And so we come to my last full day in Ireland. After our first night back at Jade's since the beginning of the trip, we made our way back into Northern Ireland. We drove past the Bushmills Distillery on our way to Giant's Causeway.
I'd said from the minute I landed in Ireland that if any one day was going to have good weather I wanted it to be the day we went to Giant's Causeway, as it was one of the first places I'd ever planned to go and I was really looking forward to it. It actually worked - it was a gorgeous day, all day. Sunny and warm and I don't think it rained even once, unless maybe at one point while we were in the car (all of those rides kind of run together).
We had breakfast in the cafe in the visitor's center and then took a bus down to the causeway. It was gorgeous, and I got far too close to the edge trying to get the pictures I wanted, but I somehow managed not to get my camera wet. I also put a coin in a crack between two of the rocks - according to superstition it's supposed to bring you good luck. We climbed around the rocks for a while and Jade told me about the legend associated with the Causeway.
After an hour or so, we went back to the car and went a few miles down the road, to the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. The bridge wasn't as high or scary as I thought it would be, and the scenery was fantastic. The views looked like something out of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. We went across the bridge to Carrick Island. It was tiny but we wandered all around it. I was kind of surprised that they had no fences or anything around the edge of the island. There were a bunch of signs warning that the edge was unstable and there were rocks below, but nothing actually stopping you from going to the very edge.
Once we left the bridge and walked the mile back to the car, we made our way to Belfast. We didn't do anything in particular while we were there. We'd heard of a Pittsburgh bar there that was dedicated to the Steelers so we were going to get lunch there. We managed to find the place with little difficulty but it was closed down - all boarded up and everything. So disappointing! Instead we went to a mall and had lunch there. I can't remember the name of the restaurant but it was excellent. We wandered around the city for a few hours and shopped, and I bought a lot of souvenirs for family and friends.
We eventually left the city, after a fiasco trying to get out of the parking garage where we left the car. We drove past the Harland and Wolff shipyard, where the Titanic was built, though I didn't manage to get any pictures of it. We made it back to Jade's fairly early so I was able to get everything packed up for the trip home.
And that's it for the trip really. I got up super early the following morning to pack up the car and get to the airport for my flight home. Jade dropped me off and I got onto my flight with no difficulties. I flew into New York first, and from there to Pittsburgh where my mom was waiting to pick me up. I definitely was not ready to come home, but I enjoyed the time I had there, and it was definitely the trip of a lifetime. Hopefully I get the chance to go back one day!
1. Me at the entrance to Giant's Causeway
2. Giant's Causeway
3. Me crossing the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge the second time (it was slightly windy!)
4. A picture from before we got to the bridge, showing the island.