My day started pretty early with breakfast at my hostel and out the door about 8:30. I walked to the meeting point for my bus tour I had booked and stopped for a coffee on the way. I knew the cup of tea I had at breakfast wasn’t going to to be enough caffeine for me, and I know better than to bother with the instant coffee at hostels.
My tour left a little after 9:15 and our first stop was the Giant’s Causeway. We were given about two hours to explore the causeway. I spent about an hour or so walking the path down to the causeway and back. On the path to the causeway you have to pass through what’s known as the windy gap and it’s apparently the windiest place in Ireland, and I think it definitely might be. The Giant’s Causeway is a bunch of basalt columns formed as a result of volcanic activity millions of years ago, or it was carved by the giant named Finn McCool, who knows.
Standing out on the causeway next close to the sea I can feel the cold breeze and sea spray. The water was churning, and waves were crashing against the rocks. The roar of the waves is almost deafening.
I walked back up the hill to the visitor’s center enjoyed the sound of the waves crashing in on my right and birds singing to my left. I got a few post cards at the visitor’s center and a cuppa since I had time.
Back on the bus we drove out to Dunluce castle. This was just a quick phone stop. The first castle to have been built there was built in the 13th century. What’s there now is the ruins of the castle that was abandon in the 1600s by the MacDonnells. According to local legend the reason it was abandond is because a portion of the kitchen fell into the sea and the lady of the house refused to stay after that. Dunluce is used as Castle Greyjoy in Game of Thrones, with a bit of CGI of course.
It was time for lunch, and we stopped at the Bushmills Distillery for that. I got something to eat at the cafe, then I did a whiskey tasting. The tasting was £10 and consisted of Bushmills’ Black Bush, their 10 year, and their 12 year. The 12 year was my favorite, and of course that’s the one that you can only get at the distillery. I’d love to bring a bottle home, but I travel carry-on only, so I can’t.
Next stop in the tour was Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge. There’s been a rope bridge there for over 350 years. Originally the bridge there was used by fisherman to get to the best places to catch Atlantic salmon. Now, it’s become a tourist attraction. It’s 60ft across to the island from the mainland and the bridge is about 100ft up from the sea. It was fairly windy, and I really didn’t like how much the bridge was much the bridge was moving. I know it’s perfectly safe, but it still made me uneasy.
From there we we working our way back to Belfast through a pine forest, past the vanishing lake, Antrim glens and on to the coast road. We stopped for a bit in a small town for a break and a Carrickfergus castle for a quick photo. I really enjoyed all the scenery along the drive back to Belfast.
My friend Stephanie had flown in that afternoon while I was on my tour. Once I arrived back in Belfast, I met her at City Hall. It was dinner time so we found a near by restaurant and got something to eat. We chose Café Parisian, because when in Belfast, have french food? Really, we we’re just hungry, and it was the closest restaurant. I had roast duck breast and Steph had the Irish stew. The food was absolutely fantastic! We had a long day ahead of us the next day, so we called it a night fairly early.
Until next time, safe travels!