A must-do day trip too few of the most scenic Northern Ireland attractions!
The three attractions we explored were Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, Dark Hedges and the Giant’s Causeway.
In just over an hour’s drive from the capital, Belfast you can reach any one of the 3 spots. They are pretty much in a triangle of about 15 min drive from each other.
The drive on-route itself is absolutely — Wow!
The rope bridge is in the region of Ballintoy and it links the tiny island of carrickarede to the mainland over the Atlantic Ocean. The bridge itself spans a small distance of 20 meters around 30 meters above the rocks below and goes back about 300 years in construction by the Salmon fishermen. The area access is free, but one must pay a fee of Euro 6.50 to cross over the bridge.
The walk to the bridge is about 1 km long, so be prepared with comfortable walking shoes!
On a clear day and with the mind-blowing views in all their glory, the countless photo-stops will definitely make the trip a bit longer.
Once you are closer to the bridge, there are a couple of steps to take you down to the gate where they regulate the number of people on the bridge at any given time. On a crowded day, it will mostly mean a continuous walk on the bridge to the other side with just a quick stop to click your pictures. As it is the same bridge for going and coming, the same applies on the way back from the island to the mainland – so be quick and plan your photo angles!
Onto the next stop…
The Dark Hedges
The gorgeous rows of beech trees were not that popular until they got discovered by the famous Games of Thrones team and has been a popular filming location since then! The Bregagh road even got itself a new name as the King’s Road.
Around late 1700’s James Stuart built a new home and named it after his wife Grace Lynd as the Gracehill House To create an impressive approach to the house he planted over 150 beech trees in two rows, along the entrance road to his estate.
Wonder why are they called the Dark Hedges? Well! Contrary to my bright picture, they actually do block a lot of light and create a dark and eerie vibe around them.
It is free to walk around the area and through the natural tunnel created by the shading trees above.
It is about a 15 min drive from our first stop and around the same distance from the next…
Besides being another famous Game of Thrones location, the Giant’s Causeway is one of United Kingdom’s natural wonder! It is a cluster of about 40,000 interlocked basalt columns, formed as a result of the volcanic fissures in the region.
Walk to the intriguing stone structures is free but for a wholesome experience you must spend some time exploring the visitor center and other sites. The visitor center entrance comes with a fee of Euro 14 for an adult!
The most popular legend associated with this UNESCO World Heritage Site is the story between the Irish Giant — Finn McCool and the Scottish big man — Benandonner. They both detested each other and it is believed that on being insulted by Benandonner, Finn built a stoned path all the way to Scotland which indeed was ripped by Benandonner creating the Giant’s Causeway!
It is easy to get mind-boggled by the natures gift’s to Northern Ireland! Easy to do all three stops in a day’s trip!