Northern Ireland: County Antrim – Sunny Skies and a Remarkable Sunset

Girl standing on basalt pillars at Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland

A special thanks to the nice Frenchman who snapped this on my camera for me!

When I left for Ireland in mid-April this year, people back here mocked me for taking sunscreen.  To those people I say “Ha!”

The two sunburns I can lay claim to this year were achieved in Ireland and Scotland.  The first was horseback riding as I left my sunscreen in my pack back at the stables (to be fair, we started out with misty/overcast weather), and the second came about after getting lost in conversation with two couples outside a pub in Inverie, Knoydart Peninsula, Scotland.  There is little joy in having the tops of your ears slightly blister – wear your sunblock people!

I arrived in Bushmills, County Antrim, Northern Ireland (or Ireland…) on Saturday, 19 April.  Yup, I decided to travel to a country which doesn’t just celebrate Easter as a familial holiday, but as a bank holiday with a number of shops and restaurants being closed.  I didn’t have a pub night in Doolin on Friday (the night before I headed north for Bushmills) as they were all closed for Good Friday.  Lesson learned.

Luckily, my pub/hotel, Finn MacCool’s, was open and ready to receive!  If you ever find yourself in Bushmills, I highly recommend booking a night with them.  They were very friendly and quite informative, which came in handy the following morning after scarfing down a massive breakfast when I needed direction to the trail for Giant’s Causeway.

Finn MacCool's Public House and Guest Inn - Bushmills, Northern ireland

Walking the coast on a sunny, nearly cloudless day was beyond words.  People were happy to stop and chat with the lone female backpacker trying to snap “selfies” – case and point, the nice Frenchman who took the photo at the top of this post.  I have to say though, the best run-in with a local I had was with Irishman-with-a-Scots-Name (or just Irishman).  He had taken a moment to stop and chat with me while I was at Port na Spaniagh (you REALLY need to read about this if you have any love of archaeology what-so-ever).  We ran back into one another just as I was heading back to Bushmills: I realized then that Irishman and I were going to be friends.

We walked back to the Inn by the Visitor’s Centre to have a drink and wound up talking poetry (don’t ask how).  While I don’t necessarily recommend getting in cars with strangers, I’ll never regret trusting my gut with this one!  Thanks to Irishman I not only got to walk the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge, but stopped in at the smallest church in Ireland, had a great dinner in Ballintoy, and watched the most spectacular sunset in Ballintoy Harbour.  A girl couldn’t have gotten luckier.

I’ll spare you the hundreds of adjectives I could use to describe the beauty of the northern coast of Ireland, and simply leave you to the photos:

Sunset in Bushmills

Sunset in Bushmills

Bush River or water way - Bushmills, Northern Ireland

Pasture along Bush River - Bushmills, Northern Ireland

Walking Path to Giant's Causeway from Bushmills, Northern Ireland

Little Stream - Pasture Land - Bushmills, Northern Ireland

North Atlantic Ocean view from Walking Trail to Giant's Causeway - Northern Ireland

North Atlantic Ocean from Bushmills

Causeway Coast - Looking over the ocean

Arrived at the Coast heading toward Grand Causeway - Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland

Looking toward Grand Causeway - Giant's Causeway, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

Grand Causeway - Giant's Causeway, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

Grand Causeway - Giant's Causeway, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

Grand Causeway - Giant's Causeway, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

Grand Causeway, Basalt Pillars, Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland

Basalt Pillars at Grand Causeway, Giant's Causeway County Antrim Northern Ireland

Looking back toward the Volcanic hills and cliffs of Giant's Causeway, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

Tops of the basalt pillars of Giant's Causeway

Looking out at the headlandsand the Chimney Stacks - Giant's Causeway, Causeway Coast, Northern Ireland

 

Shepherd's steps at Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland

167 steps

Gorse growing along the upper path of Causeway Coast, Northern Ireland

Causeway Coast Cove - Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland

Looking back toward Giant's Causeway - Causeway Coast Northern Ireland

Port na Spaniagh - Causeway Coast, Northern Ireland

Causeway Coast - Headlands to the East of Port na Spaniagh

Causeway Coast - Heading back toward the Causeway

View of the Headlands from the upper trail of Giant's Causeway - Causeway Coast, Northern Ireland

 

Sunset at Ballintoy Harbour – thank you, Irishman!:

Little Launch house at Ballintoy Harbour, Northern Ireland

Sun setting - sunset - View from Ballintoy Harbour, Northern Ireland - Ballintoy

Sun set at Ballintoy Harbour, Northern Ireland

Sunset at Ballintoy Harbour, Northern Ireland

Sunset at Ballintoy Harbour, Northern Ireland

sunset at ballintoy harbour, northern ireland

Sunset - sun sinking - Ballintoy Harbour, Northern irelandI hope you enjoyed the photos enough to share with your friends and family.  Feedback is always welcomed!

Next week: Dunluce Castle, Hezlett House, Armagh, and Belfast!

 

 

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