Today was a day long trip up to Belfast and to the Giant’s Causeway.
The trip started at 7am and didn’t return til 8:30 at night so, yeah, it was a long day.
Amazingly, the weather actually held the entire day and I gotta say that I’ve been pretty damn lucky avoiding the rain since I arrived in the UK a couple of weeks ago.
Myself and 61 other people boarded the Wild Rover bus and we were on our way up north from Dublin.
The tour came with a pretty hefty price tag of 70 euros ($101) but I justified paying it as just taking the train to Belfast and back cost 35 euros so I figured for another 35 euros I could go on the infamous Black Taxi tour of the city, see Giant’s Causeway and visit the Carrick rope bridge.
After enduring crazy traffic as we entered the city of Belfast we got off the bus at just after 10am and were presented with a choice.
We had the choice of either going on the Black Taxi tour of the city or go to the Titanic Experience museum.
47 people picked the taxi tour and for some reason 15 people chose the museum.
Black Taxi Tour
The Black Taxi tour is famous in the city of Belfast. Local taxi driver take you around the city showing you the history of Northern Ireland’s fight for independence.
Growing up in Canada I remember hearing about how the IRA terrorists were wreaking havoc against England and until today I never heard the other side of the story.
Joe, our taxi driver, told the tale of the IRA from the other perspective. He spoke with passion and in a thick Irish accent trying to educate us about what really happened.
From their side, the whole “terrorist” thing was just British propaganda to get people in the world on their side of the story.
It was interesting hearing the history especially since it’s really recent and they still, in fact, have a “peace” wall separating the protestant and catholic sides of the city that is locked after 6pm each night.
After the taxi tour we all returned to the bus to go to our next stop.
Well, most of us returned to the bus.
We were two people short and after waiting for 15 minutes the bus left without them.
So they were stuck in Belfast and their bag was still on the bus. In fact, our guide had to check the bag because, you know, we live in this whole “no unattended bag” era.
On to stop number two…
Giant’s Causeway is a beautiful display of nature along the northern coast of Ireland.
I literally could spend the day just taking photos and, to be sure, I took alot.
Anyway, there’s a fable to what the Causeway is and it goes like this – a giant named Finn here in Ireland was having trouble with another giant across the water in Scotland.
Benandonner, the Scottish giant, was threatening Ireland so an enraged Finn grabbed chunks of the Antrim coast and threw them into the sea to form a rock path to get to Scotland to confront Benandonner.
After wandering the great outdoors of Ireland for awhile and stopping for a nice lunch of Steak & Guinness Pie, it was on to our final stop of the day…
Okay, our tour guide for the day really talked up this rope bridge. He kept talking about how “if we dared” to go on the bridge and stuff like that.
I had it worked up in my mind that it would be a crickity unstable rope bridge that was like a football field long.
What it was, instead, was a nicely structured and sturdy rope bridge only about 5 meters long.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m glad it was like that cause I’m damn scared of heights but if it wasn’t included in the cost of my ticket and I had been a poor sucker to visit there on my own and pay the £7 ($10) to cross it, I would be sorely disappointed.
Anyway, it was pretty cool and I was once again amoungst the amazing backdrop of the Irish countryside so it was a great place to visit.
A long bus ride home finally got us back into Dublin at 8:30.
It truly was an amazing day and I was happy the weather held up for us to be able to truly experience the majestic Northern Ireland.
Tomorrow I’m heading to an even more majestic part of Ireland to the west as I’ll be in both Galway and then Killarney over the next week.