last post, we'd left Dublin and were driving up to Belfast, taking the Mourne coastal scenic route. Gosh, it was mighty scenic! Miles of gorgeous wild rocky coastline with big arching bays and wide views of the sea. It's only a few hours' drive, even going by the coast instead of the inland motorway.
We stopped for cherry scones with jam and cream at a stately
home and also to wander about a historic look out point on the site of a bloody battle from the 1600s. If the weather had been better there were
walking trails to take, but we just looked about a bit then got on with our
I worked on Monday while my husband enjoyed the
only sunny day of our trip wandering around Belfast. Word to the wise -
if you're visiting try not to go over Sunday and Monday 'cos lots of
things are closed. He managed to see the Botanic Gardens and Ormeau
On Tuesday we headed further north up the Causeway Coastal Route to the
Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and the Giant's Causeway. Of the two, I
prefered the Carrick-a-Rede area as there was spectacular coastal views
over cliffs into clear blue water. It was fairly busy with tourists, but
we managed to get some photos on the bridge and spend a good while
admiring the views. The water was so clear you could see jellyfish the sea from
the cliffs about 20 meters above.
slogged up the hill and drove off to Bushmills Whiskey Distillery only to find that we'd
missed the last tour and the only food left in their cafe was cake. Oh
well, cake it was and they were actually delicious homemade cakes. The
whiskey cheesecake was particularly delicious. We bought some whiskey
samplers and made our way back to Belfast. If Bushmills is anything to
go by, I prefer Scotch whisky. Bushmills was just a bit bland - it didn't have
the complexity of flavours from fruits to honey to smokey peatiness that
Scottish single malts can have.
In case you didn't know, Irish whiskey has an 'e' and Scotch whisky doesn't. There you go, don't say I never give you anything. Anyway...
Belfast was a surprisingly grand city - I guess British rule gets you pretty public buildings. It was decidedly odd going through suburbs bedecked with Union Flags and the flags of local groups who were presumably pro-English. There were also murals around our hotel and a local church which looked like it had been bombed. At hotel down the road from ours boasted that it was the most-bombed hotel in Belfast with 40 attacks. Weird.
The town around the castle was a bit rubbish, but we eventually found a cafe for a snack then took a leisurely drive back to Dublin to catch our plane.
It was good to have finally visited all of the nations that make up the United Kingdom. Dublin was very touristy and the rural areas around it weren't as pretty as the scenery in Northern Ireland. But Northern Ireland is kind of marred by its troubled history. I'd put them both about halfway up my list of top places to visit.