Day 9 - Northern Ireland Coast

Trip Start Sep 09, 2012
Trip End Nov 24, 2012

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Flag of United Kingdom  , Northern Ireland,
Wednesday, September 19, 2012

We departed Belfast for the Northern Ireland north coast taking the scenic route. 

 We made a quick stop at Carrickfergus Castle. A Norman Castle built in 1177 in 3 stage. It was pretty heavily fortified being almost completely surrounded by the sea and survived attacks and sieges (the longest of which lasted about  year) by the Scots, British, Irish and French. In WWII, part of it was used as an air raid shelter. We then headed onwards, along the coast.

The views from Torr Road were AMAZING! Driving these roads was somewhat scary at times, narrowing down to one lane with little vision around corners! Road markings seemed to be only a guide as were the speed limits in both the UK and Ireland! This day we also realized that the speed limit in Northern Ireland went back to miles per hour as opposed to the kilometers per hour that was listed on our cars speedo. Luckily the GPS had the speed limits in mph although I wasn't going to do the 90 miles per hour limit listed along these narrow winding roads as I fancied arriving in one piece at our destination! On one corner, the rock wall encroached into both lanes making the road one car width. Instead of creating the lines up to a certain point then having give way signs they simply continued to run the center line along the road, I wish I'd taken a photo!

We continued along the coast and just before 4pm we reached Carrick-a-Rede, a rope bridge you can cross to a small Island. On the Island, Salmon fisherman lived and worked and had built the bridge to get across. When we arrived we were disappointed to find out that we weren’t allowed to cross due to the windy conditions as by the time we arrived at the bridge it would was to be closed. We were told we could still walk down to it and have a look so off we went. When we arrived, the guy manning the bridge told us we could still cross! So he let us go. It was petrifying as it was very windy. We both held on with 2 hands and inched our way across. The bridge swayed in the wind as the waves crashed below and sometimes you’d take a step and it felt like your leg was being blown sideways! The bridge was closed not long after we crossed to the island and back.

We then headed onto the Giants Causeway. This place was very cool! Created when massive volcanic explosions occurred millions of years ago creating fascinating hexagonal pillars of stone that look so orderly. It was freezing and we were being blown away so we retreated to the car and headed on.

Our next stop was Londonderry (Derry). We arrived late at night and thought we’d try and see if they had a place available at a B&B in Bogside (the Catholic area at the heart of troubles during many of the riots). No such luck so we relied on our GPS to take us to a nearby hotel where we were happy to shower and hop into nice double beds!
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