Wednesday, August 17, 2005

A Trip to the Countryside

On Friday, I took a bus trip to the Giant’s Causeway, a pretty neat rock formation.

We passed through a lot of nice countryside.

On the way, though, we visited the village of Carnlough for a ‘comfort stop.’ Besides a convenience store with toilets, this is what I saw there:

Next, we headed towards the Carrick-a-red Rope Bridge, located near Sheep Island…
…where the locals used to put their sheep so they wouldn’t get stolen.

Carrick-a-red means ‘the rock in the road’ and for over 350 years, local fishermen strung a rope bridge 30 metres above the sea to give them access to the best salmon fishing spots.

(There are a lot of pictures here for a simple rope bridge, but it’s a rather nice rope bridge.)

Before you get to the bridge, you have a 1 km walk.

The rope bridge truly was made of rope. We successfully crossed it, though, despite a shark swimming below (really).

Then we ended up on a small island, Carrick Island.

There was a great deal of beautiful scenery.

I also saw some birds…

…and a slug.

For lunch, we stopped at what must have been the only restaurant between Belfast and the rest of Northern Ireland.

I say this because, despite being a tiny village, each and every coach tour stopped there. (It was really odd to keep running into the same people at each stop.) But, they did run a rather nice system. On the way out of Belfast, we placed our orders and they were ready upon our arrival.

But after all this, we still weren’t ready to visit the Giant’s Causeway. First, we stopped at the Bushmills Whiskey Distillery (‘In 1608 we were granted the world’s first license to distil whiskey!’) to go to the gift shop (really).

We also stopped for a ‘photo shoot’ at what was left of Dunluce Castle.

Before we left Belfast, our tour guide kindly made sure we all had enough ‘phillumms.’ Once I realized what he meant, I realized I needed no phillumms…I have a digital camera instead.

Finally, though, we were rewarded with a stop at the Giant’s Causeway.

Scientists say that these large, six-sided rocks were formed when the molten basalt cooled just right. The Irish, however, know that the stones were put there by the giant Finn MacCool (or Fionn Mac Cumhaill) who placed them there so someone (either his girlfriend or a rival giant, depending on the story) could get to Ireland from Scotland. And, since there are corresponding stones on Staffa, off the coast of Scotland, this could well be the true story.

The place is just amazing!


Post a Comment

<< Home