Northern Ireland – County Antrim (Giant’s Causeway)

Saturday, September 14th, 2013

We arrived at Giant’s Causeway just as the sun was setting. It was a stormy evening and the ocean waves sprayed into the sky, illuminating the last of the sun’s rays.

We admired the view and then headed to Finn McCool’s Hostel. The hostel was sweet. There was a couple from Poland and a guy named Aaron from Malaysia. Aaron turned out to be a super cool dude, and he happened to know more about the NBA than anyone I have ever met. We stayed up for hours talking about basketball, football, Elton John and when the heck we are going to visit Aaron in Malaysia.

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

We were up and making coffee at a decent hour since we wanted to get a move on and see Giant’s Causeway. It was pissing rain and there were winds aggressive enough that I was sure AccuWeather overlooked and then neglected to mention an appropriate tornado warning. So rather than walking along the 12 mile coast-hugging path that we had originally planned, we decided we would take the Micra for a spin and walk bits and pieces and retreat to the car when we were ready.

We started off at the visitor center. Little tip in case you are visiting soon, paying to visit Giant’s Causeway is optional, despite what traffic control staff might have you believe.




So why should you visit this place?

Well, the legend (my favorite one anyways) goes that Finn McCool (the big friendly giant) built a causeway after accepting the challenge to fight the Scottish giant, Benandonner.

Depending on the storyteller, Finn beats the Scot. A more interesting version suggests that Finn became reluctant once he noticed the size of his opponent, so his smart wife decided to disguise Finn as a baby and put him in a cradle upon Benandonners visit. The Scottish giant freaked out and thought that the baby’s father (Finn) must be massive. So he fled back to Scotland and destroyed the causeway behind him so that Finn wouldn’t be able to follow.


A geologist would burst your bubble and tell you that all of these columns are the result of volcanic activity. See, I told you that’s not as fun. Millions of years ago as the result of volcanoes, a massive lava plateau formed. It cooled quickly, causing horizontal contractions that resulted in columns.


So thousands of people visit annually to inspect these stone-like cylinders and see the beautiful coastline.





The sun made a brief appearance during our walk down to the ocean. We were able to hop around on the polygonal columns long enough before the storm in the distance shattered everyones half-full hopeful glasses. It dumped rain and the winds were up to 60mph, literally knocking us off our columns as we laughed and tried to make our way back to the car.

We continued driving along the Coastal Causeway route and stopped at every place that looked appealing.




















So, the 12 mile drive took a good four hours…Whoops.

Screen Shot 2013-09-28 at 5.28.06 PM

Oh yeah, there is more…




We ended up in Ballycastle and found ourselves a Tesco Express and grabbed the all-too-predictable Prawn Chili Salad and Cajun Chicken Wraps. We then found ourselves enjoying a little picnic on a table overlooking the angry coast.

We had a walk around Ballycastle, dropped our things at the hostel, and then jumped back in the car and headed towards Ballintoy to see if we could catch a glimpse of the Carrick-a-Rede bridge. With 60mph winds, the bridge was obviously closed, but we went on a walk to see it anyway.






Rocks were flying in our face and the wind was nearly knocking us over the cliffs, so it was a quick trip before we were running back to the carpark. We somehow ran into Aaron and after a laugh and a chat we said our second set of goodbyes and retreated back to the car and headed back to Ballycastle to enjoy a cozy fire.

The night was spent working on job applications for India and due to the world’s most uncomfortable bed (I think it was two milk crates pushed together), we were up watching the Seahawks (and highlights) until 5:30 a.m.

Monday September 16th, 2013

Obviously it was a slow morning, but we got the boot by 11 a.m. and we jumped back on the road.

Thanks to Pinterest keeping me occupied during the Hawks rain delay, I discovered an additional stop we could make on our way back to Belfast.

Screen Shot 2013-09-28 at 5.37.30 PM

As a result of my brilliant navigation skills, accidentally it turned out to be two stops.

I took us to Ballymoney, where we were told we needed to head back towards Armoy to see The Dark Hedges. The Dark Hedges is basically a neighborhood road with lots of really old, really cool trees that line both sides.







The trees were planted in the 18th century by the Stuart family. I have no idea who the Stuart family is, or why they had a massive house at the end of this road, but my little camera and I didn’t really care.

(Plus when James is about to watch the Cougs he pretends to proofread my blogs, but doesn’t. So I can get away with posting a dozen pictures of the same tree and he doesn’t notice! GO COUGS!!!!)

We (ha) enjoyed taking some pictures before we headed back to Belfast to return our unscuffed car and explore Belfast once again by foot!

After meeting some really sweet people at Global Village Hostel, we ended up cooking dinner in, and then going out to a pub (that had a reggae floor which we quickly ended up at until 2 a.m.).

It was an absolutely perfect mini-holiday that was all planned by James and was beautifully done. We are happy and minus James’ persistent cold, doing very well and making some big plans for our future travels!

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