Wild ireland: giants causeway, midges and whiskey

The rain pelted down as Thursday morning meant heading back on the road. Everyone was a little sad to be leaving Bundoran, but so much more was ahead and this time we were heading east as we followed the Northern coast in the next leg of our adventure. Glenbeigh was the first stop, and is comprised of several lakes, a picturesque keep and extensive garden trails. It’s a gorgeous place to visit, but we spent more time in the cafe because they have the worst infestation of midges I have ever seen. It was warned by one of the girls as we drove there, and true to form the little “blighters” never ceased whilst skin was exposed. Next time bring insect repellant, and remember that when you’re having a staycation in Ireland you are actually in Ireland and all pests will be present.

As we crossed the border everything changed, the sun picked up and union jack flags were everywhere in preparation for the twelfth of July. We made it to Bushmills without delay, not just the home of some fine whiskey but also the seat of the Giants Causeway. The visitors’ centre is a real showcase of tourist planning, and although access to the World Heritage Site is free, they convince you to buy a ticket to access their cafe, gift shop and bathroom that you have no direct need for. As the tour covered all of this, I graciously went off in search of their ultra sleek bathrooms.

Being a tad lazy, we all opted for the shuttle bus down to the shore, a quick three-minute spin brings you right onto the hexagonal stacks of basalt to leave you feeling unimpressed by their stature. That is until you actually start climbing up the slanted rows of varying shades of rock. The view is absolutely breathtaking, every time you turn around there’s another part you want to climb, whilst attempting to stay clear of the Japanese tourists and camera flashes. It was absolutely roasting and the fresh sea air was a welcome relief, a great spot to people watch for a few minutes, particularly when some women braved the rocks in four-inch wedges.

We then set off for Belfast, our hostel was right in the middle of the city, so after we checked in we headed out in search of food. We found an Italian place and loaded up on pizza, meatballs and cheesecake reminiscing over the last few days and enjoying our last night. We found a pub just down the street and stopped in for a few to mark the day, all looking forward to visiting the Titanic the following day.