Giant's Causeway

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

It was yet another early morning for yet another day trip on a bus.  Today we were headed for the Giant's Causeway!  The Giant's Causeway is located at almost the most northern tip of Ireland.  This required us to cross over the border into Northern Ireland and drive through the city of Belfast.  There was almost no visible change in crossing the border but our amazing tour guide pointed out where there was, until a few years ago, guards posted monitoring the border.  My Irish history class in college gave me a great background on the conflict that has been taking place there but our tour guide gave us a more personal account.

One of the parts of this tour I enjoyed the most was the amount of MacDonald's there are in Irish history in this part of the country.  There was at least three occasions where our tour guide would point out a castle or field and give some background on the MacDonald clan that once lived there.  As far as I know none of my ancestors came from the Northern part of the island but my obsession with studying my family history was only egged on by all of the stories.

Our first stop was at the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.  This was a bridge built by salmon fisherman who found that if they dropped their gear between the mainland and a small island the fish would essentially jump into their nets.  I wasn't that nervous walking across the bridge but it was only after that I realized my heart was beating much faster than normal and that my legs were surprisingly shaky.

On the bridge!

Beautiful but freezing water
From there we headed to the Giant's Causeway.  There is a legend of an Irish Giant who built the causeway but it was actually formed by a volcano millions of years ago.  It is unique because it is made up of over 40,000 hexagonal shaped rocks, jutting up from the ground and leading down into the ocean.  It was an amazing site to see whether giant or volcano made.
All fit together perfectly

Sea of rocks

On our way back to Dublin we made a quick stop in Belfast.  I would have loved to do a lot more but we ended up just getting some coffee. There really wasn't enough time to see or do anything but it does make me want to get back there soon.

We arrived back in Dublin to see that the city had been transformed in the hours we were gone.  Everything was suddenly green and decked out for Saint Patrick's Day.   We headed to Oliver St. John Gogarty's for some dinner and trad music and I was surprised to see the waitresses dressed up like leprechauns.  I guess it shouldn't have really surprised me, knowing the holiday that was quickly arriving, but I still could help feeling a little out of place with the amount of tourists that began flooding the city over the next week. 

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