We’re nearing the end of the trip now but instead of taking it easy we decided to maximize our time and take a 13+ hour day trip to northern Ireland. We had to meet the bus a few blocks away from our hotel in Dublin at 7 a.m. Worth it!
Our first stop after crossing into northern Ireland was the city of Belfast. There were two options but we decided to do a black taxi historic tour of the city. What stuck with us the most is how divided the city still is after having a cease fire for almost 20 years. I say a cease fire, because several of the locals call it that instead of peace. With all the memories of violence, with all the tall “peace” walls separating the nationalist catholic communities and the loyalist protestant communities, it’s still an unfinished peace. But considering that during the peak of the Troubles there were an average of six bombs going off per day, it’s a vast improvement. The whole city is filled with memorial murals commemorating those lost on both sides of the conflict.
Then we went to Giant’s Causeway. Before we got there we had absolutely no idea what it was and after we got there we still didn’t know. Local myth says that Irish giant Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn MacCool) built the causeway because he didn’t want to get his feet wet traveling to Scotland, which is only a dozen or so miles away. We later found it was caused by an ancient volcanic eruption. All we really knew at the time was that it was so uniquely beautiful.
Our last stop was at Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. Mom decided to opt out of this walk and it was probably a good thing because Rick Steves would definitely have classified it as quite strenuous. By the time I got back to the coffee shop where Mom was waiting for me, the phone I carried said I had walked 23 flights of stairs in the last hour. The funny thing is my phone’s memory was full and I was carrying Mom’s to take photos, so she gets the credit!
The views were definitely worth the hike though:
Tomorrow is our last full day in Ireland so we’re planning on taking it pretty easy, starting with sleeping in.