Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Magical Causeway Coast and the Glens, Northern Ireland



The Causeway Coastal Route in Northern Ireland is rated one of the top five road trips worldwide and it is easy to see why. The road hugs narrow strips of coastline between the sea and high cliffs, between green valleys and gentle hamlets.  I had been lucky enough to take a similar tour of the Causeway Coast a few years ago -- my first post from that adventure is here, and I was so excited to be able to take another day's tour on this recent visit I made to Northern Ireland.  (All photos will enlarge if double clicked on )


The first stop was Carrickfergus Castle in the town of CarrickfergusIt represents over 800 years of military might. Besieged in turn by the Scots, Irish, English and French, the Castle saw action right up to World War II.


Built by John de Courcy in 1177 as his headquarters. Today it is maintained by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency as a state care historic monument.


Most of the photos in the collage above were taken from my tour bus window (so please excuse the quality), and as you can see the drive around the coast and through the Glens of County Antrim is a magically beautiful view of one of the prettiest areas in Ireland. The Nine Glens of Antrim are: Glenarm, Glencloy, Glenariff, Glenballyeamon, Glenaan, Glencorp, Glendun, Glenshesk, and Glentaisie.

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Carnlough Harbour was our next stop. Carnlough is located at the foot of Glencoy.  You can see limestone cliffs in the background. Limestone was exported from there until 1945 when the Glencloy quarries closed down,


Looking out from the harbor at the North Channel.


Another view of the bright blue North Channel Sea and the hamlets snuggled into the Glens of Antrim.  The yellow bush is Gorse or Whin, and it is abundant this time of the year.


The town of Cushendun has a sheltered harbor and lies at the mouth of the River Dun and Glendun. The Mull of Kintyre in Scotland is only about 15 miles away across the North Channel and can be seen easily on clear days


In 2002 Cushendun erected this statue in memory of "Johann" -- the last goat to be culled here after the 2001 Hoof and Mouth Disease disaster that struck England and Northern Ireland.  Ironically a live goat was sunning itself beside the memorial, much to the amusement of all on my tour bus!


On the mountain road above Ballycastle you may see the mysterious Loughareema, or the Vanishing Lake. The lake appears and reappears in a random manner. According to the Geograph website the "Loughareema sits on chalk and has a leaky bed. But the 'plughole' is bunged with peat and so the water can only percolate slowly down into the passage below. After heavy rain the streams draining off the adjacent hills, which are of schist, overwhelm the plughole and the lake fills." The tour guide told us that the locals say it's haunted by the ghost of Colonel McNeil and his horses who drowned here in 1888 when water levels rose abruptly as he was traveling through one fateful day.


There were many spring lambs in the fields, and our tour guide told us that the numbers of sheep and goats were slowly coming back after the Hoof and Mouth disaster of 2001.


I could have stayed in this spot forever, as on one side I saw this view......


...and the other side this view of Larrybane Bay and Sheep Island.


We were off the bus and walking toward the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge! Carrick-a-Rede means the rock in the road. This area near Ballintoy is the sea route for Atlantic salmon on their westward journey past Carrick Island. For over 350 years fishermen had strung a rope bridge 30 meters above the sea to allow them to access the best places to catch the migrating salmon. Today, the bridge is mainly used as a tourist attraction. It presents a exciting challenge to hundred of thousands visitors every year!


You may remember that I crossed this bridge with my husband a few years ago -- click here -- to read that post and see me holding on for dear life as I crossed over the bridge! This visit I decided to by-pass the bridge and continue walking up the coastline to take more photos.


The views were spectacular!


Looking back I could see my brave bus companions crossing over the rope bridge.


Just a few people at a time are supposed to cross in one direction to reduce the swaying of the bridge. In really windy weather it is closed for safety.  Our guide told us that no one ever fell off the bridge, although there have been a few incidences of people crossing over the bridge and then being unable to cross back due to fear. They then had to be taken off Carrick Island by boat.

Soft fields and misty water views were at higher viewpoint.  I was so grateful to see this beautiful spot again!




A video I took of people crossing the bridge so you can see how much fun it is.


We were back on the bus and on our way to see some more spectacular sights along Northern Ireland's Causeway Coast....tune in on my next post to see more!

I am linking this post to the "Outdoor Wednesday" event on Susan's blog A Southern Daydreamer. Thanks, Susan!

Linking to Jenny Matlock's "Alphabe Thursday" blog event. This week's letter is "C" Thanks Jenny!




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55 comments:

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

Pat,
These photos are wonderful! We visited Ireland last summer for a short trip...we stayed near Belfast for one night, visited the Giant Causeway, and spent 2 nights in Dublin.

I'm enjoying your posts!

podso said...

The views and photos are spectacular. I can see you taking a pass on crossing the swinging bridge.

so enjoyed this post!

STEF said...

