Tuesday, May 27, 2008
May 27th - Northern Ireland
Our bed and breakfast at Island Magee is fabulous. The owners (the Tweeds) are so nice and the cottage is in the middle of a pasture with sheep and cattle next door.
We had an Irish breakfast of sausage and potato bread.
We drove up the northern coast stopping along the way for photo ops. Like the gray shores of Larne.
We stopped in this little town of BallyPatrick. Nearly all the towns here start with 'Bally'. (which I later learned is derived from Gaelic for 'town'). We stopped at a true Irish pub for lunch; O'Conners.
Strangely enough they were playing Justin Timberlake music while we were in there. (I've heard more Justin on this trip than back home)
Carrick-a-rede (Rock in the road) is a place on the coast where fishermen would cross this tiny little rope bridge across a gorge to get to the better fishing off the island on the other side. Our big adventure for the day was going over that same bridge.
It's about 2km off the road and the views where gorgeous. Even though it was drizzling you didn't really feel wet or cold because of the hike. From here you could see Scotland just across the bay (Sunny and warm and mocking us). Also there was this cliff which Jesse dubbed "Profile
Rock" because it looks like a man's face.
Along the hike you had to travel down these precarious stone 'steps' - loosely called so because they were vaguely in the shape of steps, but mostly just rocks in the side of the hill.
To get to the bridge itself you had to climb down this 70 degree metal staircase which was so steep it was practically a ladder. Remember - it's also raining. Beverly took one look at the steps and bowed out. (Of course, none of us knew her ribs were broken at this time - so now I don't blame her)
The bridge was made entirely of rope and although I'm sure it was sturdy and safe, it swayed alot. It didn't help that Jesse was making it bob and bounce on purpose as I tried to cross. I'm not good with heights anyway and all I could think of was that bridge out of Indiana Jones the whole time I crossed. It wasn't as long and only 80ft above a lagoon, but still.
On the other side of the bridge was this island cliff. It was basically a plateau of land smaller than your average back yard just sticking out of the water with sheer 80ft cliffs on all sides. And no guard rails - might I add. Jesse loved getting right up to the edge and looking over. He made me get as close as I could and take my picture.
The bad part was to get back to the mainland you had to go back over that little bridge and up the tiny metal ladder/stair. After being so exposed to heights my legs were very wobbly and I had to sit for a minute. Did I mention I don't like heights?
Next we went to this place called the Giant's Causeway, which is the only place in the world where this certain kind of rock formation takes place. It looks like giant nuts and bolts had been tossed into the ground and were now sticking straight up out of the ground. Jesse, ever the dare devil, decided to climb the structure.
On the way home and off the beaten path we found this road covered in trees. We dubbed them the spooky trees because they looked like something right out of Sleepy Hollow.
By this time it was very late and we were hungry. We drove around for an hour but couldn't find a place open to eat.
Against major protests from me we stopped at a McDonald's to enjoy the 'Great Tastes of America'.