Visit the Giant's Causeway; the Bushmill's distillery and afternoon tea at Ballygally Castle Hotel
09.08.2016 - 09.08.2016 15 °C
Hotel - Europa Hotel Belfast, Great Victoria Street, Belfast - Room 933
I am feeling pretty yuk today with a head cold. Not much fun, but can't miss the Giant's Causeway.
Today we travelled to the Giant's Causeway. What an amazing place this is. The weather held off and even though it was very windy, it stayed dry and we were able to enjoy this magnificent "pile of rocks". They are basalt columns, naturally formed by the slow cooling of lava / magma chambers. Well, I prefer our guide's explanation, which is -
An Irish giant and a Scottish giant were fighting over land. The Scottish giant came stomping across the bay and when the Irish giant saw him coming, he dressed up as a baby, hopped into the crib and put a dummy in his mouth. Mrs Irish giant invited the Scottish giant in for a cup of tea and told him that her husband was out, but would be home soon. When the Scottish giant saw the huge baby in the crib, he became very worried about the size of the baby's father and decided that he probably couldn't beat him in a fight, so excused himself and stomped home back to Scotland - hence the giant's causeway. That makes more sense, doesn't it, than cooling lava!
Another Irish story while we are on legends. The Ulster flag has a red hand in the centre of the flag. Apparently, way back when the land grab was on, and this dates back to King Heremon O'Neill in 1015 BC, the first person to touch the land could have it. They were racing across the sea to claim the land and one of the O'Neills cut off his hand and through it onto the shore, and then the land was theirs!!! Bit dramatic.
It's pretty easy to climb and walk over the rocks. Just as well it wasn't raining or they would be quite treacherous. There is a little bus that takes you from the tourist information centre down to the bay, or you can walk if you want to. It's not that far.
We had morning tea at the Giant's Causeway and then headed off to Old Bushmill's Distillery, only 10 minutes away. Bushmill's has been producing whiskey continuously since the early 1600s.
We weren't allowed to take photos during the tour but it was a very interesting and informative tour. We were broken into two groups and our guide's name was Jade. She was a young girl but knew her stuff. She had been with Bushmills for almost two years. I enjoyed this tour a lot more than the Guinness one, simply because we were the only ones in an area at one time, and it was easy to hear what Jade was saying. At Guinness, there were hundreds and hundreds and the noise was echoing through our head sets. It was very distracting.
In the tasting room, as I can't stand whiskey, I decided to have a hot toddy, which contained whiskey, hot water, cloves, sugar and cinnamon. It was very nice and I am sure it did my throat a lot of good. We actually bought some whiskey chocolate and fudge, which won't be so good for the thighs!
There are quite a few links golf courses around this area. The rough looks awful and the constant wind would be a huge distraction.
We are taking the picturesque route back to Belfast, via the coast and through the Glens of Antrim. There are nine beautiful glens and the scenery is stunning. Basically, the glens were formed by a glacial exit to the sea. It's hard to take a decent photo from the bus, but you get the idea. The colours are magnificent.
We stopped at Ballygally Castle for a lovely scone, jam and cream afternoon tea. This place is supposed to be haunted but we couldn't find the ghost. But the garden was lovely.
Back in Belfast and getting ready for our farewell dinner. 10 of us are leaving tomorrow and the other 23 will continue on to Scotland. Very sad to be leaving them. They are a great group.
We walked around the corner to the St James Street Restaurant and went upstairs to our own private room. It was extremely noisy, because there was a wooden floor and no curtains. It needed those things to help muffle the noise.
I did have a lovely crab entree but was too busy talking and forgot to take the picture! How unusual for me! Mind you, this has only happened since I kissed the Blarney Stone!
The limerick winner was announced. Alan and Alana won and it also was their 41st wedding anniversary. My limerick made it to the final five, but I thought theirs was better than mine. Anyway, Tom handed out shamrock pins to all who entered which was a nice gesture.
At dinner I sat next to Bob Horgan who used to be the General Manager at Royal Fremantle Golf Club when my boss was Governor of Western Australia and Patron of the club. He had had a lot of contact with Muriel Button who is the PA at Governent House, Perth. As she is half Burmese, we call ourselves The White Button (me) and The Brown Button (her). Bob had heard about The White Button and couldn't believe his eyes when he found out I was The White Button. It's a very small world sometimes.
After dinner, some went to a pub to farewell Jane's mum but I had a temperature, connected to my head cold, so decided to call it a night and go back to the room. Good decision.