The Giant's Causeway

Trip Start May 30, 2012
Trip End Nov 07, 2012

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Flag of United Kingdom  , Northern Ireland,
Monday, August 20, 2012

She did it again! Jess is a planner. We have had moments and a few days on our trip where we wouldn't plan anything, and that has been great! We love getting advice from others on what to see and where to go. We've done things spontaneously and it has turned out pretty good. But when it comes to booking hostels, Jess finds that it is always better to book earlier, especially in the summer months. It definitely paid off this time. Our stay at the Giant's Causeway would not have been so amazing, if it wasn't for the hostel we stayed at. Finn McCool's it was called, and it was about a 5 minute walk to the coast cliffs, and a 15 minute walk to the Giant's Causeway (5 minute jog). Contrary to popular belief, the Giant's Causeway is free to go to. But the exhibition building cost 8.50 to go into, which gives you a video of some info on the G.C. and a story on Finn the Giant who made the causeway, access to the gift shop, and a ride down to the G.C. We know this because Steve, our hostel host told us, and we had to step inside the doors to ask some questions. The causeway is an amazing natural wonder! I think there are only a couple places in the World that have the same rapid lava cooling rock formations as this. It looks like someone (a giant perhaps) bundled a bunch of huge pentagonal and hexigonal shaped rock sticks together, and stuck them into the ground. I saw a couple of seven-sided ones too. A guy who works at the exhibition place said he was told there was a nine-sided stone. He was out there looking a little bit each day for it. Jess still thinks his co-workers were just playing a joke on him and that there isn't a nine-sided stone. After looking around the causeway in the morning, we planned to go later in the evening too, when the sun was setting and there were a lot less people. The causeway faces northwest so we had a spectacular view of the sunset. It was only Jess and I and another couple taking pictures. Then Jess headed back before it got too dark, and the couple eventually left too. I had the Giant's Causeway to myself! I watched the waves break against the honeycombed rocks til the stars came out. It was a pretty calm night, not too much wind. Then I realized the waves were getting closer and the rocks were getting harder to see, so I called it a night and headed back to the hostel.

The best part of our stay occured the day before, however, on our way back to the hostel along the coast. From Derry, we bought a 9 "Rambler" bus ticket that allowed us to get on and off the bus all day. For half the ride from Derry we rode on an open top double decker bus. We heard that a tour using this same bus was 12 for a short ride to some places along the coast. We got to ride in it as part of our regular transit. Sweet deal! It was another beautiful day out, so we both enjoyed a little preview of what was to come on the sunny top of a double decker bus. Our first stop was to the hostel to drop off our bags, then we got right back on the bus to go to the Carrack-a-Rede rope bridge. Nestled right on some rolling coastal hills, on the edge of an ancient volcano, is a narrow single person rope bridge that fishermen used to use to get to the nearby island to fish (which is rebuilt now of course). We hiked over to see it, but didn't go on it bcause of the long line and steep price. We walked all along the nearby hills and cliffs and went down to a rocky beach on the rim of the volcano. This beach was so cool. Black volcanic rocks mixed with white chalk looking rocks, with some green seaweed covered rocks. There was a small cave to go in too. What more could we ask for? We hopped back on the bus and headed just down the road to Dunseverick Castle. Well it wasn't really a castle, only three walls left standing, but it was situated on top of a small plateau where a herd of sheep were grazing. Now for the best part, our hike back to the hostel. There was a hiking trail about 4.5 miles long that followed the zig-zagging cliff line back to the Giant's Causeway and our hostel. Absolutely gorgeous views!! There were no roads nearby, just fields of grazing sheep on one side, and breath-taking views of the cliffs and Atlantic Ocean on the other. We could see the rock formations slowly turn into the igneous pillar formations of the Giant's Causeway. We would even go through some sheep pastures with the sheep all around us. Those sheep can live even on the steep grassy inclines right below the cliffs!

When we got back to the hostel, Steve was making double cheeseburgers on the BBQ. Included in our hostel price was a full English breakfast, and for only 3.50, we had the option to have his BBQ suppers too. We did have them and they were good. The hostel wasn't totally full so he arranged the guests so that Jess and I had our own room, even though we booked the 4 bed dorm. Thanks Steve. He said we were really cool people. Most Canadians he meets are, Steve says. Usually when we are done seeing a place, the excitement of going to a new place overshadows the sadness of leaving a place behind. This was not the case at Finn McCool's. We did not want to leave this hostel and the amazing green cliffs of Northern Ireland. But alas, we have so much more to see, and the excitment will build again. So onward we go to our last stop in Ireland, Belfast.

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Nana on

I so look forward to your writings & pictures!! Thanks--- take care---Lovingly,Nana XX

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