I have had a connection with Poland since serving ice cream with Warszawian Piotr on a beach hut in the English seaside resort of Bournemouth in 2004. At the same time, I also worked with Aneta and Grzegorz and later Zuzanna (who I met again as recently as 2016). All four are pictured with me below…
“When we were young” – Adele.
In the intervening 13 years I have visited Poland around 10 times, cumulatively spending about 20months in the country. I visited Warszawa first in 2005 before finally relocating to Gdańsk in 2016 (after a somewhat topsy turvy tourist trip around the world).
It was easy for me to settle in Poland you see. I had toyed with living in magnetic Kyrgyzstan in 2016 but when I experienced some lying friends in July of that year my mind was made up. To stay in Poland. This website and project was spontaneous and is now my main business in life, a shock for me for sure. I had really no intention of staying in Poland, but in times of depression, it fitted in perfectly and I am settled here now.
The idea was always to show my Polish mates round Northern Ireland and has taken a whoppaday 13years to organise . We initially wanted to do this in March 2009 when Northern Ireland played Poland in Belfast in a World Cup qualifier, but it didn’t work out. I attended 5 Northern Ireland v Poland matches down the years including in Nice (France) and in Warszawa. But still we never toured my country. However my recent presentation on Northern Irish life and culture in Warszawa reignited the spark.
Finally in November 2017 we will do it. I am taking my Polish friends Julia and Rafał on a tour of my homeland! More were invited and declined. And those liars I met on my journey? Well I had to be strict to them – they didn’t get invites (Karolina and Maggy ;-(). So here is a glimpse of my country and where my Polish friends will visit.
On the itinerary we hope to tour:
Northern Ireland’s second biggest city, our border city, a divided and debated city and the home of Derry City FC.
The Dark Hedges
The Dark Hedges might be over-touristic but perhaps not in November, so we’re off to see them. Famous from the Game of Thrones series which has been filmed in Northern Ireland.
Ireland’s Highest Pub is a must surely! It was also recently included in Best Irish Pubs in the World!
This is the number one tourist site in Northern Ireland. I have been three times, but not for over 5 years so a return will be nice.
Time permitting a visit to historic Bushmills and the home of the famous Whiskey Distillery.
Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge
Time permitting also perhaps Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge.
We will spend predictably most of our time in Belfast City including some bars, food and sights.
“The boys won’t leave the girls alone” – Old Irish song.
We will watch the Ulster Rugby team play an Italian side. As well as my Polish friends debut, this will be MY first ever Ulster rugby match and the first time I will visit Ravenhill since 1995 (no joke).
Glentoran F C
No trip to Northern Ireland should neglect a trip to the Oval Grounds in East Belfast. It is here on the hallowed turf that the likes of Ron Manley, Billy Caskey, Johnny Jameson, Fred Roberts and Walter Bruce played in days gone by. Glentoran FC will plays Ards FC on Saturday.
Bangor, Newtownards, Ballyhalbert
I will also be spending some time in glorious North Down and Ards – my birth town of Newtownards, my home town of Bangor and the coast at Ballyhalbert Einstein.
We will also cross the border into enemy territory to the Republic of Ireland…
Republic of Ireland
“In Dublins Fair City where the girls are so pretty, I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone”
Dublin – We will visit O’Connell Street, Temple Bar, Molly Malone, Oscar Wilde and have some Guinness.
A pint or two in Dublin beckons…
So I’ll be offline for a while, but maybe on Facebook and Instagram remotely to upload some photos…