Kids were making American flags (or coming up with new designs in many cases), and there was live music and line dancing at the harbour.

Imagine my surprise! I'd thought I'd miss out on any 4th July celebrations over here.

With plenty of time still, I ventured into Cockle Row Cottages (setup as a circa 1910 croft house), and found a live demonstration of Soda Bread baking.... Shirley (the cook) was a great teacher and I bombarded her with questions – now HERE is some bread I can easily make and bake aboard Footprint. Shirley also kindly gave me a healthy taste of hot bread with melting butter, and then a second sample, and a third to take on my way – I’m hooked.

Shirley bakes a mean soda bread... deeeeee-licious, and the locals get dancing USA style!

The guided walk was excellent. Despite the blustery conditions (and total lack of any visible archaeology) , the National Trust archaeologist gave an excellent tour. I’m sure I’ve already forgotten the most of what he said, but it was good. :-) By the end of the tour we’d walked half way back to Bangor, so I continued on, but this time on the beach I was face INTO the sand blasting wind. I was not sure if I’d survive, and was convinced my glasses would be ruined, luckily all was well all round. This means I’ve done NO JOBS today, I’ll have to think of something to tell Kyle I did do, or maybe he’ll let me get away with “It is a Holiday after all”.

So – happy 4th of July and may you all have beautiful homemade, bread – warm and buttered and anything else that makes you glow with pleasure and comfort.

Returning to the Guillemots ( Bangor Penguins) at the Marina - so cute. They nest in the overflow pipes coming out of the seawall here


Mommy Dearest said...

I am amazed there would be an Independence Day celebration in Ireland. They must have set it up just for you, half American that you are. Other than the windy conditions, it looks like you had a fabulous day. To top it off, there needs to be some fireworks somewhere. I hope Kyle gets to see some where ever he is. Happy Fourth to everyone, far and near. We've made it 235 years so far and counting. No comment on the present condition of our beautiful country.

Anonymous said...

Spending July 4th in Manchester, New Hampshire. Everything is closed, so my FO and I had dinner at a Ruby Tuesday's. I'm still pretty much on UK time, internally and doubt I will be able to stay up for fireworks. Plus, the hotel's in the middle of nowhere, so there probably aren't any to see here anyway. Oh well, at least I get to sleep in a little tomorrow. - Kyle

Chris Bonney said...

Sounds like a fun day, whatever the weather. I've mentioned your presence there to our friend Helen Sonner, formerly of Norfolk, who's studying for a Ph.d. at the University of Belfast. (Of course, she could be in the U.S. right now.)

Helen Sonner said...

Hello Maryanne and Kyle,

I am Chris Bonney's friend, and really enjoyed your Independence Day post. Particularly because I also noticed, and was surprised by, how much attention the American holiday received -- particularly on Radio Ulster, which had one American music themed show after the other all weekend. I also joked with a Belfast friend of mine that it was nice that so many neighborhoods had put up red, white, and blue flags and painted the curbs red, white, and blue, in recognition of the 4th of July, as if I'd never heard of the Boyne . . . It got a good rise.

How long will you be in Bangor?

SV-Footprint said...

Hi Helen, Chris' friend. Great to hear from you.

We're leaving Bangor (all being well, weather dependent and all that) early on the 9th (this Friday). Kyle flies back on the 7th and if you do too, you may well be sharing a plane :-)

kate said...

I love that you found a celebration of July 4th in Ireland - perhaps because we defeated the British and the Irish can't possibly find fault with that? :) Oh, haha -just a little colonist humor there. Glad you enjoyed the day and gained a new bread recipe!

Anonymous said...

Hi Maryanne and Kyle:
Very glad to see you having such a great time. Glad you got to "County Down."
After all , It was the first Cape Canaveral. (joke here)
BTW, the celebrants of Independence day were Irish Catholics, as they have good reason to support the
American Independence from Britain.
Fair Winds