Sunday, June 27, 2010

Europe Day 4: Antrim Coast, Northern Ireland

On this day we took a bus tour of the Antrim Coast, which was absolutely breathtaking! The bus conveniently left from right in front of our hostel. The tour guide narrated everything and told us about the history of what we would be seeing. Did you know that Belfast is where the Titanic was built? He explained that "The Irish take responsibility for nothing. It was fine when it left!" haha

We had several stops on this trip, the first being this castle just outside of Belfast. We stopped for just a few minutes to take some pictures. See the fake guy up there pretending to guard it?

We drove through the Irish countryside. Everything was so green!

These were taken from the bus window

The main attraction of the tour was Giants Causeway. Since Rose had gone there a few weeks before, I'm going to steal her explanation of this area from her blog:

According to science...
Giants Causeway is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption.
 According to legend...
The famous legend concerns two rival giants, Benandonner, who lived in Scotland, and Finn MacCool in Ireland. MacCool was a relatively small giant at 52 feet (about 16 meters), and the two giants would shout across the sea to each other demanding a trial of strength.
Finn MacCool decided to build a rocky path across the sea between the two countries to enable the contest to begin, but exhausted by the work, he fell asleep on the causeway and was found by his giant wife Oonagh. Suddenly she saw Benandonner approaching, who was truly a huge giant. Knowing that Finn would be no match for the huge giant, she placed a coat on top of the sleeping Finn.
Benandonner demanded to know where Finn was. Oonagh replied by pointing at the sleeping Finn and saying, "Be quiet or you will wake my child." Seeing this, Benandonner had second thoughts. If that was the size of their child, how big would Finn be? He ran back to Scotland, smashing the causeway in his trail.
After eating an Irish lunch that made feel a little sick (They put a ton of butter on sandwiches), we hiked down to the area and it was really cool! On the hike...

And here are the columns.

It's a really cool and unique place.

I had to take a picture with a phone booth while in the UK! This one was near Giants Causeway. A lot of the old ones had been replaced with modern ones in Belfast so it was hard to find.

After we were done looking at Giants Causeway, we still had a long time before the bus left so we went down a cute little walking path.

We also stopped at the Old Bushmills whiskey distillery. It smelled really good there, like freshly baked bread!

I was excited that we got to stop and see Dunluce Castle. Unfortunately it's not safe to enter because it's in ruins. It was built in the 1200s and was later struck by lightning, causing several rooms to fall onto the steep cliffs and into the sea. Several servants were killed. The Spanish also attempted to take it over at one point but crashed their ship on the rocks below.

I took pictures of the old abandoned farmhouses (Well that's what I called them and imagined what they were) from the bus. I would have loved to stop and explore!

The final stop of the day was the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. I'm not sure if this is true or I was just really tired... but the hike to get there seemed really long! But it had some of the most beautiful natural scenes I've ever seen.

When we finally got to the bridge, I realized it's not as scary as it sounds or looks. You have to pay a few Euro to cross and get to the island on the other side.

Okay, so I was a little scared! The worst part is that it moves when the wind blows.

The bus took us back to Belfast, then we took another bus back to Dublin. Such a long day! We got back to the hostel at 11 p.m., took showers and tried to sleep for just a few hours until we had to get up at 4 a.m. to get to the airport.

At about 3 a.m., a group of extremely drunk Irish lads came in and had a hilarious, loud, long conversation. We couldn't even be mad because they were sooo funny!

Up next - Venice, Italy!


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