Giant's Causeway Northern Ireland
Waves crash on the
Despite Belfast being
just a one-hour flight away from London, I had never visited
Northern Ireland before this trip.
My time in the country
began in the north east with an exploration of the breathtaking
Causeway Coast in County Antrim in the very north east of the
The coastline is home
to the magnificent Giant’s Causeway (pictured above and below), an
iconic formation of around 40,000 interlocking columns of
Legend has it
that the Causeway was created by the giant Finn McCool in order to
fight the Scottish giant Benandonner.
explanation, in no way less impressive in my view, is that the
geological marvel was created through volcanic activity when the
tectonic plates of the prehistoric Earth violently collided.
For those seeking more
information about the Causeway, a stunning visitor centre has just
opened there, offering a range of interactive displays.
Designed to work in
harmony with the natural beauty of the area, the structure’s sheer
black columns erupt majestically from the lush green fields which
surround them, a fantastic architectural achievement.
This philosophy is
reinforced by the function of the building, which has been
constructed with sustainability in mind.
Inside, the centre
offers interactive displays which enumerate and elucidate the
multifaceted dimensions to the story of the Causeway, from geology
None of this, however,
truly prepares you for the beauty of the Causeway itself, which has
captivated the minds of artists for centuries.
My next stop was the
picturesque village of Bushmills, three miles down the coast.
Home to the
world-famous whiskey of the same name, I took the opportunity to
discover more about the golden liquor in the land of its
The Old Bushmills whiskey
distillery sits on the river Bush
During a tour of the
distillery, our guide explained the intricacies of the production
of Irish whiskey, and its differences to Scotch whisky – which it
predates by around 100 years – and its American cousin,
We enjoyed some samples
of the merchandise, prompting me to pick up a bottle to take
The visit was rounded
off with an overnight stop at the Bushmills Inn, which boasts an
enviable combination of traditional charm and luxurious service,
and a restaurant serving some of the finest food for miles
The Bushmills Inn, County
No visit to Northern
Ireland would be complete without a visit to its capital city
Belfast, and this is where I would spend the rest of my
I had the privilege to
be guided through the city on a black taxi tour by an incredibly
passionate and knowledgeable driver called Gerard McGlade.
During our time
together, visiting some of the sites affected by ‘The Troubles’,
Gerard shared his insights on the area, and his outlook was typical
of all of the people I had the pleasure of meeting in Northern
Ireland – acknowledging the past, but looking to the future with
hope and a genuine belief in peace.
eye-opening were the world famous, or perhaps infamous, murals
which depict and often glorify scenes of violence from the city’s
In their place,
however, a new type of mural has begun to spring up, encouraged by
the city’s council, displaying images more reflective of the
Belfast of today – a modern, vibrant and wholly captivating
The Giant’s Causeway visitor
centre is open all year round, with a short closure for Christmas.
Admission is £8.50 for adults, or £4.25 for children. This includes
access to the new visitor centre, use of an outdoor audio guide and
an orientation leaflet.
To find out more, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/giantscauseway/
Tours of the Old Bushmills Distillery run throughout the year
and cost £7 for adults, with discounts available for seniors,
students and children. To find out more visit http://www.bushmills.com/
Prices at the Bushmills Inn start from around £128 per night for a
double room. To book or to find out more visit http://www.bushmillsinn.com/
To book a taxi tour of Belfast, from £28 per person for a full
day’s tour, visit http://www.belfastattractions.co.uk/
Tim’s stay was courtesy of the Northern Ireland Tourist
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