Saturday, May 31, 2008

Northern Ireland, The Antrim Coast

On our second day in Ireland, we took a full day Railtours trip to Northern Ireland to Belfast, where we then boarded a tour bus that took us, along with other tourists, along the Glens of Antrim, the wild Atlantic coast, and The Giant's Causeway.

Railtours is a wonderful way to see Ireland, as it is fully escorted by charming older guides who were raconteur's as entertaining as the beautiful landscape we passed along the way, by both comfortable train and coach bus. Railtours has many different tour packages available for half, one day, and multiple days tours, and I think they are the best bargain for travel in Ireland if you do not wish to travel by car. I highly recommend them!

The train from Connolly Station in Dublin to the city of Belfast was about two hours and 20 minutes long, and we passed many interesting seaside towns and counties.
Belfast is Ireland's second largest city after Dublin and is the capital of Northern Ireland which is part of the United Kingdom.

We didn't see much of Belfast, as we headed immediately for the coast where we stopped at the town of Carrickfergus, County Antrim's oldest town, where we saw Carrickfergus Castle, one of the best preserved medieval structures in the whole of Ireland.

This magnificent structure, built in the 12th century by John de Courcy, commanded access to Belfast Lough, and the land approaches into the walled town that developed beneath its shadow.

The tour guide told us to look up at the ceiling in the entrance. If an invader had made it past the moat, and then the fortified castle door, they would have hot oil poured down upon them from a hole in the ceiling in the entrance. You can see the bucket ready to do that horrible deed in the photo below.

We then drove through the towns of Glenariff, Cushendall, and Cushendun and saw the mountain Glens of Antrim. The scenery was spectacular even though it was a rather misty morning.

Tomorrow I will take you on our adventure crossing the "Carrick-a-Rede" rope bridge! I can't believe I actually did it both ways, and in a strong wind no less! The sun shone brightly when we were there, and the photos of that beautiful area are not to be missed.

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Lavinia said...

Every one of these photos is a picture-postcard perfect image. Look at the green of the grass, just like they say, the "emerald isle"...

Well, I daresay that having hot oil poured on you is a rather unpleasant welcome, but then again, they were *uninvited guests*....hmmmmmm, so glad the bucket is empty these days!

I would love to do the rail tour. Your pictorial is very enjoyable, I eagerly await more...

Anonymous said...

This music is so relaxing - the perfect accompaniment for your breathtaking photos.

I wonder what solicitors would do if they were greeted at doors with buckets of hot oil. ;-) Those No Soliciting signs just don't seem to do the trick.

Edie Marie's Attic said...

Hi Pat!
Your photos are superb! You could do a travel book with your pictures. No kidding! My favorite is the last one. If you look at it long enough you can almost put yourself there and hear the surf at the waters edge and the breeze against the wildflowers and grasses.
The castle is amazing. How clever of them to think of the hot oil, yikes! The rail tour sounds like a great way to see those areas.
Wonderful post as always!
Hugs, Sherry

Deb said...

What an amazing trip - your photos are just gorgeous!

Betsy Brock said...

What beautiful pictures! Those green hills are what I always think of Ireland as looking like. A rail my boys, being obsessed with trains...would go for that! ;)

Vee said...

These last two pics are exquisite. The essence of what I think of when Ireland is mentioned though I've never been there. Looking forward to tomorrow's post!

Tess Kincaid said...

Lovely, lovely photos. I want to visit Ireland someday.

And your music is an absolutely perfect accompaniment.

Michelle said...

Thanks for sharing your trip photos - everything is beautiful and that food looks pretty good!


Lisa's RetroStyle said...

Beautiful pictures!

Anonymous said...

I'm delighted you decided to visit Northern Ireland during your stay in Ireland. It's great to hear US accents over here (they were few until recent years!)So pleased you enjoyed and appreciated the beauty spots in our little part of the world. Karen(Londonderry,NI)

Rue said...

Hi Pat :)

It's so beautiful there, I can't stand it! I have a lot of catching up to do, but I'm loving this tour :D

Off to read more.....