The Wild Atlantic Way. It stretches from Northern Ireland down the entire west coast. If you’re looking for dramatic vistas and movie quality scenery take a trip there, it is breathtaking.
We started out in Belfast, having breakfast in a local sandwich shop where I had one of the best sausage baps. (A bap is a type of roll in Ireland, it’s light and a little less dense than a kaiser roll.) Looking out the window of the shop you could see the murals promoting the propaganda of Loyalist or Unionist to Social or Cultural. They were powerful and moving and a little bit eerie.
After our breakfast we headed to the Titanic Museum. You need at least a solid 2 hours to view the museum. It is well put together and has some great interactive displays as well as a ride!
Our target for the first day was Giant’s Causeway. So around noon we hopped back into the car and started the long trip down the coast. It was well worth it. You pass right by Carrickfergus Castle. We didn’t stop and I really wish we had but we had places to be.
We arrived at Giant’s Causeway around 3pm. It’s cold and raining and I have to admit slightly disappointing. Giant’s Causeway was always somewhere that I wanted to visit. I imagined it stretching out into the ocean and you would walk out a ways before it would disappear under the waves. However it was in much closer to shore than I had anticipated probably due to erosion. It was also very slippery because of the recent rains. None the less I’m glad I did it. You still are amazed by the natural beauty of the area.
After we walked up the stairs to the top of the cliff the views were stunning. Looking down I realized that I could sit at that spot and stare out on Giant’s Causeway and the ocean for hours, just soaking in the beauty of the area, but there was more to see. I admit I was cold and very hungry since we missed lunch. I just wanted to find somewhere to eat and then our hotel.
My friend Mick was not having it. He knew I wanted to see the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. The temperature was dropping and the wind was picking up. I was trying my best not to be hangry but hey we’ve all been there. Luckily, Carrick-a-Rede was on the way to the town we were staying. We got there 5 minutes before closing, paid the . The Park Ranger let us in and we half walked, half ran to the bridge, when the wind would let us. The next Ranger warned us that the winds were getting too strong and if we wanted to cross we would have to do it fast.
Crossing that bridge was one of the scariest things I have ever done. It swayed like a park swing and felt like someone was jumping up and down behind me. I thought I was going to lose everything in my pockets. I made it across and waited on the other side while Mick traversed the bridge. I swear I thought he had been right behind me but he waited for me to cross before he did. The bridge was first created by salmon fishermen in 1755 and is suspended 100 feet above sea level. It is now under the care and supervision of the National Trust, as is Giant’s Causeway.
The water there was so incredibly blue, I wish I could’ve taken a picture from the middle of the bridge but the conditions were too treacherous and I was too nervous to try to take my camera out. As we made our way to the exit I felt like the winds were pushing me to depart. I would have spent more time there had the conditions been better and earlier in the day, but the sun was setting and it was time to get food.
We were staying in a town called Portrush. A quaint seaside village with great restaurants. We ended our day at the Harbour Bistro. The food was fantastic and the prices were inexpensive. For the two of us for two full meals and drinks we paid around £23 or $28 US.
My second day in Ireland was full of adventure and education. I really enjoyed the scenery and the people we met. I felt like I walked a thousand miles but it was worth it. Until next time.