Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Ireland - Day 2 (Belfast)

Today's agenda is the Dark Hedges, Giant's Causeway, and the Carrick-a-Rede Bridge.

Breakfast at Gregory House.
At the Gregory House in Belfast, breakfast was included and it is called the Ulster fry. It includes eggs, a slice of peameal bacon, sausage, mushrooms, tomato, soda, potato bread and pancake. Along with croissant, cereal, yogurt, and orange or Apple juice and coffee or tea your own pots! It was surprisingly good and very filling. Not too sure I understand why it is called pudding, but they do taste good. I didn't end up eating most of the breads, I'll remember that for tomorrow.

Dark Hedges.
Dark Hedges, there's a car off in the distance for scale.
We left around 8:30am got the dark hedges around 9:50am. When we left at 10:15am, the tour buses arrived so if you want some pictures with less people, try to make it here before 10:00am. The Dark Hedges are a group of beech trees which were featured in Game of Thrones (which I didn't know) that are really cool looking. Even though Allison knew nothing about the site, she thought it was interesting as well. It is free and there is an area just south of it where you can leave your car and you can walk the site, it takes probably 5-10 minutes to walk from end to end.

Yup, those are cows that Allison is walking towards on a beach.
With that finished, our next stop is Giant's Causeway, although on the way there, I saw the sign for White Park Bay and said that we should stop there since I heard it was nice. It was hazy by the time we got here but I thought it was still nice there. There was a sign and gate saying that there are animals that graze here and we were confused since it is a sandy beach with no sand, what is there to graze? Anyways, we wandered down to the beach which is about a 10-15 minute walk and surprisingly, there were animals grazing! Cows of all animals! What are they doing on beach? Anyways, we took some pictures and left and went to the Giant's Causeway next.

Giant's Causeway. 
Giant's Causeway. 
Giant's Causeway. 
Giant's Causeway.
We arrived at the Giant's Causeway at around 11:45am and lucked out and made it for the 12:00pm tour. It is included in the cost of admission and it takes about one hour and the person talks about what happens and how the formations happened. The person also talks about the folklore behind the site and I thought it was interesting. Worth it is you can time it correctly. The tour actually ends at the Causeway, so you can just wander around and take pictures right after the tour. After the tour, we took a bunch of pictures and did the red trail and finished at around 2:30pm. It is a nice place and worth the price of admissions, however, I thought the site would be massive. Don't get me wrong, the place is big, I just expected bigger.

Jumbo Cod at the top, scallops at the bottom.
Lunch was next and I got some tips to go to Morton's. I know, it is out of the way, but I heard it is good. We made it there at around 3:10pm and it cost roughly 5£ for fish and 3£ for chips. We got the jumbo cod, a side of chips, and some scallops. Right next to the shop is a picnic area with tables since there are no actual tables at Morton's. The seafood was very fresh and the portions are generous and I would recommend it if you are in the area.

Make sure to stop at Maud's for ice cream just down the street. It was roughly 1£ for an ice cream and it is very good ice cream. We tried some honey flavour and it was really really good. We finished by 4:10pm and we drove to Carrick-a-Rede Bridge and made it there around 4:30pm.

Carrick-a-Rede Bridge. 
On the island after walking across Carrick-a-Rede Bridge. 
Carrick-a-Rede Bridge.
With the Carrick-a-Rede Bridge, you pay to cross the bridge, however, the bridge itself is actually a good 10-15 minute walk from the parking lot. So you can walk to the bridge, and determine whether you want to cross the bridge or not. Unfortunately, you can only buy tickets by the parking lot, so you would have to walk back if you decided that you want to.

Booted! Luckily, that isn't me. 
5 of many many sheep in this country.
Drove to Glenariff Forest Park with the idea to visit the falls there and then do the coastal road if it was nice since the weather was hazy all day. Ended up clearing up roughly 30 minutes into the drive and drove the coastal road for about an hour before deciding to just head back to the hotel since it was getting late. We got back at 8:00pm and ended up at the Barking Dog for dinner as suggested by the host of our B&B and it was well reviewed.

Ordered the chorizo and polenta fritters, pork belly bites, olives, and the beef cheeks for the main. With a Madden's mallow cider, it ended up being 41£. Food was okay, not really sure why it reviews for highly. Although, it was really busy even when we came so late.

Dinner at Barking Dog.
Tomorrow, we drive to Galway which is a majority of the day.