Northern Ireland. A country known for its castles, Celtic and Christian monuments, and ‘Troubles’ of the 20th-century. It isn’t a place I thought I’d ever find myself, but whilst here I managed to see a little bit of it.
Imagine giants building a causeway and then crossing the Atlantic from Northern Ireland to Scotland. Myth? Legend? Ancient history? Who knows.
The Giant’s Causeway is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns: the result of an ancient volcanic eruption. Located in County Antrim in the northern coastal region, it took us around three hours to drive there from our last stop: Sligo in Ireland. As a UNESCO World Heritage site, this place was teeming with tourists from all over the world. I heard Spanish, French, American English, Chinese, Cantonese and God knows what else.
Caves of Cushendun
If you’re a Game of Thrones fan (which I’m not), you’ll appreciate this even more. There’s a plaque outside the caves detailing the part of the story that’s set in this place. Pop culture aside, the Cushendun Caves were formed over 400 million of years of extreme weather conditions.
This was our final stop in Northern Ireland before heading back South. Carrickfergus Castle has held on for over 800 years despite being besieged by the Scots, Irish, English and French. The castle played an important military role until 1928 when Carrickfergus’ ownership was transferred from the British Army to the new Government of Northern Ireland for preservation as an ancient monument. Carrickfergus Castle remains one of the best preserved medieval structures in Ireland. Admission fee is 5 pounds.
If you’re driving, you’re in for a treat. The scenic coastal route on the way there makes the journey an incredibly picturesque one.
Northern Ireland was one of those places I was glad I’ve had the chance to visit. It’s home to a lot of modern history and ancient myths and legends. But I can’t honestly say I warmed to it. A lot of its history and heart seems either hidden or suppressed. I can understand why. I was only there for a couple of days so I can’t say too much more than what I’ve said.
I’d say ’till next time’, but I’m not sure when I’ll be back in this neck of the woods. Only time will tell the changes that Brexit will bring. But till then – I’m heading back south.