My time in Ireland is quickly coming to an end. Deadlines are fast approaching, and I’ve been putting a lot of my energy into my assignments for once. So apologies to my loyal readers who have been waiting on a new post, here ya go….
My assignment’s haven’t stopped me from travelling! Last weekend I took a trip up to Belfast and saw a lot of Northern Ireland.
We arrived late Friday night, and after getting some food, decided we should probably head back early. It had been a long ride, and we had to get up early the next day. These plans quickly changed when we overheard some live music from a pub across the street. We made the detour inside and got to hear some awesome Irish songs and see some amazing Irish dancers. I could’ve swore one dancer’s ankles were broken by how fast he was moving his feet.
Like I said, we had to get up early that Saturday morning for a day of exploring. First stop: the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge! This little rope bridge was used by fishermen back in the day to catch salmon, but has now been turned into a tourist attraction.
Even though it was only 30 meters up, my knees were shaking and my hands were clutching at the flimsy ropes as I walked across the planks. If you know me, or read about my previous experiences with heights, you are well aware this was no easy feat for me.
I still was happy I crossed it, but was not as happy when I found out we had to cross it again to get back to the bus. The second time walking back was a bit rushed, since the wind starting blowing strong which made the bridge swing. Not a fun combo for yours truly.
Making it safely back to the safety of the bus, the next stop was lunch. It was yummy. Back to the important things.
We started driving up a hill, and suddenly we saw the signs welcoming us to the Giant’s Causeway. The wind whipping our faces yet again, we trekked our way over to the free entry. I breathed in the fresh air and could feel the salt of the ocean tickling my nose. We walked along the path and got closer to the water.
If you noticed in the pictures, the rocks are arranged in a hexagonal pattern. I’m no math or geology expert, but I was pretty confident the only way the rocks could arrange themselves in that pattern was if it was man-made. This was when I found out this pattern was due to a volcanic eruption almost 50 million years ago! I was amazed the rocks were still so strong after all these years of erosion and now tourism.
I couldn’t resist climbing up on the rocks while the waves crashed alongside them. The wind had seemed to die down while we were exploring this area, since we were so close to the base of the mountain looking over the sea.
After getting a few more shots of the sea climbing over the rocks, we trekked back over the mountain to wait for the bus. The sun had set quickly and we started to worry a bit. We still had one more place to visit on the agenda and had very little light left in the day. The wind was not our friend as we waited for our bus to pull up. When it finally did arrive, we hurried to our seats so we could leave for The Dark Hedges, where a well-known scene was filmed for the HBO show Game of Thrones. (Think Kingsroad).
Sadly, two stragglers made our bus leave late, which led to the Dark Hedges being, well, dark. We could just make out the outlines of the trees intertwining above us, which gave the walk a creepy atmosphere. People, like me, were trying to take pictures, but sadly the flash was not strong enough to capture the walkway. So I’ll just google a picture and put it here so you know what it looks like.
We got dropped off in the center of Belfast, right out side their little Christmas Market! All the vendors were placed in these little cabins with fairy lights outlining the roofs. It really put me in the holiday mood, especially since it was the first few days of December. There was a lot of people crowding the walkways, but that didn’t stop me from getting myself a really nice cheeseburger. I still think about it when I make myself poor-college-kid dinners back here in Maynooth.
We went back to the Irish pub we were at the first night to hear the band play some more Irish tunes. Something about hearing everyone in the pub sing along to “Galway Girl” made me smile as bright as the Christmas lights. We sang and danced and sang some more before heading back for a good nights sleep.
Ireland has truly been a magical place for me these past few months. I’m getting sad knowing this week will be my last, but I know I will be coming back. The people have been great and the places have taken my breath away, I don’t think I’ll be gone for long!
Alright, time to writing essays and cramming facts for finals week. I’ll need all the luck a girl can get, and to you sláinte!
*Title inspired by Liam Neeson, native of Northern Ireland.