A legendary Land Awaits…
Having only visited Northern Ireland to see family friends, I wanted to explore the beautiful country which we’d only ever driven through before as we passed from house to house. Knowing we could get a cheap flight into Belfast, I looked at economy car hire to find us a vehicle to take us out on our journey west to explore the best that Northern Ireland has to give and there really hasn’t been a better time to visit.
Before heading off west, we explored Belfast city. In this centenary year, no trip to Belfast is complete without visiting the dock where Titanic was built. It’s a moving tribute to the doomed ship whose sinking had a huge impact on the city. Standing in the dry dock, you really get a sense of how immense the ship was and the museum helps to bring 1912 alive. There’s more of Belfast’s history in the Ulster Museum located in the heart of the city which is fully interactive so can be enjoyed by all.
From Belfast, we took the M2 and travelled for an hour and a half west to the Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim. The Causeway is the most visited natural attraction in Ireland and it’s not hard to see why. We took the coastal road along the cliffs and could see the giant stones making their way out across the sea. We parked up at the visitor centre and here learnt about the legend of giant Finn McCool who was said to once roam this land. Taking a shuttle bus out to The Causeway, we walked the causeway path and could easily imagine giants’ making their home here such is the magical feel to the air. It really is a place that captures the imagination regardless of whether you’re 8 or 80.
On our trip back along the coast east, we stayed at Portbraden, a small harbour village with a beautiful sandy beach to relax on. A short drive from here is Carrick-a-Rede with its exhilarating rope bridge, which isn’t for the faint-hearted! The views here are spectacular though so even if you don’t take the trip across the bridge, you will take something away from here. Nearby there is also Kinbane Castle whose ruins you can visit for free.
Finally, we made our way into the Antrim Glens where the nine unique glens hold a special place in the hearts of the locals. We found the hospitality here was second to none as we were made to feel welcome by everyone we met. Life is very laid back and there is much of the traditional Irish way of life. We loved the Glenariff Forest Park where we explored bogs and took off down the waterfall trail. Whilst in the Carnfunnock Country Park we got lost in the maze and had a picnic in the gardens. Our favourite place was Torr Head, where we looked across to Scotland from the observation post before heading down the coast to Ossian’s Grave and found ourselves immersed in Irish legends once more.
Natalie Likness’ love of travel was introduced to her from an early age due to a trip abroad before she was even born! Having close family and making friends across the world, she has continued to travel ever since.