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Published: June 22nd 2017
Geo: 55.2025, -6.52583
We got off the ship in Larne, Northern Ireland (still part of theUK) just a bit after noon, and headed for the Giant's Causeway. We passed through the towns of Glenarm (missed taking a picture of their police building. It looked like a prison with a steel wire security fence as tall as the building and steel doors. Due to IRA bombings and attacks in earlier years, these small local police stations became fortresses) , Carnlough, Waterfoot (pretty seaside village), Cushendall (passed the curfew tower which was used to announce curfew times 300 years ago and also passed a bride and father having their picture taken in front of a church that we were in front of during a traffic stop. We waved through the windows while her photographer quickly snapped our picture), Balleypatrick (known for its vanishing lake; an area of land that fills up with water and then the water diappears; it was gone when we drove past), Ball castle (missed taking the photo of the castle ruin), Bushmills (had a great photo op outside of the village of the Irish Sea with Scotland off in the distance. Nearby there was a rope bridge that stretches
between the mainland and a small break-away island that people were crossing. ), Ballentoy, and then Whitepark (beautiful sandy beach and bay). We finally pulled into the Giant's Causeway visitor's center about 2:15 for a 2 ½ hour visit. Many of us grumbled about it being so long of a stay, but after seeing where the actual geological formation was located and how much there was to see and do, the timing was perfect. Giant's Causeway is the result of ancient volcanic activity 60 million years ago. Most of the column are hexagonal. They form a kind of stepping stones that are various lengths in height. Its like a giant jungle gym for everyone to crawl or walk upon. However, the stones are 1.2km from the visitor's center, and it is all down hill. It would take about 10-15 minutes just to walk to the main area of the stones. Since I really wanted to spend as much time visiting the site, I took the bus that the center offers for just £ 1.00 each way. I am glad that I did, because when I got to the actual site, I ended up climbing over the largest pile of stones.
It was fun and breathtaking at the same time. I felt like a kid again climbing stairs that are just a little to big for you. I was able to get some really good photos. Getting out to the point was easy, finding a way back on the other side of the hill took some thinking. One part of the hill had really tall steps that you could not step off from, so I had to sometimes backtrack to find a better path back to the road. I finally made it to the road hot and tired, but loved every minute of it. The weather was clear and warm. So I was able to take off my jacket and enjoy the sunshine while waiting for the bus to go back up to the top. After grabbing a quick lunch (they had a sandwich made with Irish ham, loved it!) and doing some postcard shopping, it was just about time to leave. We headed for our final stop of Londonderry. We passed a town called Bushmill which was all decorated for the July 12 celebration of the defeat of the Catholics in 1690! Talk about long term celebrating. With its religious
wars even up to modern days one could tell which towns were pro-English or pro-Ireland by the coloring of the town's meeting places.
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