Titanic Exhibition, Potato Bread and a Slider- Finishing up Her Northern Ireland Tour

Ahh, dear Anne sent the photos and my good friend Shuey sent a series and Flat Ruthie has to be the laziest Flat I know.  She realizes the photos are in the email, She just needs to download and post.  What is all this laziness about, Flat Ruthie?  Procrastination taken to a new height or depth?  Get that real Ruth to help you out.  She sure can waste a lot of energy thinking about what she SHOULD do.  Never mind interim grade reports are due.What better time to post than when you should be doing something totally different on the computer.  LIKE WORK!!!

After a very exhilarating day visiting Scrabo Tower…….she was able to see Scotland from the top of the Tower and seeing such an important area as Strangford Lough Flat Ruthie thought she ought to see some more historical places and it looked like Newtownards had quite a few.

Her 1st visit was to Newtownards Town Hall

The Town Hall formerly the Market House in Conway Square was constructed in 1770. The local army garrison stayed here, and guarded the town during the United Irishmen Rebellion in 1798. The dungeon is reputed to be haunted by one of the prisoners who was hanged here. They say his ghost cries out  ‘I’m innocent, innocent!’  Flat Ruthie liked that story…. she enjoys a wee bit of intrigue!

Her next visit was to The Old Cross

Oh look it’s in the middle of the road…watch yourself Flat Ruthie you might get run over and don’t forget they drive on the left hand side of the road here!! Ah! Flat Ruthie sees a sign post to Belfast and wonders how far she is from there……..10miles to the centre of the city she gets told.

The Old Cross stands at one end of the main shopping street It was erected in 1636 and  was built as a night watchman’s keep and a gaol (jail) cell.

Where to next wonders Flat Ruthie? She decides that The Old Priory is worth a visit. She can be quite decisive when she wants to.

The Old Priory built in 1632 on the ruin of the Dominican Priory. A tower is the only remains of the Dominican Friary which had been founded in the 13th century and burned in 1572. In 1636 the steeple was finished and a large bell was placed there by Lord Viscount Montgomery. The building got badly into disrepair by the end of 17th century .The walls were repaired in 1836, and a refurbishment as a church took place in 1859/60,  being consecrated on the  27 Jan 1860 (Church of Ireland…. part of the Anglican faith). It continued to be a church until 1817 and for awhile after that it served as a court house.

Although Flat Ruthie was appreciating all this history she was starting to feel overwhelmed – and getting a bit bored!! But one last historical visit had to be made. This was to Movilla Abbey and graveyard as she had heard there was some sort of American connection there.

Movilla Abbey – wow! Flat Ruthie thought…it is old! It was one of Ulster’s most important monasteries and was founded by St. Finian in 540 AD. There was a school here in 543 (St. Finians) which was attended by St. Columba. The Abbey was plundered by Vikings in 824 AD and refounded in the 12th century by Augustinian Canons. It is supposed to have subsisted until the general dissolution of abbeys by King Henry 8th. Only one pre-Norman stone remains in the graveyard. Built into the north wall of the graveyard is a collection of 13th century coffin lids. Flat Ruthie thought this was quite eerie!

Flat Ruthie was very excited when she found the connection to America in the grave yard. The grave of a James Francis. James was born a few miles from Newtownards – he died in Newtownards on the 16th November 1902. James fought in the American Civil War – Company A, 39th New York Infantry, this detail is on his headstone. As per his US Service record James Francis is described as 5ft 5¾inches in height, of light complexion, blue eyes and light hair upon enlistment in 1864. He states his occupation as clerk. The grave of James Francis at Movilla cemetery, Newtownards is one of only two known Irish Brigade graves in the UK. The other is that of a Benjamin Franklin Weeks, Quartermaster of the 28th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry buried in London. Flat Ruthie jumped for joy and was a wee bit homesick when she saw that someone had placed a small “old glory” at the grave even though it was a bit tattered due to the elements.

Flat Ruthie was now ready to relax. She made it back to the house where she was staying. The house belongs to her friend Judy’s penpal of roughly 50 years

Flat Ruthie was hungry so she sat down to enjoy some Potato Bread and a Slider

If you ask an Irish person living abroad what food they miss most from back home, potato bread will probably be one of the top answers. And after eating some Flat Ruthie knew why! She does enjoy her food. Potato bread is a thin, unleavened bread, made from potatoes, butter, salt & plain flour. It is a delicious addition to a fried breakfast, or simply toasted and slathered in butter. Being a lot denser than many types of bread it is particularly suited to frying, as it doesn’t tend to soak up oil or fat the way a common sliced loaf might.  (recipe link for Potato Bread)

Flat Ruthie was shocked to discover a slider was in fact an ice cream sandwich…she wasn’t very sure how she should eat it………….but Oh My Goodness it was delicious – Cafolla’s vanilla ice cream, the very best Italian Ice Cream and it’s found in Newtownards.

Flat Ruthie was in Northern Ireland exactly 100 years after RMS Titanic left Belfast for Southampton from where the ship sailed on her maiden voyage. Flat Ruthie took the opportunity to visit the newly opened Titanic Exhibition in Belfast.

The newly opened Titanic Belfast is a definite MUST SEE in any tour of Northern Ireland. It is located in the heart of Belfast, on the slipways where RMS Titanic was built
Inside this iconic building, visitors will re-live the entire Titanic story from her birth in Belfast to the fateful maiden voyage and her eventual discovery on the seabed.

This visit for Flat Ruthie to Northern Ireland was over – she was a busy girl and packed a lot in, in such a short period. Hopefully she’ll be back again someday.

 Thanks Anne.   What a tour.

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