These photos are breathtaking! Great!
It's my first time to join. Here is my entry. See you!

Sheila said...

I would have walked along the coast with you Pat - the bridge is lovely in the picture though. I enjoyed seeing your views through the bus windows. You must have had a wonderful time in Northern Ireland.

Barbara F. said...

This scenery is breathtaking, and who better to capture the beauty and magnitude but you! I love all the "Glens" - that name is special to me. xo,

Ginny said...

Oh what georgous pictures!! Well, you did the bridge last time, no need pushing your luck! I notice that castle, the flowers all match the coat of arms!!

Lucy (aka rharper) said...

I wish I could escape to there.

Oliag said...

Absolutely gorgeous!!! Definitely going on my bucket list!

RNSANE said...

Isn't our world beautiful!!! I wish so much I'd been able to visit these areas. I was so close, I should have - instead of going back to England all the time. Of course, I have friends there but I could have taken a little detour first.

I went back to your post of you crossing the rope bridge. That would have terrified me...even though I did parasail once and have done hot air balloons twice. I am so frightened of open heights.

Light and Voices said...

What an adventure....walking on a rope bridge. Holy Catfish! Enjoyed the cyber tour of Causeway Coast and the Glens Northern Ireland
Joyce M

GardenofDaisies said...

Beautiful! Gorgeous scenery!! I want to jump through the computer and be there!! Glad that the goats have made a comeback. The rope bridge looked fun!

Jo said...

oh Pat ... what a gorgeous trip ... i do so love following your travels ...

diane b said...

Magic scenery and fab photos. It certainly is the Green Isle. I love your description "hamlets snuggled in the glens" It is jus how they look. That castle sure is old, older than old.

Ola said...

OMG-the landscape there is so pretty, however I would be scared to walk the bridges:)
Nice view over the port!
The last goat monument is a funny idea!

Gracie said...

You're making me more and more homesick of a place that isn't even my home! (maybe in a previous life????)

Tracy said...

WOW... I could just cry--these views are just breathtakingly FABULOUS! The blues and greens just seem so muc richer in Ireland and the UK, don't they? Not sure about the swinging bridge either...But I'd probably go for it! You never know, a visit could be once-in-a-lifetime. Such a treat to see all this from your trip. :o) Happy Day, Pat ((HUGS))

La Petite Gallery said...

Pat, that beautiful long blowing grass is sharp as a razor, did you touch it? What a trip. I saw that gorse, and asked what it was. It was everywhere. Love the Coast on Western Ireland also. Hope you got to Sligo and Donagal.
yvonne

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thanks for the lovely photos, particularly the one of Carrickfergus Castle, because I love the song, "Carrickfergus".

Vee said...

I do remember your crossing that bridge! Until you said so, I was asking myself if that could be the one. What glorious scenery! Incredibly awesome. How good to know that the goats and sheep are back and that the Hoof and Mouth disease has been eradicated. What an awful thing for all of Britain that whole scene was. Comical pic of the goat lying beside the statue of the goat. Thanks for sharing your journey and so much of the history. If I lived there, I'd be sunk. I would never be able to remember all the similar names.

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

I have been enjoying your trip so it was lovely to discover you have included your post in Outdoor Wednesday this week.

merrilymarylee said...

WOW! My stomach lurched, just LOOKING at that bridge! Grandfather Mountain here in NC has a swinging bridge and I crossed it twice, the second time being to get back where I swore, "Never again!"

And I LOVE the goat with the goat statue!

So glad you took this trip!

Kristen said...

I read this and the previous post. What an amazing trip you had! When I was in Ireland twenty years ago, I was too timid to venture into Northern Ireland. It is a beautiful, though incredibly sad country.

Tina said...

Very beautiful pictures. wow. lg Tina

Claudia said...

Once upon a time I would have crossed that rope bridge. Not any more! I thoroughly enjoyed this - I mention the Causeway a few times in my play very pointedly and although I had looked it up - this made the place more immediate. I think I will use this link for the students this summer.

Yvette said...

Magical is right, Pat. Wow! I would be jealous if you weren't so sweet about sharing and making sure we join you vicariously. :)

Old Kitty said...

Pat!!! That bridge is just crazy!!! That's just crazy. You were very brave to cross it once on that windy day so never ever again, please, it just looks so crazy!! Yes I am very scared of bridges made out of rope swinging in the wind 30 metres above crazier waters! LOL!

Oh but look at the views!!!So spectacular!! This really is well worth the tour bus trip!! Beautiful and historic. I am so pleased to read that sheep and goats - lovely lovely goats - are making a comeback. Poor Johann!!! His spirit lives on in that pretty goat!

That Vanishing Lake is unreal. Wow. What a quirk of nature! It's like something made up from a horror film but it's a natural phenomena!

