Giant’s Causeway

Determined to see more than just Belfast on my first trip to Northern Ireland, I booked a day trip with Allen’s Tours to the country’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site: the Giant’s Causeway.
The first stop of the day is barely an hour outside Belfast. The formidable Carrickfergus castle. Northern Ireland has produced uncharacteristically sublime weather for us, and we’re in good spirits.

 

After another quick stop at a small seaside village where we stock up on traditional hard boiled clove sweets, our third stop of the day is at Carrick-a-Rede with a rope bridge they brand ‘death-defying’.

On such a beautiful day I would brand it more ‘good fun’ than bungy-level-terrifying.

On the other side of the rope-bridge, we found a comfy spot and read a few Walt Whitman poems aloud. It’s hard not to celebrate nature on a glorious day like this one.

The views of beautiful Rathlin Island (with its homogeneous group of residents who apparently never leave) alone are worth the walk to the rope-bridge and steep-sounding £5 crossing fee.

Just a short distance later, the ruins of Dunluce Castle offer a glimpse at the centuries of history this part of the world possesses.

Then, a quick stop at the working Bushmills Distillery, where we gladly join a quick tour having a look at the whiskey making process. We promptly make complete fools of ourselves by mishearing ’40’ for ’14’. A few minutes before the end of our 20 minute stop, we can tell the tour is nowhere near finishing. When we tell the tour guide, he looks mortified, then leads the entire group all the way back to the start, to drop us off at our coach. I spent the whole walk back trying to pretend I was invisible and avoiding all eye contact.

Thankfully, we’re soon distracted from our embarrassment by our next stop, the highlight of the trip: The Giant’s Causeway.

Nobody knows what caused these rocks to splinter into perfect hexagons. Just that it happened a really long time ago. In years gone by, the Irish knew it could only be the work of giants… hence the name.

The entire area is a marvel, and well worth a visit. No wonder they call it the missing eighth wonder of the world.