Saturday, June 13, 2009

Excellent Tour

Our day began with another full Irish breakfast, but I am getting rather tired of scrambled eggs. However, it does fill us up for the morning and we only need a light lunch. We had booked a coach tour to the Giant's Causeway, so I will let the photos tell you the story of our day. Hope you enjoy these (especially Barb)!

Carrickfergus Castle, our first stop. One of the finest examples of a Norman castle built in the 1100's.

William of Orange statue outside the Carrickfergus Castle.

Taken from the bus window - note the checkerboard farm land - lots of green.

Carnlough, Ireland, one of our pit stops right along the coast.

Another photo of Carnlough, a beautiful coastal village.  

One of the many glens (Glen Dunn) we viewed as we traveled up the Antrim Coast. At several points from the coast, we could see the Mull of Kintyre (Scotland) to the northeast.  

Loughareama (the vanishing lake). This lake fills up after heavy rain and then within an hour vanishes. There is an interesting legend that goes along with this picture. There was a man who lived in the area whose wife had passed away and he remarried her sister. Apparently the new wife disliked the children and placed a curse on them and they turned into swans. To this day on the 1st day of October there are hundreds of swans that return to this lake and then leave, almost as if they are paying their respects to these children. I don't tell this as well as the tour guide with the Irish lilt and the blarney.

Sheep Island where supposedly sheep are pastured in the summer, but we are skeptical about this - not too sure how they would get there!

Carrick-a-rede, which is a rope bridge about 100 ft. above the sea to get to an island. You can see it to the left of the photo if you use your imagination. 
Carrick-a-rede again. You may be able to see the rope bridge a little better here. We actually didn't go down to the bridge - it cost 4 pounds and we were getting hungry, so we just stopped along the walk and had a snack.

This was a beautiful white sand beach along the way. There was thunder in the distance but it only started to rain as we were boarding the bus to return to Belfast. 

Bushmills - home of an ancient distillery first licensed in 1608.  A bottle could be had for a mere 70 pounds. We kept our money in our pockets.

Beside the distillery were some cattle which were black on each end and white around the middle.  The are known as 'Guinness' cattle but I don't think that is the official breed name.

Dunluce Castle 

An alpine plant (Sedum) growing on the cliffs.

Giant's Causeway from the top of the cliff.

Sitting on the Giant's Causeway.

The place was crawling with tourists, supposedly as many per year as Buckingham Palace. One source listed the top three natural attractions worldwide as Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon, and Giant's Causeway.  I am certain there should be many more places between two and three.

A top view of some stones.

We climbed up the hard but more scenic way...
... involving about 160 stairs.

The Giant's cow was spotted below (although it looked more like a dinosaur).

A final, pastoral image taken with our backs to the cliff.

We agreed that this was a fine tour experiencing some of Northern Irelands finest scenery.
We have a more literary tour booked for tomorrow.  Details later. Goodnight.