Aww Pat your pics are just brilliant and the info here really makes me want to pack me and Charlie up and head over there now for a nice long weekend!! Thank you so much!! Take care
x

Nance said...

Oh, the loveliness! You've convinced me to go. The shots are spectacular and I couldn't ask for a more loving tour guide.

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

How beautiful! The shoreline photos remind me of Newfoundland. And the 'greens'...most lovely. I can see why that particular drive is rated one of the top in the world! Thanks for taking us along.

I rather like the rope bridge idea! We have several suspension bridges here in British Columbia...and have always enjoyed my trips across.

Theanne and Baron said...

Absolutely wonderful photos of a fantastically beautiful place! One of the things I took notice of was that you didn't see (plastic) garbage everywhere!

Linda Makiej said...

Such great photos here!! Glad to have found you to follow!!

Judie said...

I must agree with the majority of your comments! The photos are simply wonderful!!!

Jackie said...

Oh a beautiful place, a few years since I visited. I was never brave enough to go over the bridge, but I love the Giants Causeway.I believe there are fires in the Mountains of Mourne, like the forest fire near here due to the very dry weather. We have such beautiful coastline in the UK, Cornwall, Dorset etc.. so much to see !! Enjoy, Jackie in Surrey, UK

La Petite Gallery said...

The Irish Coastline is magic, my Grandmothers house sits on the coast
in Sligo.
Loved the comment. I couldn't have said it better. Have a wonderful trip, wish i was there.

yvonne

JDaniel4's Mom said...

The grass is greener in Ireland than any where else in the world.

Diane said...

Such beautiful photos! I've always wanted to visit Ireland...maybe one of these days. Thanks for sharing!

Sue said...

Oh my goodness! I want to see these things!!

What a beautiful world we live in...every continent has such wonders to behold.

=)

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Glorious views!! I am in awe of the landscape.

I think I'd take a pass on walking that bridge too.

ellen b. said...

Oh Pat I love all your photos. What a marvelous trip. We want to visit Ireland sometime in the future. It really is a beautiful spot in our world! Have a wonderful weekend!

lissa said...

I would not cross that bridge, I would be too afraid.

wonderful pics though.

Ann said...

You are a world travellor, What about coming to New Zealand?

Lisa said...

Such amazing colors! Love the goat. And that bridge? Well, I'm pretty sure I'd get to the middle then change my mind and hold up all the others! So, so beautiful, Pat. The country and the photos!

The Gathering Place said...

Beautiful! What wonderful greens and blues, and such a rugged coast line. Thanks for sharing.

Sarah said...

More gorgeous photos! I'm in awe of these spectacular vistas. I'd love to visit Ireland. Thank you for sharing your trip, Pat. ~ sarah

storybeader said...

I was in southwestern Ireland and Dublin a few years ago. Yes, what a beautiful country that is! And the goats and sheep are everywhere - much less imposing than COWS! {:-Deb

BEAR's Mom said...

Oh Pat thank you for sharing these beautiful pictures...in my dreams I visit Ireland often...BUT I would never cross that bridge :D
~victoria~

nanny said...

Oh what wonderful views. I love the one with the lambs, but that last shot....breathtaking...it looks like a painting.

The rope bridge looks pretty scary! wow

Putting Ireland on my list of trips/ha

Carol said...

Pat, I am really enjoying the posts of Northern Ireland, such beauty I wasn't even aware of, all I knew from it was the troubles. It's simply a spectacular place. Stunning shots!

Glenda/MidSouth said...

Thanks so much for sharing these wonderful pictures and your trip with us. There is no way I would cross that bridge !

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Pat, you are one of the luckiest women I know!!! WOW! Spectacular tour!! Thank you!!

La Petite Gallery said...

Had to come and look again, That is GODS Country. I want to go back one more time.
Happy Mothers Day!

yvonne

Proud Italian Cook said...

I couldn't do that causeway I'm a big chicken, my stomach is queezy just looking at the people walking it, but the views are breathtaking, I'd be throughly happy taking all that in.

Jenny said...

Oh Pat! Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.

It took me a moment to quit hyper-ventilating over the bridge, but I am now able to put my paper bag down and continue telling you...

WOW! What a gorgeous trip! Thanks for taking us along by sharing this magical countryside through your incredible pictures!

Wow!

A++++++

Diane said...

Really pretty! We are headed for Ireland and Scotland in 4 weeks. Cannot wait so see some of the sights! Enjoying your posts.

Mary said...

GULP! I'm afraid I'd be one of those who decided I couldn't cross back over the rope bridge if I could make my way over one direction to begin with! What a breathtaking sight it must be though...

Derek said...

Hi Pat, I live in County Antrim and I visit these places quite regularly, it's so nice to hear your comments and fondness for this part of Ireland, thanks, Ray

ps you're brave to cross that bridge, many locals won't do that. It always gives me butterflies.