Ireland the North 2 Day 11. Ballintoy

Published: August 10th 2022
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Ireland the North. Day12 Ballintoy

What a wonderful spell of weather we are having. Blue skies and little wind.
The coastline north from Portstewart is a Mecca for holiday makers with many attractions for children and golf courses for others. This Antrim coast around Coleraine and Bushmills is also home to the North West 200 motorcycle race held each May on public roads. It is a really amazing place with rocky outcrops, rolling waves crashing onto the headland and a mixture of basalt and white limestone rocks. The waves have eroded some outcrops and formed some tunnels through which the sea is dashing through. Dunluce Castle, whilst in ruins,is quite large and quite photogenic, whilst some others further north like Dunseverick, are in a more dilapidated state. Giants Causeway is quite spectacular, consisting of mostly hexagonal rocks of basalt and sandstone in columns and random patches. These actually continue up the coast in various degrees for several miles. The rocks were formed 50-60 million years ago when larva erupted from the earth’s core and cooled rapidly from 1000 degrees Celsius to crack and make the shapes we see today. One interesting rock formation is that in the hillside which looks like a set of organ pipes.
Further along the coast is Ballintoy Harbour, which is a little gem. Many small islands, no more than rocky outcrops proliferate along the harbour front, which is a safe area for canoe training courses and water sports. There is also a small ’Secret’ beach and this harbour is where Game of Thrones was filmed.
Ballintoy has a history during the 1800’s of producing burnt lime in the two lime kilns which are still intact. There was also a nearby quarry near Carrick a Rede which produced stone sets for road making which were sent to Dublin and Liverpool. Men were employed to cut the local stone into the required sizes, most of which are still under the tarmac roads today. A cable system was used to carry the stone from the quarry to a small island just offshore for transfer to the cargo ships.
The Carrick a Rede rope bridge was used in the 1800’s by fisherman who placed nets across the narrow gap to the island to catch the shoals of salmon as they were passing through. The numbers of salmon dwindled in the early part of the last century and it was then banned. The bridge has been replaced several times and is now just a tourist attraction run by the National Trust.

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