Saturday morning we were back in the car heading north, luckily away from possibly the world’s most bureaucratic border, bloody Brexit. In fact, even today Westminster are still flapping about how to resolve their mess.
We were all looking forward to today, after an hour and a half we arrived at the beautiful northern coastline at the Giant’s Causeway National Trust site. Lachlan could not wait to get back in the hiking carrier and explore.
After reading as much as we could in the visitors centre we were eager to check out the UNESCO World Heritage site which has been recognised many times as one of the best places to visit in the UK by top travel publications. The Causeway is also one of the most unusual geological sites in Northern Ireland and one of the world’s greatest natural wonders.
We started the long downhill trek, it was a lovely day, perfect to tire the kids out. Lachlan was off at super speed. Eloise of course had grabbed a map at the visitor’s centre and had resumed the role of tour guide. We kept telling Eloise to stop and admire the view but she was fixated on her beloved map.
After fifteen odd minutes, we had made it to the incredible Giant’s Causeway.
Our tour guide was chuffed with her work and started the steep climb with Super Mum as Lachlan mounted Dad.
As Northern Ireland’s main attraction, it was a fairly busy spot for early in the morning. Nothing that Google Photos Magic Eraser couldn’t sort out for us.
Now the tricky bit, heading back down the unusual staircase to admire the rock formations out to sea.
We are quickly running out of adjectives to describe this place, thankfully Bard has launched in the UK and it will hopefully be writing blog posts for us in the not-so-distant future, Dad jokes pending.
We were all starting to tire from leg day, and Eloise could not help but pull up her own wee seat.
The rock formation was perplexing, Eloise thought she would ring Uncle Kochy again for an explanation but we sadly did not have enough reception. “It developed between 50 to 60 million years ago when a flood of lava oozed from fissures in the earth. The molten rock cooled and contracted, cracking into a series of some 40,000 columns, mostly in near-perfect hexagonal shapes. But the exact temperature at which the cooling lava cracked has long been a mystery”.
With the waves peacefully crashing in, it was very therapeutic.
The boys did one last dash to another peak but by this stage, Lachlan wanted to do his own climbing so we came in from the water’s edge and let him free.
We started the long climb back however we were not getting far. Lachlan was more interested in stealing small rocks from the “World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986 and a national nature reserve by the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland” and Eloise wanted to take the aerial root.
Instead, we did a bit more exploring and waited for the shuttle bus.
We would say the Giant’s Causeway is a must for anyone in the area, we had so much fun. A day we will never forget with the kids.
The Giant’s Causeway is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic fissure eruption. It is located in County Antrim on the north coast of Northern Ireland, about three miles (5 km) northeast of the town of Bushmills. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986 and a national nature reserve by the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland in 1987. In a 2005 poll of Radio Times readers, the Giant’s Causeway was named the fourth-greatest natural wonder in the United Kingdom. The tops of the columns form stepping stones that lead from the cliff foot and disappear under the sea. Most of the columns are hexagonal, although some have four, five, seven or eight sides. The tallest are about 12 metres (39 ft) high, and the solidified lava in the cliffs is 28 metres (92 ft) thick in places. Much of the Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast World Heritage Site is owned and managed by the National Trust. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Northern Ireland, receiving over 998,000 visitors in 2019. Access to the Giant’s Causeway is free of charge: it is not necessary to go via the visitor centre, which charges a fee. The remainder of the site is owned by the Crown Estate and several private landowners.
We had spent longer at the Giant’s Causeway than we had expected, time flies when you are having fun. We didn’t even have time for lunch, it was snacks on the road as we followed the North Antrim Coast through the “area of outstanding natural beauty”. It reminded us of the Great Ocean Road in Australia, Victoria, but dialled up to a gazillion.
After a picturesque short drive, we arrived even before the kids had finished their snacks. After all the running and climbing they were both happy to jump in the hiking carriers before we made our way further along the coast.
We made our way around the steep drops and joined the long queue to Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, we were a bit unsure about this one. Don’t let the blueish skies fool you, the wind was blowing at levels we had not experienced since Aberdeen, the granite city.
It was finally our turn, there was no going back now, it certainly felt a lot higher than the photos make it look, but it was again the wind factor and being rather top heavy. We approached the suspension bridge through the wind tunnel.
We were helpless now and had to hope our legs would keep carrying us forward, we were holding on tight, there was not too much looking around, tunnel vision got us across.
