Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Causeway Coastal Route, Northern Ireland, Part 2


As I continued on a bus tour of the Causeway Coastal Route in Northern Ireland (part one can be read here) we left the Glens and entered the North Antrim Coast area. (All photos will enlarge if double clicked on)


The bus stopped at the Old Bushmills Distillery in the town of Bushmill.  Here we took a short tour and sampled some of the very smooth Irish whiskey. The word "whiskey" comes from the Gaelic language words "uisce beatha," which means "water of life." The Old Bushmills plant is the oldest distillery in the world! It's "Grant to Distill" was officially given in 1608, but it is suspected that whiskey was made here for at least 200 years before that!  The Old Bushmills brand is a blend from a single malt and a single grain.  I had visited the distillery once before with my husband --you can see that visit on this link.  I did not partake in the sampling of any whiskey this time as I wanted to keep my senses for what was ahead.


We stopped again for a view of the mystical looking ruins of Dunluce Castle. The castle stands on a 100 ft high basalt cliff with a sea cave running underneath it.


Dunluce Castle has a rich and varied history, connected with such names as Richard de Burgh, Sorley Boy MacDonnell, and Sir John Perrott, running up to its last occupant, Randall MacDonnell, who was the second Earl of Antrim.

Legend has it that in the early 1600's the castle's kitchen broke off and plunged down into the sea.  The kitchen staff plummeted to their death upon that fateful day and thereafter the castle's countess refused to live there any longer and  moved to a residence inland.  After the mid 1700s the deserted castle fell into ruins.


Dunluce Castle was fought over many times in it's past and it is wrapped in myths and legends, one of which is that mermaids lived in caves at its base. On a clear day you can look over the expanse of ocean and see County Donegal. The castle was given to the Northern Ireland government by the Earl of Antrim in 1928, to be preserved as a National Monument.


Now we entered the Causeway Coastline where the sea was rough and misty the day we visited. 


We walked along the shore until we reached The Giant's Causeway, which is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption.


The Giant's Causeway was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986, and a National Nature Reserve in 1987 by the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland.



In my opinion it is one of the most remarkable places I've ever seen and I was thrilled to see it again!
As with many places of interest in Ireland, there is a legend behind the Giant's Causeway.  Here it is according to the Causeway Coast and Glens website:

"The legend tells us that the Irish Giant Finn McCool had a rival - a Scottish giant named Benandonner. Finn McCool decided to build a causeway to Scotland so that he could challenge his adversary in battle. When the work was completed, the causeway stretched from North Antrim to Staffa.



Bennandonner accepted the invitation to walk over to Ireland and fight for supremacy. As Benandonner appeared over the horizon, Finn McCool realised in horror that he had taken on a rival much bigger than himself. He ran home to his wife, Oonagh. What to do?


The quick thinking Oonagh disguised Finn as a baby and made him curl up in an enormous cradle. Benandonner - faced with the sight of this huge ‘child’ took fright at the thought of the size of his father and fled back to Scotland tearing up the causeway in his wake."


The Giant's Causeway is owned and managed by the National Trust and it is the most popular tourist attraction in Northern Ireland.


I sat on the top of this little hill, on a comfortable stone seat, and filmed this:



I hope you enjoyed seeing and hearing the crashing sea of the Giant's Causeway in my video!


As if this day of touring the Causeway Coastal Route was not magical enough, look at how it ended -- I saw a rainbow in the sky!  I can only hope it means I will return again one day to tour again one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Linking up with Mary's "Mosaic Monday" event on her blog the Little Red House. Thanks, Mary!
Also linking tio Susan's Outdoor Wednesdat event on her blog A Southern Daydreamer.  Thanks, Susan!

Bookmark and Share

53 comments:

podso said...

As well as being so interesting, there is such richness to the colors in these photos! Have a good week!

sueskitchen said...

What a beautiful place! I now understand why it is called the emerald isle. I have been learning so much about Ireland thanks to your recent posts...thank you so much Pat!
♥, Susan

Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

Beautiful photos Pat! The Giant Causeway was one of our stops last summer on our tour!

A Garden of Threads said...

