**This is a updated version of my previous post with added/updated info**
“I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” – Mary Anne Radmacher
Our Mini Moon Part 2!
In my previous blog post about Harvey’s Point and the start of our Mini Moon, being that far North we decided, last minute, to keep going.
We had planned to go for 3 nights but as we had time on our sides we decided to stay for another 2 nights and fully enjoy our Mini Moon.
We called back home and said we’ll see you when we see you and not to wait up 🙂
Off we set from Harvey’s Point in South Donegal and headed for Derry, about 1 hour driving. I had never been and he felt this was a great misfortune. I have always wanted to see the Walls of Derry and the town that is so steeped in Irish history.
We parked up and hit Penny’s / Primark. As I didn’t know where we were going and really thought it would be a hotel stay I was not prepared for the Harsh Winds of Northern Ireland. I picked up a few warm bits and changed in their changing room’s. It was something I had never done and so much fun!
The Walls of Derry
After our pit stop here we went in search of the Walls. We got up on them and walked all around. From here you can look down into the City. It has spots all along pointing out the famous places and areas of Derry. The original stonework is still in place as well as the cannons used to defend the city. I never imagined them to be so high up over the city.
We got off the walls at the Bogside and went down and did the mural strip. I loved stopping at each one and reading the plaques of what each one represented. Do carve out time for this.
We rushed it a little in the end as we had to keep going to make it to The Giants Causeway and the rope bridge before it got too dark. Yep, time enough to sleep when you’re dead!
There was no charge for either of these things. Just hit the streets and make sure you have comfy shoes one! Down by the Bogside there is a museum but when we where here it was being refurbished and closed. Hopefully we’ll make it back to see it one day. I’d say this is full of interesting things.
Back on the road again and burning up more miles of the Wild Atlantic Way, the scenery is just breath-taking. The fields, the villages you pass through, the friendly waves along the way, even as a Irish person it was beautiful to see this part of the island.
The Giant’s Causeway
I had also never been to the Giants Causeway, don’t shoot me! I know!! It was next on our list, another hour of driving.
It was and it wasn’t what I was expecting. They had the tourist centre but it felt a bit more Disney-fied. For me, it was a bit to modern for my liking. You have to go through all this in order to get out on to the walk down to the causeway. Being the history nerd I am I signed up for the earphones and listened to the guide all the way down. You turn the corner and it opens up and you are just struck in awe by it. In the depths of Winter the place was also still full of tourists. This I found hysterical. Sure if you waited for the rain to stop in Ireland you’d never leave the house! We walked out onto the causeway and we both just looked on in silence. There really are no words!
We paid to enter the visitors centre and walk onto the causeway. (£8.50 GBP, The republic is €, the North is £) The fee included parking and the audio guild. Afterwards we found out if you park a bit up the road you can walk onto the causeway itself and bypass the centre / audio guide it’s free. (A bit more of a trek but if you have the time)
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
No rest for the wicked, after an hour down here we were back up the track and out to the car. Our next destination….Carrick-a-Rede, the famous rope bridge. This was only 30 minutes further. In between these 2 sites is Bushmills Distillery. Just our luck it closes over the holidays. I’d put money on it they heard we where in the area and pitched the signs as we drove in (It’s not open all year round so do check this out in advance)
The rope bridge is weather depending and closes in high winds. We had a calm day with no wind in sight. Again we parked up, free, and headed down the trail. There is a fee £5.80 per adult to cross the bridge. People arrive here by the bus load! We had 6 coaches in the car park when we arrived. How the coaches made it out here I’m still wondering!
I was all geared up, big girl panties hiked all the way up, made it down the steepest steps you’ve ever seen and out to the stoop. Could I do it…… No I couldn’t….. I dropped out….. It’s a PLANK!!!! No more no less…. That’s all there is….. a rope with handles! Good on the kids doing but I’m a firmer deliver that if a child can do something it doesn’t mean I can!!!
The bridge brings you over to the island. Used in years gone by for fishermen. The would build the bridge every season to get back and forth to the main land with their haul. The views are amazing and the walk to get to the bridge was with the fee alone (I’m sticking to this to save face, but seriously!) It’s like being in a different world. The wildlife, the waves, the cliff edges…. Perfection!
While in Harvey’s we booked into a B&B to stay in close by the rope bridge in Ballycastle. As the evening was drawing in we didn’t idle round. Back country roads in the dark are not for the faint hearted. We found our B&B, Crockatinney Guest House, and checked in. These guys were so friendly and helpful. The place was exactly what we needed. After a long day on the road, our room was a sight for sore eyes!
A great night’s sleep and a yummy feed early next morning we made our way down to Belfast. We had booked into the Holiday Inn. It was NYE at this stage and we found this room at a great last-minute price. Not as cozy or pretty as the last 2 places but perfect for what we needed. Also, last minute bookings, in a city, on NYE, beggars can’t be chooser’s. The hotel was perfectly located, the staff where in flying form and we were able to walk into town!
His football team were playing and that was the first call to action. We found a pub showing it and settled in for 90 minutes. The joys of a sport mad Husband 🙂
Belfast…. What a place! The people are just so friendly and welcoming. You can’t go far down a street without someone saying Hi! We hit the sauce as we knew the car was parked up until the following afternoon! (Free being a hotel guest :))
We spent the last day of 2016 in this vibrant town and rang in the New Year together, just the two of us! It was perfect!
Black Cab Tour
On New Year’s Day we booked in for a Black Cab Tour of Belfast. Time and a half on a bank holiday but worth every penny!! In the end I think we paid him £50. If you come to this city, I highly recommend it! The driver brought us all around the city, stopping at various places of interest, even bringing us into the cemetery!! He was great fun and made us pose for pictures at every corner. This was brilliant as up until this point we only had pictures of one of us, not both!
After all this we we’re on the rocky road to Dublin. The last leg of the journey. Back to our folks for the last day before heading back to London, back to reality! 🙁
We had the best time! For our first break as Mr & Mrs it was better than perfect. If you ever make it to Ireland, the best advise I can give you is to see as any places as you can! Ireland is made up of so many towns and villages, each one better than the last! In my lifetime I don’t think I’ll ever get to see all of it and that is not a thought I want to ponder on. I am completely bias as this is my homeland, but what a homeland!
I hope you enjoyed my trip down memory lane, I know I did…..
If you are planning a trip to Ireland, get in touch! I’ll properly over load you with information, but hey! It could be worse!