Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Belfast and the Antrim Coast

A couple weekends ago, Mike and Maggie arrived for a visit and we went to Northern Ireland for a bank holiday weekend. We planned to pass through Belfast and visit a museum or two (depending on time) and then drive up to our B&B near Bushmills in County Antrim. We first visited the Ulster Museum, a really nice, free museum. Just give yourselves some time to find parking! This is a good museum with a wide variety of subject matter. We spent enough time here that we decided to put off the Titanic Experience until our return on Monday afternoon. We drove to Victoria Square for dinner, which is a indoor/outdoor mall area with plenty of parking. We walked around for a bit while we had the light and then picked dinner at St. George's Market Bar and Grill. The food was pretty good here, I would return for another meal. The market looked like a nice market, but only open a few mornings a week. We walked back toward the mall for a milkshake, but too bad everything was shut down by 7pm on a Saturday!

We started our hour drive to the Causeway Tavern B&B. This place is ok. Located very close to the Causeway, and the rooms are typical size. They have a full english breakfast, and he does an ok job with it. The owners are nice enough people and he ended up talking my ear off as we were leaving. We first drove a few minutes to the Giant's Causeway. As advised by a friend, we parked at the railway museum for £6 instead of £32 up the hill. The rain was holding off on our walk out to the causeway, just barely. It was quite a neat area, but as tourists are allowed to go anywhere, they kind of ruin it a little. As we were about ready to head back, the wind and rain started. We had all of our gear, but I hiked Liana up the hill quickly to get out of the wind and rain.

Next we drove to Dunluce Castle. Again, the rain stopped for our visit until we were almost done. This was a neat ruins castle and we enjoyed exploring. On our way out, we saw several rainbows over the water. We decided if we saw a place to eat, we might stop, but we ended up driving to Carrick-a-rede rope bridge. We took the scenic route along the way and stopped along a few docks down near the water.

Mike stayed behind with the kids for the rope bridge. It was raining when we started walking, but again stopped within a few minutes. It was quite windy by the bridge, but were still able to cross. Once on the island, it is mostly blocked off. So after only a few minutes, we headed back toward the car. The bridge is quite sturdy and secure, but pretty high in the air.

We stopped in Ballycastle for some lunch at Thyme and Co., and then drove back to Belfast to find a place for the night. The next day we would visit the Titanic Experience.

Pictures of the Antrim Coast can be found here.

The day we visited was a bank holiday in ROI, so we weren't sure if people may be up visiting, causing long queues. But, we were able to pretty much walk right in to the Titanic Experience, so we got an early start. It isn't cheap, but really covers quite a lot of information. There is just enough to keep kids occupied. Afterward we walked down to the Pumphouse and dry dock where Titanic was built.

Pictures of Belfast can be found here.

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