I got up early to drive from Ballycastle to Derry/Londonderry. I had the address for the Kingdom Hall, programmed it into the GPS and set off confidently. It was a beautiful drive. I saw a McDonalds! Coffee! No… Even McDonalds makes foul coffee in Ireland. I am not a coffee snob, but this stuff is really bad. Just give up and drink tea.
The GPS announced I had reached my destination at a park in the middle of the city. I circled, looking for any sign that said anything about Bond’s Hill. I didn’t even see a hill. Or a single person awake. I pulled up the map on the GPS and realized that, since it did not know where Bond’s Hill was, it had just taken me to the center of the city. So, I pulled out every map I had and none of them were detailed enough to find Bond’s Hill. In the distance I saw a woman coming out of a church. I drove past her, pulled over and walked back toward her because I didn’t want to startle her. She was old and elegantly dressed. I asked her if she knew where a Kingdom Hall was. She started to tell me, but it called for a lot of turns. I pulled out the map to see if she could show me on the map. She located it, then told me she would take me. I assured her I had a car and pointed to it. She told me to wait, disappeared for ten minutes or so, then pulled up in her own tiny car and signaled me to follow her. She drove me nearly 20 minutes, round and over bridges till I was in front of the Kingdom Hall (on Bond’s Hill). Then she just waved at me and drove away. What a kind lady!
Again, I was quite early. I found parking and sat and watched the city wake up. Bond’s Hill is a small road overlooking the River Foyle not far from Bridge Street on A2. So, I sat and watched the traffic on A2 and the water. I read guidebooks until people started to arrive. I bet you didn’t know that the Foyle is the fastest-flowing river in Europe for its size.
The talk focused on Proverbs 18:10; “The name of Jehovah is a strong tower. Into it the righteous one runs and receives protection.” Having spent the last two weeks seeing and reading about how people were protected in towers made this verse more real than it had ever been.
After the meeting, I met with the group going in the ministry. Mostly no one was home. Just like here. The neighborhood was very pretty. Largish houses with beautiful yards on a hill overlooking the city. When I talked to one lady she told me to wait and turned back into the house. She came back with her husband and asked me to say it again. Then she turned to him and exclaimed, “She sounds just like someone on the telly!”
I spent the next day in Derry/Londonderry and area. No matter which name I used, I was corrected. The name is disputed between Irish nationalists and unionists. I decided to just call it the city. This is the city where the Bloody Sunday incident of the Troubles that inspired Sunday Bloody Sunday by U2 happened.
I bought Dr. Who toys at Woolworths. When I was a little girl, Woolworths was a real treat, but we haven’t had them here since 1997.
This is a school bus. A lot different from the ones here! Look, seat belts!
Next: Lower Lough Erne and Belleek Pottery >
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