Giant's Causeway

Trip Start May 29, 2009
Trip End Jun 13, 2009

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Flag of United Kingdom  , N Ireland,
Sunday, May 31, 2009

I slept
OK, woke up at 9 and had breakfast.  We left at 10:30 to meet Cathy at a
park and ride to the Giant’s Causeway.  John, Jill, and Cathy had all been there, but it had been years since they were there last.  I hear similar stories from my friends that live in or near Philadelphia.  Many of them have never been to Independence Mall or the Liberty Bell.  The weather was supposed to go up to 90F.  The highest temperature ever recorded in Northern Ireland was 87.4F in 1976, so the weather was the talk of the town everywhere.  It was the temperature range that I had left in Philadelphia, so it was normal weather for that time of the year to me, but we all kept making jokes about how I'm leaving Ireland with all the wrong stereotypes when it comes to weather!

  John's parents had recommended a nice lunch they had once in Bushmill's at the Bushmill's Inn, so we stopped.  The grounds and building were gorgeous, the food delicious and reasonably priced.  The small town with it's distillery, while probably built up for tourism, with the distillery and Causeway being so close, but it just screamed quaint Irish town.  I'd like to spend some time there the next opportunity I get.

The causeway was only an hour and 15 minute drive from Belfast, and was 6GPB to park.  There was a shuttle to take you to the causeway, I believe 2GBP there, 3 back, but is only necessary if you are traveling someone with very limited mobility.  We were considering it because we thought the Causeway was significantly larger than it really was.  I'm glad we didn't.

The Giant's Causeway is an interesting geological formation that has thousands of naturally occuring hexagonal columns.  I think it goes under the water as well, but the most observable portion was the section that is commonly photographed.  While it was interesting, I was surprised that this site is possibly the only one on the UNESCO world heritage list that I felt pictures adequately captured.

Because it was a nice day the area was packed, and as you approach the cliffs area all you could see is hundreds of dots of tourists climbing all over the columns.  It made taking pictures difficult.  It only took about 30 minutes to explore (and another 30 to get to and from the car) but we sat around and just enjoyed the breeze from the water.  Since it was so clear, you could see Scotland in the distance.

Once we felt we spent enough time at the causeway (about 2 hours) we drove home via the coastal route.  This was amazing as well driving along the cliffs.  It was just completely different from the beaches in New Jersey.  Very scenic, and had me thinking of the Cliffs of Moher I saw in my last visit to Ireland.  It was very similar, and had me lose some of the appeal I thought of Moher.

The plan was to stop at some famous rope bridge, but it was too crowded, and while everyone said they were willing to wait to go on it (we were in no hurry) I was indifferent to the ordeal, so instead we walked around the cliffs for different views, and continued along the coastal route.

The drive was slow, so as we approached Larne we decided to get onto the highway back to Belfast.  Cathy left us, and John, Jill and I went to a fish and chips shop john liked then drove to the Queens University Botanical Garden's to eat.  John had gone to University there, so he pointed out some of the buildings as we drove around.  It was a very nice campus, and the F&C were very good.

After driving back to John's house I called my friend Alan who lives in Galway.  He was supposed to meet me tomorrow in Dublin, so I wanted to finalize my plans.  Everything is on schedule.
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