Shamrocks and Leprechauns

Portrush, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Monday, August 14, 2006

For the first time in three and a half months we had to wake up with an alarm clock. We had breakfast, packed the car, said our farewells to George and Sheila and were on the road by 8am. We drove for an hour down to Troon and caught the ferry across to Northern Ireland. We arrived at Larne, north of Belfast, at around midday and immediately set off around the coast. We hugged the coastline which, as expected, was stunningly beautiful. There were many old run down stone buildings, castles and churches in ruins. We took a small detour to Torr Head but the wind off the Irish Sea and the constant drizzle kept us tucked up in the nice warm car.

Our next stop was the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. It had originally been built by salmon fisherman so that they could fish the channel between the island and the mainland. It has since been fortified and overrun by tourists who believe it is some great achievement to walk the bridge and pay two pounds for the privilege. As we had been in the car all day, the BOSS and I decided that we needed some exercise, so we duly paid our two pounds and walked the kilometre along the top of the cliff to the bridge. We "bravely" tackled the treacherous crossing; took advantage of the photo opportunity and immediately crossed back over and trudged the kilometre back to the start - thus satisfying our exercise quotient for the day. We immediately reversed any benefit of our two kilometre hike by indulging in the most delicious, rich, moorish chocolate brownie mousse from the tea shop, accompanied by a hot mug of tea.

We drove on to the Giant's Causeway which is a rather impressive rock formation. It was already 6pm when we caught the minibus down to the causeway and we only had about twenty minutes to explore before the last bus of the day went back to the top. Twenty minutes was more than sufficient as the wind and drizzle were bitingly cold. We climbed around on the causeway then returned once again to the warmth of the car*.

Portrush was a few kilometers down the road and provided a decent B&B and an exceptional grilled salmon for dinner.

* The car has made us into lazy, spoilt, complacent, travelers. We have trashed the interior with crap; we have collected far too many souvenirs; and we eat snack constantly throughout the day - because we can. And it doesn't help that I have become allergic to the car - every time I get in her, I sneeze constantly until forced to take an antihistamine. Sneezing has become unbearably painful for me as the only lingering injury from our accident is a bruised tailbone which under normal circumstances doesn't hurt, but when I sneeze it sends shooting pain down my spine and reminds me all over again how much I miss the bike. Everywhere we go there are half a dozen touring motorcycles going passed or parked - twisting the knife further.

01 The coast road from Belfast
The coast road from Belfast
02 An Irish tunnel
An Irish tunnel
03 Cool scenery
Cool scenery
04 Old castle at Tor Head
Old castle at Tor Head
05 Cool coastline
Cool coastline
06 Across the way
Across the way
07 More coastline
More coastline
08 The rope bridge
The rope bridge
09 The BOSS on the bridge
The BOSS on the bridge
10 Me on the rope bridge
Me on the rope bridge
11 A little bit windswept
A little bit windswept
12 Interesting parking
Interesting parking
13 Sea cave
Sea cave
14 More cool coastline
More cool coastline
15 Giant's causeway
Giant's causeway
16 The BOSS on the causeway
The BOSS on the causeway
17 Cool rocks
Cool rocks
18 Dunluce castle
Dunluce castle
Previous Entry Next Entry