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DEPARTURE TIME: 8:00AM ( Arrive 10mins before )
DEPARTURE LOCATION: 23, ST STEPHEN'S GREEN (OPPOSITE STARBUCKS COFFEE) - MAP HERE
THE ANTRIM COASTAL DRIVE * CARRICK A REDE ROPE BRIDGE * GIANT'S CAUSEWAY * DUNLUCE CASTLE (PHOTO STOP) * BELFAST CITY* DARK HEDGES (GOT)
We depart from the St. Stephen’s Green aboard our very comfortable coach. We undertake the journey to Belfast city, the capital of Northern Ireland, the first leg of our journey to Belfast, the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and the world famous Giant’s Causeway.
We arrive into south-west Belfast. The name Belfast is an Anglicisation of the Gaelic name, "Beal Feirste”, meaning the mouth (or estuary) of the Farset River, a tributary of the famous Lagan River. Belfast is a city with a colourful heritage and a chequered past, to say the least. It is for many the collision point between the two cultures which co-exist here. There is the Unionist/Protestant culture which clearly defines itself as essentially British and not Irish. Then there is the Republican/Roman Catholic culture which clearly identifies itself as Irish and not British. We bring you to the Falls Road/ Springfield Road area which is specifically a Catholic/Republican neighbourhood to view the political murals, flags and graffiti which express the political ideology of the Republican movement. After that we bring you to the other side of the Peace Wall into the Loyalist/Protestant area, down Cupar Way and the Shankill Road to view the political graffiti, murals, flags and political ideology of the Loyalist/Unionist/Protestant movement.
We then proceed to the Titanic Museum in the Docklands area. We take 30 minutes in this iconic museum to visit the souvenir shop and take photos of the iconic and distinctive building with its famous “TITANIC” iron stencil sign at the top of the entrance steps. The Titanic was launched in 1912 and on its maiden voyage to New York in April that same year it sank off the coast of Newfoundland (Canada) after having struck an iceberg. The TITANIC museum was established to commemorate the centenary of the sinking of the TITANIC in that awful tragedy of April 1912.
We take our leave of Belfast as we head north into rural Co. Antrim en route to the NORTH ANTRIM COAST, where we will experience the CARRICK-A-REDE ROPE BRIDGE, the GIANT’S CAUSEWAY and of course the haunted DUNLUCE CASTLE.
We arrive at the NORTH ANTRIM COAST and stop east of Portrush to take photos of the ancient 8th century iron-age DUNLUCE CASTLE, originally home to the famous Scottish McQuillan Clan. DUNLUCE CASTLE has been a haunted ruin since 1588 and there’s an interesting story to tell involving the collapse of the kitchen section into the sea on a very stormy night when strong northerly on-shore winds and waves undermined the cliff edge. Also there’s an interesting connection with the SPANISH ARMADA.
We pass through the picturesque village of Ballintoy with its lovely white Anglican church and we go to Larrybane, a cliff-front area with a cafe and restroom facilities for the famous CARRICK-A-REDE ROPE BRIDGE. Weather dependent, the CARRICK-A-REDE ROPE BRIDGE is a most beautiful tourist attraction. There’s a magnificent 1-km cliff-top walk to the CARRICK-A-REDE ROPE BRIDGE out to the Salmon island. Along the way take in the stunning marine views of RTHLIN ISLAND and the Scottish island of ISLAY to the north, while to the east a mere 16km away you can clearly see the MULL OF KINTYRE, a peninsula stretching from Scotland’s south-west mainland. This part of Co. Antrim is in fact the closest point between Ireland’s mainland and the British mainland. Make sure you have your camera to hand to record this scenic beauty.
We arrive at the famous GIANT’S CAUSEWAY, one of Ireland’s 7 Wonders. It is here in the sea coast and cliffs that the Bassalt stone of the area rises in hexagonal columns. This weird phenomenon is not made by human hand, rather it is a result of volcanic activity from 55 million years ago and it is a unique sight on the earth’s surface. Of course there’s a different explanation of this weird stone pattern concerning a battle of wills between two giants, a Scottish one and an Irish one. Your guide will elaborate on the day! But it is the beautiful scenery and the weird hexagonal stone pattern for which the GIANT’S CAUSEWAY is world renowned. You have 90 minutes to explore this wondrous landscape.
We leave the NORTH ANTRIM COAST and head south again, passing through the Belfast Motorway system as we head for Dublin.
We arrive at the Castlebellingham Motorway Services area where we take 30 minutes for food and restrooms.
We leave Castlebellingham and take the motorway to Dublin. We trust that as you go south again en-route back to Dublin that you will have happy and positive memories of NORTHERN IRELAND and especially her foremost tourism attractions, the TITANIC MUSEUM, the CARRICK-A-REDE ROPE BRIDGE, the GIANT’S CAUSEWAY and DUNLUCE CASTLE.
We arrive at Dublin city centre.