The day started in the Ballygally Castle hotel where we had our first official Irish breakfast of the tour. Poops, being his old boring self (note: Day Two started at midnight as it was Poops’s birthday) , chose the safe option and picked up some suspicious looking sausages and a few toasts for his breakfast. I felt adventurous and went for porridge with honey and local whiskey. What can I say? It was warm and oaty and I didn’t put enough whiskey in to taste it (which could be annoying but then I don’t like whiskey so it doesn’t matter. At the same time I hear you asking why I chose the whiskey option for breakfast. Why not is going to be my only answer. This is the same answer I gave Poops when he commented on it too!).
We drove off immediately after breakfast for our next adventure along the coastal route under a grey sky, the promise of future rain. Ireland is one of these places where rain doesn’t matter. It actually gives everything a mystical touch that makes even the road look from another world! Besides we had our raincoats on.
We had checked the map at the hotel and we had already noted down a few things we wanted to see during the day on our way to Rossnowlagh in the Republic of Ireland. We didn’t need to drive very far to come across our first tourist stop: Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. The rope bridge is a small bridge to a fisherman’s island, Carrickarede which you can see on the picture below. Naturally the bridge you cross is not the real bridge (it has been rebuilt many times over the past centuries) but for a small fee the National Trust lets you cross and get to the tiny island. The first thing we saw was the promenade along the cliff to the actually get to the bridge. There’s one kilometre to walk. All one needs to do is follow the group of tourists. The rope bridge is quite the attraction there!
Now in principle it says the bridge shouldn’t be carrying more than the weight of eight persons at the same time. Make sure you read the sign as that day the guides from the Trust were happy to push a dozen or more pedestrians on the bridge with big high-pitched screams to make sure people would be crossing faster. Apparently at the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge you pay £5.90 for the right to be yelled at while you may be at risk of exposing your brain cells on the rocks, 20 metres below. We told them to read the sign and fuck off. Apart from that, the experience was splendid and the view stunning. See for yourself 🙂
We spent a little over 1hr30 by the Carrick-a-Rede bridge. You will need to take in account some form of organised queueing before the bridge on the way in and out, and a rather disorganised queue by the toilets, which is sadly to be expected in touristic areas. We then jumped back into the car just as the rain was starting again. It didn’t take us very long to find the Giant’s Causeway.
The apparent paved way is the result of a volcanic eruption from 60 million of years ago. It’s left the landscape with 40,000 interlocking basalt prisms scattered at the bottom of the cliff.
What’s not to love? For once in a lifetime you can live the adventurous life of an ant and pretend to be crossing through a plate of biscuits. Everyone, young and old, was bouncing from a stone to another with great, childish giggles, including Poops and myself.
We would have spent ages there. It was just magnificent! I fell in love with the legends, and more particularly the one of Humphrey the camel. Humphrey is said to have carried back Finn McCool, the Irish giant who built the Giant’s causeway. If you look carefully in the picture below you will see midway through the cliff the shape of Humphrey’s bump and the shape of his head. He’s lying down asleep. He’s been sleeping for so long that even the grass has started to grow on his back.
After our day of marvels we crossed the border just below Londonderry and drove through to the west coast where our hotel in Rossnowlagh was.
We stayed at the Sandhouse hotel, a paradise by the ocean for 2 nights. If you are considering touring Ireland like we did, the Sandhouse hotel is definitely the place to stop by. The staff will make you feel at home, the food is deliciously comforting and you will wake up by the sound of the waves, feeling fully refreshed and ready for your next adventure.