Northern Ireland

We arrived in Belfast with only two full days left in our trip, so we were soaking in every bit that we could. We stayed in a hostel again for the first time since we left Ireland 7 weeks ago.

Before we left home, we had booked tickets with Odyssey for a bus tour of Northern Ireland. We set out to see The Dark Hedges, Bushmills Whiskey Distillery, Dunlace Castle, Giants Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, Antrim Coast Road, and Carnlough harbor.

Thomas and I both watch (and love) Game of Thrones, so it was cool to see several locations used in the show. The Dark Hedges is one of those places.

Historically, it was just a driveway to an old manor, but since being featured as the entrance to King’s Landing on Game of Thrones, it has become quite a tourist location.

We had a tough time taking decent pictures without being swarmed with people, but it was a nice walk through the trees and countryside.

Our next stop was Bushmills Whiskey Distillery, which is the oldest working distillery! We were able to walk through the property, check out the gift shop, and do a quick whiskey tasting.

We tried Bushmills Black, Bushmills 10 years old, and the 12 year old distillery reserve. We also saw the river that Bushmills uses to make their whiskey. I took a picture through the bus window, so ignore the reflection.

Next up was one of the prettiest ruins I have seen – Dunlace Castle. The castle was abandoned after part of it broke off and fell into the ocean, killing the workers that were in it. As tragic as that story is, it made for quite a unique scene!

I am convinced that Ireland is one of the most naturally beautiful countries after seeing so many parts of it – and Giants Causeway was no exception.

It was about a mile trek from the parking lot where the bus dropped us off, but the walk was just as pretty as the actual site! It was along the coast, with lots of rocks, coral, and cliffs. Of course, Thomas was hopping all along the edge of the water, taking pictures of the walk to Giants Causeway from a different angle.

When we arrived at Giants Causeway, it was just as awe-inspiring as we had heard. The rocks were shooting out of the ground at various heights, like natural stairs from the ground. It was so fun to walk around them and on top of them, seeing the landscape from a new perspective with every step. It was truly amazing. Pictures couldn’t do it justice, but here are a few:

We were able to walk around for an hour and a half before we had to be back on the bus for our next stop, which was also a Game of Thrones location.

Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge was built by fishermen so that they could catch salmon from a different island so they could avoid paying taxes on the fish they caught if they had stayed on the mainland. Obviously, the bridge has been re-done, but it was definitely a visit worth taking – if you aren’t scared of heights or wiggling bridges!

The journey to the bride was a little over a mile long, but it was probably the prettiest walk I have ever taken in my life. The water was so blue, the air was so clear, and the views were beautiful.

When we got to the rope bridge, I was so excited to see what was on the other side. Luckily, heights don’t bother Thomas or me, so we were able to look up and take in the world as we walked across to the neighboring island.

The island on the other side of the bridge was incredible. We could see beaches, caves, birds, and it was so breezy. I could have stayed there for hours!

The drive back to Belfast has been named the Most Scenic Drive in Europe, and it really was beautiful! I couldn’t take decent pictures from inside the bus, but it was a lot of coastal scenery and nice houses.

Our final stop was for ice cream at a harbor used in Game of Thrones. (This one had a sign about the episode filmed there.)

The next morning, Thomas took his very last final at USF, so it’s pretty cool to say that he officially earned his Bachelor’s degree at French Village Bakery in Belfast! He said he was sad about graduating, which was funny since all he’s been wanting to do is be done with his schoolwork!

Later, we took a train back to Dublin and celebrated by eating dinner at Market Bar and going out for drinks and dancing at The Temple Bar.

I am so sad that this adventure has ended, but Thomas says he is excited to be going home. I know this will not be the last time we visit these places, which makes it easier to leave. However, I am looking forward to seeing my pets, my family, and planning a wedding in less than 6 weeks 🙂

We will take a break from this blog until our next adventure. We are thinking Machu Picchu or Australia/New Zealand next. You’ll have to stay tuned!

As always – thanks for following.

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