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Thursday, February 2, 2012

United Kingdom, Scenic Coastal Northern Ireland

 

 

IMG_5987I wake up to a mellow orange morning sky and the soothing sounds of crashing waves along Ireland's Northern coastline.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_5999A fresh cup of almost too hot tea along with a couple of scones from a local cafe, Morelli's and I am ready to begin my drive back towards Belfast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_6002Beautiful Northern Ireland Golf Course

 

 

Although a stiff wind is blowing, I am impressed and at the same time jealous of a few golfers that are up early and playing at a beautiful course along the coast. The wind adds to the chill in the air but for now also makes the skies clear and the crashing waves spectacular.

 

 

IMG_6005This route once had many castles and forts and the remains of a few can still seen as if just perilously hanging on the edge of the coastal cliffs.

 

 

 

The wind and weather has been brutal to them over the years but even in their decayed state it is easy to imagine their once glorious days.

 

 

 

IMG_6012Old Bushmills Distillery

 

 

Old Bushmills, the world's oldest licensed whiskey distillery is also along this route and offers guided tours for an admission charge.

However, unfortunate for my taste buds but fortunate for my liver they are closed on New Year's Day. Even using my best charm I am not able to squeeze even a drop of it from the ground staff that is on duty.

Oh laddies, what a shame!

 

 

IMG_6018Ireland's top tourist attraction, The Giant's Causeway is my next stop. Here, you can see the unusual six sided basalt columns that make this a UNESCO World Heritage site.

 

 

 

Unfortunately, an off shore winter storm makes my visit here short. The howling wind now makes the moist air bitter cold along with the falling snow and sleet.

 

 

IMG_6023Continuing south the weather improves as I enjoy more stunning scenery along The Causeway Coastal Route.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_6003Northern Ireland Coastal Landscape

 

 

Green rolling hills sprinkled with snow along with grazing farm lands contrast nicely with the jagged coastline and wide white surf waves crashing against it.

 

 

IMG_6029At Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge, I walk across a 72 feet deep chasm that has me feeling like I am doing a tight rope act.

The views below are nerve racking as the rope bridge gently sways back and forth.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_6059Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge

 

 

Looking out to sea, the Scottish coast can be seen in the distance. Leaving the bridge and taking a scenic detour back gives even more sensational views of the area.

 

 

IMG_6060This afternoon, I am also fortunate that a passing storm has left behind a beautiful rainbow and a pot of gold just off shore for me to enjoy.

 

 

 

 

Driving The Causeway Coastal Route requires more time than I have given it as I must now make my way back to Belfast to catch a bus to Dublin. Although, I am told even the summers are still rather cool here, this is a trip that I am sure is even more amazing during that time of the year.

 

 

IMG_6069

 

 

I leave The Causeway Coastal Route at Carrickfergus where at a harbor the boats are so small and cute, I am looking for the controls to maneuver them around like I did when I was a kid.

 

IMG_6072Wait, I am still a kid. At least at heart, anyway.

Mom, mom, can I please have a quarter?

 

 

 

 

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