Friday, 1 April 2016

The Causeway Coast

I’ve been following the Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland.  It runs along the NE coastline above Belfast and as far as the NW border with the Republic of Ireland.  The first stop was a visit to Carrick-a-Rede.  This part of the coast was once alive with salmon making their way year after year upstream to spawn.  The local fishermen built a rope bridge across a short gap to an adjacent island which gave them access to calm waters.  It’s now owned by the National Trust and there is a fee to cross the bridge.


Yes, more experimenting with the panorama option on the phone.


One of the smaller offshore islands appeared to have the remains of a manmade structure


Then I noticed part of another manmade structure on the headland opposite. 


My guess is there was some type of cableway between the headland and the island?

A one kilometre walk takes you to the site of the rope bridge.  Of course it’s not the original rope bridge which would have been a far flimsier affair.  This one is made from heave steel wire ropes. 



It’s one way crossing so there were queues at both ends.  The process was made even slower by tourists who decided to stop in the middle of the bridge and have their photo taken.


I wasn’t sure if the boat was for rescue or a prop.


Same with the buildings on the island


Next stop was the Giants Causeway which is probably the most well known attraction on the coast and also owned by the National Trust.   The causeway was formed about 50-60 million years ago during a volcanic eruption and consists of approximately 40,000 hexagonal basalt columns.  There is also a local legend about how the causeway was formed.  Wikipedia records it as “The Irish giant Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn MacCool), from the Fenian Cycle of Gaelic mythology, was challenged to a fight by the Scottish giant Benandonner. Fionn accepted the challenge and built the causeway across the North Channel so that the two giants could meet. In one version of the story, Fionn defeats Benandonner. In another, Fionn hides from Benandonner when he realises that his foe is much bigger than he. Fionn's wife, Oonagh, disguises Fionn as a baby and tucks him in a cradle. When Benandonner sees the size of the 'baby', he reckons that its father, Fionn, must be a giant among giants. He flees back to Scotland in fright, destroying the causeway behind him so that Fionn could not follow. Across the sea, there are identical basalt columns (a part of the same ancient lava flow) at Fingal's Cave on the Scottish isle of Staffa, and it is possible that the story was influenced by this.”



It was at this point my camera battery went flat forcing me to use the phone camera.


The last attraction was Dark Hedges.  This is an avenue of beech trees planted by the Stuart Family on the 18th century on the road approaching their mansion, Gracehill House.  The bridge of trees is probably the most photographed attraction in Northern Ireland and was made even more famous when used for a scene in the popular TV series Game of Thrones.  It was used in Series 2 Episode 1 where Arya Stark has escaped from King’s Landing, disguised as a boy. She is with Yoren, Gendry, Hot Pie and others who are to join the Night’s Watch, in a cart, travelling north on the King’s Road.  They filmed the scene in the middle of summer when the tress were covered in foliage.  The best I could do to replicate the scene was to take a photo of the photo on the information board beside the road.


And this is how I saw it.


It actually proved to be rather hard obtaining the above photo as tour buses kept turning up and parking in the middle of the road.  Of course the film crew had covered the tarmac with earth for the scene in Game of Thrones. 


Ade said...

Nice pic's Tom even the phone ones are good enough.
It looks like your Janless on yout touring trip from the info in nbSeyella blog!
Thanks for sharing.

Tom and Jan said...

You are correct, doing it without Jan

Jenny said...

Giant's Causeway is an amazing place - that's for sure. And yes, we were another two tourists who stopped on the rope bridge halfway across to get our photos snapped. Sad I know - but then, you just gotta make the most of these once in a life time holiday snaps!
Thanks for the memories.
Robin and Jenny
Romany Rambler.

Tom and Jan said...


NZ has dozens of steel rope walking bridges and most of them are longer! You didn't need to go to Ireland :-)