Touring the Wild Atlantic Coast in Northern Ireland: 3 Things to See in Any Weather

The Irish Causeway runs a snaky 120 miles (192 Kilometres) along the northern coast of Ireland, from Belfast to Londonderry. This isn’t a trip where the goal is to get anywhere, in fact, the route loops and reconnects with itself often enough that you could drive it several times and have a different experience each time. When you travel to Ireland there is no need to check the weather in your computer. It will definitely rain! It’s just a matter of when.
I use an iPad app called the Met Office – it tracks the weather and shows the local radar situation. That way, I can see where everything seems to be moving. In Ireland, playing weatherman is a bit of a minor sport. For the Causeway tour, I’d still go if it were a bit blustery, even if there were spotty rain and here are three places I would never miss:

1. The Giant’s Causeway
The legend of a giant building a walkway to Scotland rings true when you see all the blocks laid out in neat hexagons extending into the surf. A windbreaker and scarf is a good idea here because you are moving along the coast westward toward the Atlantic. You can still climb over and along the basalt blocks, and the adventurous can get close enough to the water for authentic Irish salt-spray to dampen their hair. To be honest, the Giant’s Causeway is best seen when there’s some gloom in the air and a chill breeze off the Atlantic. For one thing, gloom cuts down on other tourists, but more importantly, it gives the basalt columns an other-worldly, fantasy feeling that adds to the surrealness of it all. When they dry out, the hexagons go lighter gray. The mist and spray from a troubled ocean gives them the dark, brooding look of an angrier stone.

Giants Causeway
Giants Causeway

2. The Glens of Antrim
Castle Glens Antrim
Castle Glens Antrim
The Glens of Antrim, known in Ireland as the Glens, are 9 valleys and National Parks that open to the sea. The first highlight is quite near Belfast, Carrickfergus Castle on shore of Belfast Lough. Shortly afterward there’s a choice, loop upwards to Islandmagee or cut off the loop and continue to Carnfunnock Country Park. This is a great place to stretch and wander the gardens. It’s also a good place to get up close to the coast for some pictures. Then it is back in the car and up to Glenariff Forest Park where you have your lunch – and the sea somehow makes the simplest fare taste wonderful. Glenariff is where you’ll find the Waterfall Walkway, a three mile walk through to the coast where you can see some of Ireland’s most beautiful scenery.

3. Ballycastle And Bushmills
Northern Ireland Atlantic Coast
Northern Ireland Atlantic Coast
I can recommend Ballycastle as a good place to stop for an hour or so of rest. Ballycastle has a beach and a path – The Gray Man’s Path – that wanders along the coast and there are a few nice pubs to choose from. The Central is considered one of the best for seafood in the whole area.
Dinner should be in Bushmills where you will see one of the most famous Irish distilleries. The village used to have a mill and the houses have kept the old look – huge beams and antiques everywhere you turn. This is a place worth the drive in any weather. Live singing adds to your meal, and if you order the traditional Irish stew it is thick enough to stand your spoon upright in!
About Alex: Alex makes a living at businessopportunitiesexpo.com, a site that helps people connect and find new business ideas. He also sponsors his travel adventures from his blog where he offers Norton antivirus coupons. You will find him travelling in Ireland in any weather.

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One Response
  1. Caroline Oceana Ryan says:

    This is a very helpful article for those thinking of exploring the stunning natural beauty of Northern Ireland. The photo of “Castle Glens, Antrim” is similar to the one I used for the cover of my book. People are now exploring the Northern counties, as well as the southern counties of the Republic of Ireland. The North is full of treasures – natural beauty, wonderful theatre and shops, fun pubs, and the kind, warm-hearted people of the North, who welcome visitors wholeheartedly.

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