The four of us had safely made it across, our hearts were racing. The kids were not enjoying the wind, Lachlan wanted to walk, fat chance of that happening. Eloise unfortunately was in Dad’s hiking carrier so had to do the quick sprint to the summit. It was a quick up and down as he was not entirely confident he had full control of his legs.
As we could not find anywhere suitable to camp for the rest of our lives, we had to cross The Bridge of Doom to return.
I asked Super Mum to turn around for a quick photo on the bridge and was promptly told “don’t be stupid Liam, we are going back to the car and not coming back here again”. To be fair, Super Mum had seriously conquered her fear of heights today.
Once back on solid ground, the heart was still racing, it took us quite a while to relax, the adrenaline had knocked Lachlan for six.
Sue, we think we recall you mentioning you are heading to Belfast with Hannah, I asked Super Mum in the car if she would recommend The Bridge of Doom, the swift response was “absolutely not, don’t go anywhere near it, it was completely unnecessary, would I be sad if I had not done it? No, I would have been relaxed”. We’ll let you decide, the Giant’s Causeway is a must though. The same goes for you too Laura.
The Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge (locally pronounced carrick-a-reed) is a rope bridge near Ballintoy in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The bridge links the mainland to the tiny island of Carrickarede (from Irish: Carraig a’ Ráid, meaning ‘rock of the casting’). It spans 20 metres (66 ft) and is 30 metres (98 ft) above the rocks below. The bridge is mainly a tourist attraction and is owned and maintained by the National Trust. In 2018, the bridge had 485,736 visitors. The bridge is closed for winter (subject to weather) and people may cross it for a fee.
With the heart rate still dropping we stopped by the Dark Hedges on the way back “home”. “Northern Ireland is the Home of Thrones and the world’s only official Studio Tour”. It was interesting, perhaps not as good as the series made out. We have never actually watched Game of Thrones.
The Dark Hedges is an avenue of beech trees along Bregagh Road between Armoy and Stranocum in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The trees form an atmospheric tunnel that has been used as a location in HBO’s popular television series Game of Thrones, which has resulted in the avenue becoming a popular tourist attraction. In about 1775, James Stuart built a new house, named Gracehill House after his wife Grace Lynd. Over 150 beech trees were planted along the entrance road to the estate, to create an imposing approach
By this stage, we had all calmed down and Super Mum announced it was “department store shopping time, we all deserve a treat” to big cheers in the back seat. Lachlan lucked out with a new dino book.
Meanwhile in Glasgow, “Nicola Sturgeon has said she wants to get on with her life and her job after a week that saw her husband arrested and her home searched by police” and “Celtic look destined to retain the Scottish Premiership title after crushing Rangers’ hopes with a thrilling derby victory”.
Getting there Bard, getting there….
Write me a story about a family of 4 which includes a funny Dad visiting the Giant’s Causeway.
“Once upon a time, there was a family of four who lived in a small town in Ireland. The father, John, was a very funny man. He loved to make his wife, Mary, and their two children, Michael and Sarah, laugh.
One day, John decided to take his family on a trip to the Giant’s Causeway. The Giant’s Causeway is a natural wonder located in Northern Ireland. It is made up of over 40,000 basalt columns that form a series of stepping stones that lead out to sea.
John, Mary, Michael, and Sarah packed their bags and set off on their adventure. They drove for several hours until they reached the Giant’s Causeway. When they arrived, they were amazed by the sight of the giant columns.
“This is incredible!” John said. “I can’t believe we’re actually here.”
“It’s so beautiful,” Mary said.
“It’s like something out of a dream,” Sarah said.
Michael just stared in awe.
The family spent the day exploring the Giant’s Causeway. They climbed on the columns, took pictures, and told stories. John even made up a song about the Giant’s Causeway.
“Oh, the Giant’s Causeway, it’s a sight to see,
With its columns of basalt, it’s a mystery.
How did they get there? No one knows for sure,
But they’re a wonder of the world, that’s for sure.”
The family had a wonderful time at the Giant’s Causeway. It was a day they would never forget.
On the way home, John told his family a story about Finn McCool, the giant who was said to have built the Giant’s Causeway.
“Finn McCool was a giant who lived in Ireland,” John said. “One day, he got into a fight with a giant who lived in Scotland. Finn McCool was so angry that he threw a giant rock at the Scottish giant. The rock landed in the sea and created the Giant’s Causeway.”
Michael and Sarah loved the story. They asked John to tell it again and again.
“Tell us the story about Finn McCool!” they would say.
And John would tell them the story, and they would all laugh.
The family’s trip to the Giant’s Causeway was a memory that they would cherish forever. It was a day filled with laughter, love, and adventure.”