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The Causeway Coast – Northern Ireland

August 25, 2006

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Here’s another segment of our trip report. Other parts are posted below.

I have to say, the Causeway Coast is beautiful…not quite as rugged and
dramatic as Inishowen, but with so many great views and sites so close to
each other, it is ideal for site seeing. We managed to squeeze in all the
sites below in one day and still found time to do a lot of hiking. In fact, this day
was one of our most physically active days because each site requires some
level of walking (especially Carrick-a-Rede and Downhill).

Downhill Estate and Mussenden Temple: What a great ruined house on an
amazing location. It’s hard to believe it was lived in until the mid 1900s.
We also walked the glen, which I think most tourists skip; it was really a
beautiful walk.

Dunluce Castle: I don’t think they could have built a castle more on a cliff
than this one. Wow. It really is a must-see. We arrived to overcast skies,
but after wandering around and heading to the caves below the rain started
pouring down and the cave became a waterfall. We were drenched when we got
back to the car, but it was worth it.

Bushmill’s Distillery: It was great to finally visit a distillery/brewery
tour in Ireland that still makes their product. We were there on a Sunday
over a bank holiday, so it was one of the few times they weren’t in
operation, but it was still a great tour. Liam managed to get selected as
one of the volunteer whiskey tasters. They’re gearing up for their 400 year
anniversary, so there was a little construction going on at the distillery,
but it didn’t impact the experience.

Liam at Bushmills

Giant’s Causeway: Yep, it’s great…even if it’s packed with tourists. We
started with the upper trail, which had a lot fewer people and some great
views…however, the rock formations look really small from up there. Not
being a fan of heights, I stayed on the land side of the trail. We then took
the stairs from the upper trail to the main trail. Once down there, the
formations took front and center. For those who are able, definitely walk
the trail beyond the main causeway; you will be treated to an entire ridge
that would otherwise be missed and the view back is one of the best views of
the causeway. Unfortunately, a rock fall a few years back has closed the
rest of trail, so you can’t continue beyond that.

Corey at the Giant's Causeway

Carrick-a-Rede: Yes, I mustered the courage to cross. After the long walk
in, I couldn’t go home without crossing the bridge…and boy were the views
a treat (made even better by the measures we had to take to get there). We
were taken aback by an Irish father who had his 4-year-old son cross by
himself while dad took photos…the kid was running and jumping on the
bridge. Everyone was watching in horror until the park worker ordered him to
mind the child. I have to admit, the crossing isn’t too bad…until you step
out into the wind, then it feels like your going to get blown right over the
Carrick Island

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