From Belfast we headed right up to the top of Ireland, to stay with our friends Samantha and Nicole and their daughter Lucia. Sam and Nicole run an ice cream shop called Morelli’s to Go in Portstewart, a beautiful seaside town which is very close to the famous Giant’s Causeway. We had an amazing time with them exploring this stunning location. On our first day exploring we went to the beautiful Dunluce Castle and then on to see some more of the coast. We also got to sample some ice cream even though the store is closed for the winter!
Dunluce castle is a ruined castle that had the most beautiful location looking out over the coast. It is reached by a little bridge which meant if need be it could be easily defended – although we noticed that the guests stayed outside the defended place – nice!
We then headed down to see the tiny St Gobban’s church, which sadly was closed…but we did get some more stunning views. Also, Reuben learned that if you are walking on top of a wall and encounter black ice, you are extremely lucky not to fall in the ocean (especially if your companions have already gone in another direction!)
On our next day of exploring, we went to the famous Giant’s Causeway. Wikipedia (which knows all) says that:
“Legend tells of an Irish warrior Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn MacCool), who built a causeway to Scotland. One version of the legend tells that Fionn was challenged by a Scottish giant, Benandonner. Now Benandonner was much much larger than Fionn, so he tried to think of a way out. His wife, Oonagh, came up with an ingenious idea. When Benandonner crossed the bridge looking for him, Oonagh disguised Fionn as a baby and tucked him in a cradle. When Benandonner came, Oonagh told him that Fionn was out woodcutting, but he should be back soon. She showed him ‘Fionn’s son’. When Benandonner saw the size of the baby, he had no desire to see the father! Benandonner fled home in terror, ripping up the Causeway behind him, so the ‘enormous Finn MacCool’, would not follow him.”
There’s also a geological explanation, but I prefer this one!
After visiting the causeway, we climbed up past the Giant’s pipe organ to the hill at the top – a steep climb that gave us stunning views (and left us just a wee bit puffed!)
We went to see a swing bridge but it was closing, so we headed for a well deserved lunch of fish and chips…this was so, so yummy after months without having any! We may or may not have eaten a greedy amount…
We also stopped by a gorgeous little bay where they filmed some of Game of Thrones. Sadly they weren’t filming when we were there but we thought it was stunning anyway.
To finish our day we went on a Northern Ireland pub crawl which took us from a hot Bushmills whisky, to a traditional little pub in Portrush, to having a drink at Kiwi’s bar (run by a Kiwi from Waipukurau – nice). Sam and Nicole were amazing hosts and totally spoiled us, even giving us a night alone in their house complete with mulled wine and incredible snacks – thanks so much guys!