Published: June 5th 2008June 3rd 2008
Legend has it that the the Irish Giant FinMacool was at war with his Scottish counterpart, Benandonner and constructed a massive bridge between the islands to fight him. However once Finn got to the other side he discovered that Benandonner was bigger and scarier than he’d anticipated so he fled home in terror and asked his wife hide him under a blanket. Perplexed, Benandonner crossed the causeway in search of his rival, and met instead “Finn’s Baby”, which was really a cowering Finn shrouded in cloth. Benandonner surmised that if this was the size of Finn’s “baby”, then Finn himself must be gigantic indeed. Terrified Benandonner fled back to Scotland ripping up the causeway as he went.
So it was up here in Northern Ireland along the azure rugged coast that we found ourselves for another glorious bank holiday weekend! Mum had finally joined us from England (after being bounced off one flight, and having another one cancelled, then being diverted to Derry!) to tour around the Northern reaches of Ireland.
We checked out the remains of the Downhill site and the Mussenden temple that sits perched on the hill, and followed the coast road along the Northern tip
of the Emerald isle. The Giant’s Causeway
was well worth scrambling over and the hexagonal basalt rock pieces all seem to fit snugly into place, and jut out at crazy angles from the earth along the coastal paths that stretch along the coast of Co. Antrim.
rope bridge links the mainland to a smaller island called (unoriginally) Sheep Island. The bridge is marketed as being scary as a sort of “can you handle it” dare devil type experience. In reality the terror factor is pretty disappointing; in fact we had to actually bounce up and down on the bridge to get the heart rate pumping.
I guess we’re just tough because we heard one American girl loudly exclaim after making the crossing: “Oh my God, that was like, SO SCARY!! It was only the adrenalin that got me across, I was like, SO terrified …”
Blah blah blah and on she went as if she’d been walking on an unsecured tightrope across a 600m deep chasm, instead of on a secured, fenced bridge just 23m above the sea.
I googled the bridge actually and found some funny videos, including this one here
makes it look worse than it is because of all the camera shaking). Makes me wish that I’d thought to video us jumping on it (which you’re not supposed to do!) We’d go down in history as dare devils extraordinaire! To be fair, we were there in glorious sunny weather and there wasn’t a breath of wind in the air … I can imagine it might be quite different if it was raining horizontally and blowing a gale!
Anyway … we headed on to Derry
, or LondonDerry depending on whether you’re from the North or the South. Since we live in Dublin, we’ve sided with the Republic and so will call it Derry. The dispute stems back to the original “planting of Ulster” when the English came to colonise northern Ireland, and thus attributed London to the title to demonstrate links to the colonial motherland. Of course the Irish were never too happy about that and mostly blatantly ignore the London part of the name. driving up from the South (the Republic) all road signs indicate Derry, but in the North they state LondonDerry, and amusingly the London part of the sign has usually been scratched out or defaced
by staunch nationalists. We walked the city walls of Derry (the youngest city walls in Europe, and most intact ones in Ireland), and then checked out the incredible Bogside murals. Co. Donegal
back in the Republic was really pretty, though not as much as we’d expected given all the hype about it, but we stayed at a random eclectic place with lots of soul - with half a boat perched atop a hill, organic gardens and an overflowing glasshouse, a lone lamb, and dorm rooms made out of a converted railcar.
All in all, a lovely weekend spent enjoying the sunshine, and Dave had fun hanging out with his soon to be mother-in-law!
There are more photos below