So, I realized after I uploaded the last post that I had completely skipped a day (which is weird because it was my favorite day). I started to go back and edit it and rework the post but I decided to let my error stand and roll with it. I mean, I never claimed to be a perfectionist (as you can tell by the errors you’ve read). Instead I will ask for your forgiveness. I came back with a bit of a cold and being back to work has been a bit of a challenge for more than one reason. While I’m excited to introduce Lemmy, you’re just going to have to wait one more post.
Ok…the real Day 7.
One of the things I knew I wanted to do in going to Ireland was to visit Giants Causeway and the Carrick-a-Reed rope bridge (please do yourself a favor and click on the hyperlinks and read more on these beautiful places). Both of these are located on the coast in Northern Ireland. I knew I had a 5 hour drive each way and I needed to start early if I wanted to get there in time to do both, so I set my alarm for an ungodly hour of the morning (because even in Ireland I’m not a morning person) and set off before the sun rose.
The route I took to get there was the blue route which took me through Belfast. While I really wanted to stop and explore Belfast, I was on a time crunch so I just did a drive by. Also, and I should have realized this before but I would be traveling to another country since Northern Ireland is part of the UK. I had completely forgotten until I got the text message from my cell carrier that said “welcome to the UK, this is what this is going to cost you!” Lol
It was mostly motorway driving with two lane roads the last quarter of the trip. All of it beautiful and scenic with plenty of opportunities to yell out to them, because I really am eternally 5 when it comes to some things and the sun had risen and given me a bit of life.
Once there I parked, bought my ticket, and decided to be a bit lazy and take the bus to the bottom. Man, I am so glad I made that choice.
Once there, my inner 5 year old came out again and I just wanted to climb everything. It’s hard to describe the basalt stone and the pure natural geometry in it. Even the pictures does not do it justice.
Of course, before you could get to the relatively flat and easy to traverse landscape above you had to cross the tumble of death.
As I made my way across it I really wanted to know the number of broken bones they see each year.
I loved hopping and jumping from stone to stone as I got closer and closer to the edge where the waves were crashing. Ok, I kinda wanted to get a bit wet. Hello….5!
It was about this point that I spotted a really cool tide pool with something inside that i really wanted to check out. This was also the point where the life guards noticed how close to the edge I was getting and started hollering at me. I pretended to not hear them but I tend to be a very honest person and in the end I turned back. This was the best I could do for a picture of the tide pool from afar.
Thwarted in my attempts at being dangerous, I just hopped and jumped around the rocks trying to get higher and higher.
It was at this point that I just sat down and watched the people around me. Children skipping over the stones with fleet feet like mountain goats, whole families helping each other to that perfect spot for their family portrait. A wizened woman smiling on as her grandson tries to coax her up the stones. It was a beautiful setting, a truly lovely day, and not for the first time this trip I felt so utterly and completely alone.
That’s the thing about being in my profession, while you get used to seeing the world and not being able to share it, when it comes to the truly magical moments, that is when loneliness can hit you like a punch to the chest and make you ache for days. This is how I felt. I knew I could share the story and the pictures but I can’t share the sounds, smells, and the feel of the place. That kind of sharing can only be experienced with someone else, and when its someone special to you, that just increases the magic.
Ah well at this point in my life, sitting on theses rocks looking at this amazingly wonderful place, I know I can at least share this magic with my kids one day and that will be enough for me.
When my thighs were starting to burn with the strain of all the climbing, and my balance got a bit wobbly, I knew I was done. I made it safely back to the bus stop, rode back to the top, and headed for my next destination.
A short 7km away from Giants Causeway is Carrick-a-Reed Rope Bridge. While a small attraction, how can I not cross the ocean on a rope bridge? I mean, it’s me.
Once there I parked and paid my admission and set off on the 1km hike down to the bridge. The view from the path was just lovely.
Once there, you go down a set of stairs and then make you way one at a time over the bridge. They ask you not to stop to take a picture on the bridge until your return trip.
I loved watching how each person crossed the bridge because everyone was different. It’s neat to watch people overcome their fears to do something which takes them out of their comfort zone.
Once it was my turn, I crossed as slowly as I could and just looked down into the water and rocks below and just marveled at the feeling of being suspended by a bunch of rope and some boards. I mean, it’s sturdy enough obviously but still, it’s brilliant.
Much of the island was closed due to rains and other reasons (which I’ve since forgotten) so I couldn’t explore much.
I could however sit there for hours and just enjoy the day if it was a bit warmer. That day it was 9 Celsius or about 48 Fahrenheit with a decent wind off the ocean.
When it was time to cross back, I totally took my time and took pictures.
I even tried a selfie but to be honest it’s not that great because I was a bit paranoid about dropping my phone and it falling into the ocean. That would have been the worst.
Side note, this is the first day I wore my winter jacket. I had just worn a hoodie up until this point but this day required the extra warmth.
A short hike back up the hill to the car and I was back on the road. I decided I wanted to take a different route home since I had a choice so I took the coastal route back. I didn’t get to see a lot since the sun sets pretty early in Ireland in winter but they were still roads I had never traveled and that’s the point of an adventure.
I made it back to the golf village around Midnight, feeling a bit peckish as I didn’t really eat since breakfast. I made a quick dinner and headed to bed with the plan to rest the next day and clean and do laundry before heading back to Dublin.
Now we’re really caught up, all the days are straight, and more importantly you get to meet Lemmy tomorrow. I love Lemmy.