The Northern Irish Coast

Trip Start May 14, 2012
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Trip End Ongoing

Flag of United Kingdom  , Northern Ireland,
Thursday, June 21, 2012

From Carrickfergus we traveled north through County Antrim along a fantastic coastal highway. Our driver told us we were going though a region known as The Glens, a series of nine glens (translated as "at the foot of the hill," or valleys) with sloping hills and disinterested sheep. Pictures from the bus can only do them small justice.

We soon arrived at the Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge, an area on the northern coast (one might see Scotland on a clear day, which suffices to say not at all) boasting cliffs, torrential wind and an excruciating amount of Harry Potter references (I don't envy residents of Forks, WA). My dad wasn't too keen on crossing the rope bridge at first but was glad he did - on the other side was a rugged cliff-top island with a small fishery and a number of awesome rock outcrops. There was a small tea-room near the parking lot where I had my very first clam chowder.

Once back on the bus we headed up to Dunluce Castle, which fared slightly worse for ware than did Carrickfergus. The ruins looked spectacular and I wouldn't be surprised if it's appeared in countless films.

The main attraction of the tour, however, was the Giant's Causeway: a rugged patch of coastline made up of hexagonial stones which are the remains of volcanic activity in the region. Our tour guide told us the story of the Causeway thus: 

The Irish Giant Fionn Cumhail wanted to pick a fight with the Scottish giant Benandonner and so built the Causeway to bridge the two nations. He crossed the bridge but realized that Benandonner was much bigger than he was and ran back to Ireland. His wife came up with an idea, however. Benandonner found the Causeway and walked across to Ireland, where Fionn was waiting wrapped in swaddling clothes like a baby. On seeing this, Benandonner thought to himself "If this is the size of the baby, how big is his daddy?" and ran back to Scotland, tearing up the Causeway as he went (in case Fionn's "daddy" came after him) and creating the unique rock formations seen today. I've heard the story told a few different ways, but this is the version our guide held.  He also said that this formation is unique in the world, but an opposing formation is present in Fingal's Cave in Scotland (and also in Iceland).

We grabbed some food at the nearby pub, nearly ran into Elijah Wood (who's apparently DJing in town tonight), glanced at the Bushmill's Distillery before hitting the inland highway back to Belfast for the night. The tour lasted nearly nine and a half hours but was well worth the trek.
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Comments

Christina A. on

Wait, you've never had clam chowder before this?!? You were missing out! It's delicious. Looks like you're having fun, love all the pictures!

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