Beautiful pictures, brings back memories of my trip last June. Thanks for sharing them and take us on the tour with you. Northern Ireland is a majestic place to visit.

Lovella ♥ said...

Oh what incredible legends of the castle and the causeway. Those are just the most amazing pictures. I need to go there. .I really do.

Sheila said...

Pat, i've often seen pictures of the Giant's Causeway but have never seen so many taken from different viewpoints. It must be a fascinating place to see! I enjoyed seeing the picture of your grandsons on your sidebar - such cute little fellas!

Porch Days said...

If my kitchen fell into the sea I think I would move too. But it would be hard to leave that view! The giants causeway is incredible. Thanks for giving me a chance to hear the ocean there. Nancy

ellen b. said...

Pat, I love being taken away to Ireland through your photos. What a fabulous experience!

Lorrie said...

The Giant's Causeway is amazing. And Dunluce Castle looks so romantic and moody perched on that cliff. If my kitchen fell off into the ocean I think I'd move, too.

Cat & Cricket said...

Pat this is one amazing post! Your pictures are stunning!
I always wanted to visit... never had though...
Guess I know where my next stop may be!
Smiles~
Cricket

Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

Just stunning! I have really enjoyed your trip to Ireland!

Now, did you find a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!

Naturegirl said...

Amazing images and so interesting to read about your trip to Ireland and those mystical ruins.. they look like sandcastles! I'm married to an Irishman..we both enjoyed your images!Thank you for sharing!

Mary said...

Omigosh Pat, just gorgeous!

eileeninmd said...

Wow, the scenery is just beautiful. The castle and the causeway would be on my list of places to see too. Thansk for sharing your awesome photos.

GrandmaK said...

OH Pat!! these pictures are just breathtaking! Just makes my day! Thank you! Cathy

Gardening in a Sandbox said...

I love Ireland. I have not seen that part of Ireland and I hope to see it soon. Great photos Pat. V

yvettesblogs.com said...

Wonderful photo's and that last one of the rainbow is truly magical!

Gracie said...

Isn't it sunning???

Snap said...

Oh, goodness, Pat. So much here. I'm in awe. I've heard about the Giants Causeway ... amazing! Bushmills sounds like a good stop and the castle ... Oh, my! A place of dreams for sure. (I'll carry your bags next time you go!) Happy Monday!

(Queenmothermamaw) Peggy said...

Hi Pat what a wonderful post for today. It is so nice to have a visual tour and description through you, to places I will never get to visit now. I love the legends and stories of that mystical looking land of my ancestors. Blessings
QMM

Dianne said...

the rainbow is amazing!!
my niece spend some time in Ireland and said it was impossible to describe the shades of green

Vee said...

Magical indeed! And with Mary's playlist "Dawn" playing along with the crash of the surf, your video was spectacular. Always wonderful photos and great stories here. Thanks, Pat!

Lily Hydrangea said...

I want to go here! beautiful photos Pat!
When I looked back via your link to your first trip to the distillery I noticed how much your photography has improved in such a short time.
also, I LOVE your footage of the causeway.
Thanks for sharing this.
: )

Linda said...

Incredible!! From your pictures...I now know why it is called the Emerald Isle...the green is just amazing!! Thanks so much for sharing!!

Barbara F. said...

The Giant Causeway is an interesting place. I enjoyed the video, thanks for letting us "travel" along with you on these great journeys. The sound of the crashing waves was awesome. xo,

merrilymarylee said...

The Giant's Causeway is FASCINATING! All the pictures are lovely.

No access inside the castle?

lines n shades said...

wow these are breathtaking :)

Tracy said...

It is just MAGNIFICENT--what a place, what history! I long to see it for real myself... Just thrilling to all the moments from your trip, Pat--such a treat to see! Hope you had a lovely Mother's Day weekend :o) (((HUGS))

Claudia said...

I loved watching and listening to the crashing sea - how mighty the Causeway is! The legend is a gem.

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

love it....so beautiful...and a rainbow too :-)

my kitty is named whiskey sour so i loved reading about the translation

happy to visit here with you today Pat...always nice to visit a friend

sending love,
kary

Farmchick said...

