Ballycastle, Belfast, Bushmills, Camel, Campbeltown, Coleraine, Europe, ferry, Giant's Causeway, Granny, Great Britain, Kintyre, Northern Ireland, rock formations, rocks, Scotland, tourism, UNESCO, United Kingdom
In the morning, we checked out of our hotel and slowly made our way down with our bags to the docks. We stopped at a bakery on the way to buy tea and toasties. We ate them beside the docks where we could watch seagulls and jellyfish until our tiny ferry had arrived. We wheeled our bags down the dock and onto the boat. There were only a couple other passengers. Shortly, the boat was pulling out from Scotland and we were on our way across the sea towards Northern Ireland.
On the way to our destination, Dan and I watched the shoreline disappear then turned to several episodes of British TV and Bewitched that I had saved on my laptop. The episodes were just the right length and soon we were coming in to Ballycastle, Northern Ireland. When we arrived, we quickly unloaded and found the tourist information to get a map and bus itinerary. Deciding on which bus to take, we realized we had a good hour or so to walk around the tiny town. This was done in minutes, so we settled on the only hotel in town to sit outside with our bags for a quick meal and drink until the bus came across the street.
This bus, 172A, delivered us straight to Giant’s Causeway, a natural rock formation on the northern coast of Northern Ireland and the only UNESCO site in the country. The bus was nearly as expensive as a cab and we regretted having all of our luggage when we arrived on the country road stop. We pulled our things up to the top of the hill to a hotel where the staff let us leave our bags under a staircase at our own risk. We then took off to the museum to pay our entry fees and walk along the coast with audio recordings to the best part of the rocks: the onions and the chimney formations. These onion formations are just strange bulbous bits of rock jutting out of the cliffs. The chimneys are the famous pillars that line the coast in the most bizarre shapes. There were also formations such as Granny and the Camel, silly outlines of rocks with even sillier interpretations. We spent two hours here before retrieving our bags and calling a cab.
Originally, I had thought seeing Bushmills Distillery would be fun. However, we were short on time if we wanted to get to Belfast at a reasonable hour and the distillery was actually closed. A cab turned out cheaper than the bus, I believe, and we were privileged that our driver paused long enough to let us photograph the distillery before continuing on to Coleraine. At Coleraine, we bought train tickets for Belfast. The two hours on the train were passed by watching more episodes. At Belfast, we checked in to our luxurious hotel (the cheapest we could find!) and headed out for some drinks on the town (at McHugh’s). We ended up grabbing some late night pizza with kebab meat before wandering back to the hotel for the night.
Dan in the bakery.
Docks at Campbeltown.
Me on the rocks at Giant’s Causeway.
The rocks were so unusual.
Some scenery at Giant’s Causeway.