Wednesday, October 24 -
Welcome to our first bus tour day! We booked 2. One on today; The Giant's Causeway, and tomorrow is The Cliffs of Moher! I can't wait... but we had to wake up at 5 am. We both didn't sleep all that great. One thing I've noticed is they really like pumping up the furnace and the heat. It was very warm and I woke up a few times just drenched in sweat under the heavy feather duvet.
So anyways, we figured we could stop at the Starbuck's near the bus pick up point when we get there... but... unfortunately my sense of direction is crap. I completely navigated us in the wrong direction. But we did get there and were surprised by the amount of people waiting around the Molly Malone Statue. We figured we wouldn't have enough time to get a coffee so we hopped on the bus without caffeine... not a good idea... well kind of. We were exhausted. Once we got on the bus, the tour guide gave a short description of the day and told us the first stop would be a pit stop in about 2 hours or so. He set off onto getting us to our destination and turned off the lights and microphone to let us all rest. So we fell asleep. The chairs were actually quite comfortable.
Our first stop was the Dark Hedges (Bregagh Road). Here is the exact wording off the bus tour website for this location;
"10.00 AM: Walk the Dark hedges a beech tree lined road of 150 trees planted in the 18th century . The Dark Hedges is seen as the King’s Road in the “Game of Thrones” and is one of the most iconic destinations for GOT fans."
The Game of Thrones site location crew traveled around Ireland and found this spot and it had to be used. Now it is a huge tourist spot, much to the dismay of the local residents. We parked in the parking lot of the Hotel built for cast and crew, so it was a little fast walk through a fairy garden and past some beautiful trees. I had no idea of what bigger trees we were walking to. It was insanely beautiful, even with the light rain. The one down side for these day bus tours is that the stops are short and sweet. There really wasn't any time to stay and explore. It would of been awesome to walk the length of the road. Here are some pictures of the first stop at Bregagh Road.
Our second stop was the Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge;
"11.00 AM: The Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge was originally erected by salmon fishermen and has been in use for 350 years. It is now a tourist attraction operated by the National trust. Take a 20 minute scenic walk before crossing the bridge suspended 30 meters above a ravine. Enjoy spectacular views from Carrick-a-Rede island before recrossing the bridge and continuing to the Giants causeway."
The walk here to the bridge was breathtaking! It was windy, chilly and the perfect way to perk up after a long bus ride. The colours of the water were mesmerizing and the air off the Irish Sea was so fresh! It was a gorgeous walk up, down and around the edges of the cliffs towards the bridge, in anticipation. They only let a few people cross at a time and then you do the walk back almost immediately. I was fine leading up to it, but... did I mention it was a windy day? It was a steep staircase down to the crossing. The moment I stepped on the bridge it started to swing, my knees got a little weak and my heart started racing a bit. I was happy to reach the solid land again.... only to have to turn around and do it again. After the amazing walk back to the bus, we got swept away to lunch. We had built up such an appetite! We went to the Giant's Barn which was a cafeteria style restaurant and it was very yummy. The gravy and Yorkshire pudding was delicious. We shared the strawberry meringue, and sat beside the bus tour guide. We were so hungry that I inhaled my food very quickly. We were so anxious to get to the Giant's Causeway!
We followed along the coastline west to the Giant's Causeway.
"12:30 PM: GIANT’S CAUSEWAY - On the journey there are spectacular views over Whiteparks Bay and Portbradden. We will have lunch before tackling the legendary Causeway. Stroll up to the very peak of the cliffs so that you get a panoramic view of the causeway, then descend down to the point referred to as the “Organ”. Alternatively, a mobility bus operates which can take you directly to the causeway for a small fee. This extraordinary natural attraction never fails to impress. Explore this fantastic natural attraction formed 50 million years ago."
We opted to pay a little extra for a tour guide who would walk us down to the Causeway and describe not only the geology and the history of all the sites, but also touch on some of the Lore for the Giant's Causeway and the giant by the name of Finn McCool . CLICK HERE to go to a link to the Wikipedia page, and on it, it describes the formations and also the myth.
After the guided tour, we had only 30 minutes to explore, and it is a 20 minute walk back up to the visitor's center. We decided to hop onto the shuttle bus instead, so it would give us a few more minutes down on the causeway. It was so neat. It was like a huge natural staircase. It was fun to climb and make our way closer towards the water. They did have a person working to stop people from getting too close to the water, which was smart. It was windy, cold and the waves splashed up onto us. Again, it was super brisk and a great wake-me-up for the day.
Once we shuttled back up to the main tour bus, we got transported to the last stop of the day; Dunluce Castle Ruins. "3:15 PM: DUNLUCE CASTLE - Once we finish immersing ourselves in the legends of the Giant’s Causeway, we head to the impressive Dunluce Castle. This a 15th century castle which was once home to the MacDonnell clan. It has been featured in Game of Thrones and is said to be the inspiration for CS Lewis’ fictional castle, Cair Paravel in the famous “Chronicles of Narnia”. Explore this famous castle at your leisure."
The light rain could not stop us from more exploring. These ruins would of been an amazing manor in it's day before it fell in ruin. CLICK HERE to read about this cool spot in Wikipedia. It was fun to walk up the stone staircase to a ruined tower. The scenes out to the Irish Sea were intense. We stayed here and walked around for about 40 minutes.
We were done visiting all the locations on the tour for today. We got comfortable in our bus seats and slept on the way back. Once we got dropped off back in Dublin we stopped at another O'Donoghue's for fish and chips, and of course, a Guinness. We then meandered back to the hotel and went straight to bed for it would be another early morning with our second bus tour. If it was anything as great as today's tour, then we would be in for a treat. I've wanted to see the Cliffs of Moher ever since my Aunt Anne told me about visiting there when she went. It might be another tear jerker of a day.
- 31 weeks Smoke-free!
- 4 days until my hike with Team Diabetes at Wicklow Mountain !!!!!!
- We got to stand on the Giant's Causeway.
Thanks for checking in!
I will be posting 5 more blog posts.
Colleen lives in Arnprior and is working to control her Type 2 Diabetes by training and Fundraising for the 2018 SSE Airtricity Wicklow Mountain Hike in Ireland with Team Diabetes.