Around a month ago we finally went North. Well we’ve been to Belfast and Mourne Mountains before, but by North I mean Norther Ireland further than Belfast. It was on our list forever, but you know how it goes. There are so many places to see and people to meet.
So why should you visit Northern Ireland
Giant’s Causeway is the mainly reason why most people decide to visit Northern Ireland, either that or Belfast. The stones that the coast is made of totally look like they are man-made, but nature is always surprising.
That’s probably slightly different view than you will see on most photos. The Giant’s Causeway is pretty impressive, but as well it’s quite smallish if you look from above and of course it’s filled with tourist.
Tip: Visiting Giant’s Causeway is FREE. You don’t have to book any tickets. The tickets you can find at National Trust site are for very pricy parking and guided tours, so if you are not travelling alone, it’s better to leave a car at railway station parking (it was closed when we were there, so in the end we left the car at the side of the road in one of the little bays), otherwise you will be charged for parking by National Trust per person (four adults equals £36 bill).
The Causeway Coast Way Walking Trail
Something else you may want to consider it to hike The Causeway Coast Way Walking Trail, it’s a 2-3 day hike along the coast. I really wished we had time to do it. The coast is so beautiful. Maybe next time…
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
Tomek was talking about that bridge since we moved to Ireland. I ignored it, mainly because I’m a coward and I don’t like things that move under my feet without my control. The day we got to the bridge, I had a sore neck and a cold. I had a plan of staying on the safe side, but the bridge is actually really short. It is a little wobbly, especially if windy, but you can cross in a few seconds. So I made to the other side and back. It’s actually less scary than the bridge across that is in my hometown.
Games of Thrones
If you are a hardcore fan of Games of Thrones, there are at least 10 filming locations you probably want to visit. We are not hardcore, we only visited a few.
One of attraction I wouldn’t have know if it wasn’t for one of my Nordie colleagues was Saint Gobban’s Church in Portbradden. It is the smallest church in Ireland. It’s privately owned, but apparently when the owner is around you will see the church opened. Unfortunately it was close when we got there. But the setting is beautiful. Tiny little hamlet by the seaside. It’s probably the cutest church I’ve ever seen.
If there is summer in Ireland, it’s probably the best season to visit Ireland. But spring is another one, if you love cute little lambs. You will find them everywhere in the countryside.
And with everything starting to bloom, it’s really great season to travel.
There are so many places in Ireland with great food. I was telling you more than once we don’t always have time to look for best places. This time however our itinerary fitted in a two great places.
Based on another colleague’s recommendation we went for a dinner to Harbour Bistro in Portrush. Jonathan said “They don’t take bookings, but it’s worth waiting for”. He was so right. We needed to wait an hour for a table, but luckily there is a gin bar, that makes waiting so much nicer and they call you out when the table is ready. I loved the interior, there was lovely fireplace and a nice mix of modern and rustic. I ate the best tobacco onions ever. And I don’t even like onions!
The Red Door Cottage Tea Room & Bistro
The other place The Red Door Cottage Tea Room & Bistro is a little cottage that will make you feel like you are in your auntie’s house. It’s super cosy. The whole owner’s family works there, so we met dad, mom, and the son, they are so friendly, it’s worth having a short chat with them. The bangers and mash was everything I needed at that moment, so soothing and comfy.
We started to breaking our trips with some more active bits, too many times we were sitting in the car for too long. This time we stopped in Glenariff Forest Park, another great decision. The trail is really nice with a beautiful view over the waterfall. Great place for a break, or even whole day out.
If you are driving to see the Giant’s Causeway, don’t pick the shortest drive. If you have time drive along coast. We drove along the coast from Belfast to Portrush. It’s stunning.
And even rocks smile to you.