We had wanted to visit Belfast merely as a stepping stone to reach the Giants Causeway but the vibrant small city enveloped us with it’s lively optimistic atmosphere. But now it was time to leave all of that liveliness behind and take a glimpse of Ireland’s northern coastline.
After some serious walking the previous days (city breaks are primed to make you fit) we decided to have a day to sit back and let someone else guide the way which worked out well because highlights were popping up all over the place. Most of you know that we don’t often choose a tour over a self guided trip however for the ease of all 3 of us plus the fact we had such a short time in Belfast, it seemed a sensible option. And we were highly impressed, the day flowed effortlessly, we had a kick-ass guide who delved into all of North Ireland’s history and also let us in on a few game of thrones secrets. Oh and you can bet that we loved having someone else in charge for once!
A narrow avenue of beech trees was our first stop, not only rather stunning but featured throughout The Game of Thrones series. The trees have lived to double their expected life span to create this stunning archway. This wasn’t the only GOT scene on our hit list, oh no, we also stood where the red lady age birth, our guide even played the scene for us to relive and cringe over.
And then there’s the Antrim Coast, 100m high cliffs bracing into the wind. It’s obvious that the areas ferocious weather and tumultuous seas has impacted every aspect of the landscape… and its inhabitants. Built in 1500AD Dunluce Castle prospered as a seat of the Earls of County Antrim until during one nights its kitchens disappeared into the sea in a gale. The cliffs form arches, caves, eroded concaves and islands like Carrick-a-Rede. You can still access the island via a rope bridge thought to have been originally used by salmon fishermen over 350 years ago but whats truly mesmerising is the walk along a chalky cliff face peering into a pale blue ocean.
You only know you’ve reached the giants causeway because suddenly there’s buses. We took a moment, a pause because we’d now reached my mums bucket list dream. She was excited, as were we but it was funny to think that we’d arrived at the place that had brought us to Ireland in the first place.
From the parking lot it’s a small stroll to the Giants Causeway itself, or a short bus ride. The blue sky was long gone and all we could hope for was that those tiny droplets of sunlight squeezing through wouldn’t turn to rain. Mum didn’t care, she was on that bus before you could say a word while Prue and I decided to take the stroll and attempt to get a feel for the place beyond the information desk. We strolled in the breeze watching the cascading rocks of the giants causeway grow.
When I first arrived I peered through the other tourists to find my mum, she was sitting serenely on her own patch of mosaic rocks looking out to sea. I began making my way towards her.
Catching the sight of my feet standing on one of those perfectly shaped hexagons I could have sworn they must be hand carved, and that’s when it hit me. I no longer had to ask why it’s so special The 40,000 columns standing today are the result of 60 million year old lava and every one of them is a phenomenon. A product of molten basalt rock coming into contact with chalk beds and a cooling process that encouraged symmetrical contraction and cracking that also manages to interlock them together. Looking up from my own symmetrical hexagon it hits me again to see the wave of identical rocks sweeping over the shoreline, it is a perfect place.
Our hour passed by and in that time shafts of sunlight began to pierce through the clouds and illuminated the scene.
It was just one of those moments.
Here’s some more Piccies from Ireland’s Northern coastline I couldn’t part with
Rebecca Mayoll is a ‘just turned 30’ freelance writer and photographer from England. She is the co-founder and author of straightondetour.com, a travel website with the mantra ‘find your own adventure.’ Promoting adventurous destinations, independent travel and giving a humorous insight to the World of travel is what Becky does best.