Walk on a rope bridge spanning the crashing sea to a historic fishing village? Touch trees that are over 200 years old? Climb on ‘stairs’ that Nature perfectly crafted and paints with the crashing waves?
While in Dublin, we simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit our ancestral lands in Northern Ireland. We toured with Finn McCool’s, journeying north to the Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, and The Dark Hedges. I honestly don’t know what impact Brexit has upon border crossing, but we had no issues moving freely because of Schengen; Brexit (and COVID-19) may have changed this. I should also say that we did NOT engage in any genealogy searches while there: our goal was to experience the area our ancestors lived in and farmed. Meeting distant relatives and the delights of discovering old family records is for another trip.
Our first stop was Carrick-a-Rede. This island, once a reliable source of fish, has suffered from declines due to pollution and more sea fishing, and it is no longer viable for fishing. Fishermen first constructed the bridge in 1755 to provide an alternative to boat transport. I was a wee bit anxious about the rope bridge – something about being 100 feet (30m) above the rocks on a bridge almost 250 years old was alarming for me. The weather was not cooperative, it was pouring rain, and just after I talked myself into crossing the bridge, I realized there was only one way back. The view is plenty worth the many steps, though, and a bit of anxiety 😊.
Giant’s Causeway – our next stop — is scientifically the result of volcanic eruptions with hexagonally shaped and interlocking basalt columns rising as tall as 39 feet/12m and as round as 92 feet/28m. The legend behind it is less scientific, but more entertaining. Finn McCool, after challenging the Scottish giant Benandonner to a duel, built the causeway for the two to meet in competition. After seeing exactly how large Benandonner was, Finn disguised himself as a baby with the help of his wife. The trick fooled Benandonner, and he fled, thinking the father Finn must be very much larger than the baby. In reality, the columns soar, forming cliffs above the salty sea. The sea, in return, paints the columns with different colors, and the contrasts are simply stunning.
All in all, this was a full day. And by full day, I mean this was a 12-13 tour round trip from Dublin. And yet, again, there is so much we didn’t get to see and experience (and research), that I am eager to go back!
Been to Northern Ireland? Have a great memory and experience? Please share it with us!
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