Day 7 – Belfast, Northern Ireland—We Saw Giants!
Back to our British Isles 12 Day Cruise and up to Northern Ireland and the capitol of Belfast! We ended up spending little time in Belfast and more in the countryside on our way to the Giant’s Causeway. I walked in the footsteps of giants!
Our day started early with breakfast, and I made a quick clothing change from leggings to jeans because a woman warned me in the elevator that it was cool outside—I was glad I did! The port was right next to the ship and disembarked on Deck 5, a boon for us because our room was on that deck.
Again, we had an exceptional tour guide on our excursion, Kathleen, who entertained us with her vast knowledge of the area and the folklore. We wove our way through the edge of Belfast to the countryside and beside the sea. I took lots of photos.
We drove through Ballycastle, “. . . a small seaside town in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It is on the north-easternmost coastal tip of Ireland, in the Antrim Coast and Glens Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.”
Dunluce castle loomed majestic on the edge of a cliff overlooking the sea. As we drove by, I wondered about the remains and found this out!
“Dunluce Castle (from Irish: Dún Libhse) is a now-ruined medieval castle in Northern Ireland, the seat of Clan McDonnell. It is located on the edge of a basalt outcropping in County Antrim (between Portballintrae and Portrush), and is accessible via a bridge connecting it to the mainland. The castle is surrounded by extremely steep drops on either side, which may have been an important factor to the early Christians and Vikings who were drawn to this place where an early Irish fort once stood.”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunluce_Castle
“The romantic remains of Dunluce Castle lie teetering on the craggy headland. This 14th-century stronghold was abandoned in 1641 after part of the kitchen collapsed into the sea during a storm. Small wonder this place is said to have inspired C. S. Lewis to create Cair Paravel in The Chronicles of Narnia. Is that epic enough for you yet?”
When we arrived at the Giant’s Causeway, we decided to walk and didn’t take the shuttle. The walk was downhill and gorgeous. Plus, we each received an audio tour of the Causeway, and the stories told by the narrator were priceless, entertaining and hilarious—so much Irish blarney for sure! The narrative added to our hike!
The brochure we received spoke of the stories: “The Giant’s Causeway is steeped in myth and legend. Carved from the coast by the mighty giant, Finn McCool, who left behind an ancient home full of folklore.”
It also said about the science: “It’s not surprise this place is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A geological wonder with over 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the Giant’s Causeway is the result of intense volcanic and geological activity.”
We marveled at the sight, took pictures and enjoyed the sight. Lin hiked farther up the coast, and I opted to stand in line for the shuttle—walking up the hill wasn’t an option for me. Again, he timed it right and arrived just as I climbed onto the shuttle and joined me.
We shopped in the souvenir shop and boarded the bus to return to the ship.
On the way back, my camera’s battery died, so my photo of the Carrick-a-Rede Rope bridge isn’t great.
“Carrick-a-Rede Rope bridge – suspended across a 20-metre chasm, this precarious bridge was initially erected by salmon fishermen, but is now one of the highlights of the Causeway Coastal Route.”http://www.laterlife.com/travel/visit-irelands-causeway-coastal-route.htm
When our excursion ended, we decided not to go into Belfast butto eat instead. We had a delightful fish and chips lunch talking football to another Philadelphia Eagles’ fan (my husband is a life-long fan) and other football enthusiasts. Lin and I played Cribbage and I won, then we napped.
I woke up first and worked on a couple of ongoing projects of mine. We went to the late show and saw a violinist. Afterwards, we went upstairs to Raffles, the buffet, for snacks, and here we had one of those memorable experiences!
Seated at a table next to us with her parents, a little Italian girl greeted us enthusiastically, and her mother told us she spoke no English yet talked to everyone. She spied two little American girls several tables away and ran to greet them with a hug. She scooted back to her parents, seeing a little black boy eating with his Dad. She stopped to hug him on her way back to her table.
After her greeting, the black boy played peek-a-boo with through a chair and scared her. She squealed with delight and gave him a kiss.
Her mother explained her daughter had been in daycare all day with the three other children, and she pleasantly described her daughter, “She’s always like this.” What I saw was friendship across the world! Skin color didn’t matter.
My husband talked to this friendly little lady as we left, telling her Mom to translate, saying, “you have a wonderful life ahead of you!”
What a glorious ending to a great travel day–the Giant’s Causeway and scenic northern Ireland and an international ambassador who demonstrated what true diplomacy looks like! I went to bed with a smile on my heart! Have you had a travel day like this? I’d love to hear your stories!
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