So beautiful! I would love to go to Ireland one day, but until then I really have enjoyed your words/pictures.

no spring chicken said...

Truthfully, there was too much beauty in your blog for me to wrap my head around! Oh how I would love to see all of this first hand. Thank you for sharing.

Blessings, Debbie

Pondside said...

How fabulous! Now that's a trip I'd love to make - places I've read about all my life.

Mary said...

Pat, what a spectacular sight! The castle perched up on the cliff takes my breath away...I'd fear I'd drop off into the sea too, but it must have been a grand to behold in its day. The causeway is amazing, I would love to see it someday!

Cathy said...

Your photographs are wonderful, Pat. I felt I was right along with you on your trip. I've never been to Ireland and you have moved it up many spaces on my "must visit" list. What a spectacular coastline!

Riet said...

What a beautiful and interesting country Ireland is Pat. It is on the top of my wishlist to visit. I am so glad I can read a lot about ir here on your blog.Thank you for sharing.
THis Saturday we are going on holidays to Spain for three weeks so I am a bit busy this week and late visiting. I will try blogging from there .
Have a good week.

Riet said...

What a beautiful and interesting country Ireland is Pat. It is on the top of my wishlist to visit. I am so glad I can read a lot about ir here on your blog.Thank you for sharing.
THis Saturday we are going on holidays to Spain for three weeks so I am a bit busy this week and late visiting. I will try blogging from there .
Have a good week.

Ebie said...

What can I say, Pat, every photo is beautiful. The stepping stones, the beach, ah, that's the reason, the called it Emerald Isle.

The rainbow topped it all!

A happy globe trotter you are!

Sarah said...

Wow...what a blessing for you! Thanks for sharing your fun tour!

Sarah

Yvette said...

So beautiful, Pat. I love to enlarge the photos - it's almost like being there in the flesh. Ha!

P.S. Google Blogger is acting up and won't let me post anything new, so my blog is stationary for now. You can post comments and I can reply, I just can't add anything new for now. :(

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Pat, I have no idea why, but your blog has stopped updating on my sidebar. It says the last time you posted was 5 weeks ago. Do you think that is on my end or your end? Had to track you down to see for myself what was up! Your trip continues to amaze! blessings ~ tanna

Jo said...

oh Pat, gorgeous photos as always ... what an amazing place!

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

These photos are fabulous. It is as pretty as I thought it would be. I don't fly, but if I did...this would certainly be on my "must see" list. Thanks for taking me there through your pictures.

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

BREATHTAKING!
Ireland is ON my bucket list!

Vintagesouthernlife said...

Thanks for taking me along on the tour. The pictures were great and the legends so interesting! I would love to go.

Beverly said...

Oh my, Pat. The beauty leaves me speechless.

Thank you so much for sharing.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I want to go back to Ireland. I never got to the Giant's causeway and I can see why it's one of the most popular tourist attractions. That castle looks like it holds lots of stories within its walls.

Kathleen said...

finally! Everything looks so beautiful, Pat!
we had a very sad week. hope all is well there.

Trotter said...

Hi Pat! Lovely post!! The castle and the Giant's causeway are fabulous... Great shots!!

After the Blogger calamity this week, Blogtrotter Two is showing the last post on Amsterdam 2010... Enjoy and have a superb weekend!!

steviewren said...

I remember reading your first post about the Causeway. It's such a fetching and fey place...so typical of the magic of Ireland. You are lucky to have gone twice...my fingers are crossed for a third time for you as well. After all, God did place the first rainbow in the sky as a promise...you might be right...your Irish rainbow may have been His promise to you.

Annesphamily said...

Beautiful photos! I would love to wander thru a castle! The weather looks like it matches the surroundings. Great post Pat! Thank you! Annw

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Not sure how I missed this post last week. Amazing scenery...and interesting tales of the historic castle and the causeway. It does look like one of the most beautiful spots on planet earth!

RNSANE said...

I would never have been able to pass up a taste of Bushmill's. I do like my Irish whiskey, especially in an Irish coffee!

Beautiful scenery and I enjoyed sitting an hearing the ocean!

splendid rainbow. I have several pictures of rainbows...never have found the pot of gold, though! Can't figure why not!