Causeway Coastal Route
11.07.2017 - 11.07.2017 15 °C
We were lucky enough to have Mark as a guide, travelling from Belfast across the fabulous Causeway Coastal route and the Glens of Antrim. We met charming Irish folk and loved every soggy moment. Today was the day for typical weather in Ireland but that didn't matter at all.
Our first stop was tea, scone, cream and jam at the Londonderry Arms, whose owners treated us like special guests. Carnlough is home to this old coaching house which is now a hotel. One lively chap, Raymond, made us laugh and told us stories of lucky horse shoes and Churchill's family who once owned the the Londonderry Arms. We were told that the sale of it provided the funds for Churchill to become Prime Minister.
A riverside walk in the Queen of the Glens, Glenariff led us to breathtaking waterfalls. The rain was falling from the sky making the waterfall full of power. It's brownish colour comes from the peat that is washed from the mountains (hills) above. As we stop on the bridge by the falls, the mist from the water floated around us. Mark said it was as spectacular as he'd ever seen it and so we were grateful for the rain.
We travelled through the misty country side to view the Vanishing Lakes. One day the lake appears after the rain and the next it vanished as the moisture is absorbed below. There is more to the story but Mark told us so much I just can't remember.
We had a good laugh at Portaneevey viewing point. We hoped to get a glimpse of Carrick a Rede rope bridge. The view is absolutely spectacular on a clear day but all we saw was fog and a sea of white nothingness. The best view ever if you have a sense of humour.
A delicious lunch awaited us in Ballycastle (Bally simply means town of), a lovely seaside town, at McHenry's Central Bar. Dave and I agreed that the artichoke soup with bacon may have been the best soup we've ever eaten with delicious wheaten bread.
Dave chose beef and I had my favourite new fish, Hake. Sticky pudding to go because we had no room left.
We arrived at the Giant's Causeway about 4 pm which was a perfect time. The coach tours that come for the day from Belfast are on their way back. Mark gave us some history, some geology and a bit of storytelling that made the experience come to life. We had a chance to explore the hexagonal basalt columns that make up the Causeway. It was exciting to see for ourselves what we had read so much about.
We continued on to the 18th century mansion and Mussenden Temple. Mark's story about the bishop was one of our favourites of the day. He told us that the Bishop kept tabs on his guests at night by sprinkling flour outside the bedrooms and in the hallway. In the morning, he knew by the footprints who had visited whom in the night. There was something very peaceful about the place and imagining what it might have been like many years ago. Matt and Lindsay could get married there and have photos taken in the library overlooking the sea. How breathtaking that would be!
It was full-filled day full of the best the coast has to offer. We were able to get off the beaten trail to see places few visitors take time to see. Yes, the Giant's Causeway was a very special place to see but combined with all our other stops, we had a perfect day. Rain and all!
Mark's words to us in an email, "I wish you a safe journey that brings you home and I hope some day we will meet again."
Go raibh maith Agat , Slán go fóil.