Category Archives: Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland and the Giants Causeway

I don’t have too much to say about Belfast.¬† I caught some sort of virus and spent most of the time we were there holed up in the hotel room, sleeping.¬† I did enjoy the Titanic museum.¬† It really covered not only the Titanic, but also the industrial revolution in Northern Ireland and the ship building industry in the UK.¬† There was minimal exposure to Celine Dion.

Street art.IMG_1577

The drive up the coast was fabulous.¬† We had a cold, sunny day and the views got better around every turn.¬† See Bret’s pictures from the trip.¬† We arrived at our destination, Finn MacCool’s right as the weather starting turning back to rainy.¬† Finn MacCool’s is a wee family run pub and guest house.¬† We loved it there.

The Giant’s Causeway


The Giant’s causeway is this 300m stretch of the coast where the rocks look like stacked beehives (Does anyone remember the video game Qbert?) Legend has it, the Giant’s Causeway was built by the giant, Finn MacCool, so he could battle with a Scottish giant, Cuhullin.¬† After building the causeway¬† from Ireland to Scotland, Finn MacCool realized that Cuhullin was much larger than him, so he ran home to his wife, Oona (loosing his shoe in his rush to get home).¬† Oona hid Finn MacCool in a giant cradle.¬† When Cuhullin came to fight Finn MacCool, Oona invited him into the home and showed off their baby,¬† Cuhullin saw the size and strength of the “baby” and was scared back to Scotland.¬† He destroyed most of the causeway during his flight.¬† Leaving only a small stretch on each side:¬† The giant’s causeway in Northern Ireland and Fingal’s cave in Scotland.¬† Of course, there seem to be as many variations to that story as there are basalt columns.

I loved this place…¬† could have stayed there all day if it had been a little warmer and less windy.

IMG_2442 IMG_2450 IMG_2452 IMG_2453 IMG_2479

After we had explored the causeway, we hiked around into the next cove. Passed more cool rocks:


Around the bend, we could see the Chimney Rocks (The chimney to Finn MacCool’s house).


It looked like there once was a path all the way around.


but it was closed off because of a giant landslide.


So, we turned around and made our way (across a much smaller landslide) back to the entrance via the upper route. IMG_2526

An aerial view of the causeway ( that is as close as I get to cliff edges).


The weather was turning a little colder and wetter, so we made one more stop at Dunluce Castle before grabbing some lunch and heading to the Bushmill’s Whiskey Distillery. IMG_2533



This distillery got its license to distill “great quantities of aquavite, usquabagh and aqua composita,” under King James I back in 1608!¬† It had probably been brewing whiskey long before then, however.¬† They have made whiskey under the Bushmill’s label since the late 1700s.¬† We enjoyed the tour and the complimentary whiskey at the end.



Well, mostly, Bret enjoyed the whiskey.  Dinner beverages were more my style.


After dinner, we decided to finish our tour of the night life of Bushmills.  We had started the night before with a pint and a game of snookers at the Bush House, so we finished up with pint at the Scotch House Inn and Bistro.  I have a hard time believing there was any bistro associated with the Scotch house, but we did make some friends.  Barney, sidled up shortly after we walked in and offered up a fist bump to me after telling me how drunk  he was.  The rest of our conversation alternated fist bumps, with him telling me how drunk he was or him asking me the same few questions over and over.  It was quite amusing.  Then, we met Stephen, who was really nice and give us some insight into Bushmills, in general, and the Scotch House Inn, in particular.  It turn out the bar maid at the Scotch House may be the sassiest in the region.  After we finished our pints, we returned to Finn MacCools for some night caps.

The next morning, we picked up early and took the long road back to Cork in some light rain. Super weekend.  We would definitely like to make it up that way again.  Perhaps when the weather is a bit better, but then, it seems, there are a lot more tourists to contend with.

Belfast and Conference

The infamous Hotel Europa which is know as the “most bombed hotel in Europe” and “most bombed hotel in the world” after having suffered 28 bomb attacks during the Troubles.

DSC_0672 DSC_0674 DSC_0679
DSC_0694 DSC_0699
Scotland brought their A-game by providing shots of Scotch during the conference….

Belfast has a very large and impressive Titanic experience. It is kind of weird that such a tragic event is so celebrated…
DSC_0684 DSC_0709
I got to see it twice, once when Emily and I went, and it was part of the conference.