Many visitors to Ireland like the idea of getting out of Dublin and seeing some more of the country, but there isn’t always time to spend multiple days doing it. The good news is, Darby O’Gill Tours does a lovely day tour up to Northern Ireland!
The tour begins at 7:30am at the Custom House Quay and drives up North to the Giant’s Causeway. The Causeway is a beautiful natural land formation of basalt rock columns that formed thousands of years ago. It is one of the largest basaltic rock fields of its kind, and is made up of 40,000 columns!
The famous legend of the Giant’s Causeway says that a gentle giant named Finn lived at the Causeway many years ago. Finn and another giant from Scotland, named Benandonner, got into a big fight and decided to have a contest to find out who was the stronger of the two. In order to make the contest possible, Finn began to build the causeway as a long road so that he could cross over to Scotland for the competition. However, while he was building it he got so tired that he fell asleep! When he woke up, he heard huge pounding footsteps. Finn knew that it was Bennandonner coming to attack him! Thinking quickly, his wife dressed Finn in a bonnet and nightgown and put him to bed. When Bennandonner arrived, he saw Finn and mistook him for a little baby. He became terrified, thinking that if the baby was that large then how much bigger must Finn be! He was so scared that he ran all the way back to Scotland, shattering the Giant’s Causeway as he ran. Today, the rock formations along the coast are all that are left of the road Finn built to Scotland.
After you’ve seen Finn’s handiwork (and don’t worry, if you see him he’s a very friendly giant!), the tour will take you out to Carick-a-Rede rope bridge. The bridge is an old bridge used by fisherman to cross over to one of the islands off the coast! Today visitors can cross the same bridge for some beautiful views out to see.
Next, the tour stops by the Barn Café for lunch. The café has a delicious variety sandwiches, soups, and traditional Irish meals. After lunch, the bus heads over to the Dark Hedges. The Dark Hedges are a beautiful row of trees along the road which were planted by the Stuart family to impress visitors on their way up to the Stuart mansion. Today, the Dark Hedges are a much visited tourist attraction because of their use as a filming location for the hit TV series Game of Thrones.
On your way back down to Dublin the tour will stop by Dunluce Castle for a photo opportunity. The castle is mostly in ruins, but it’s an interesting piece of history for visitors to explore! The tour arrives back in Dublin at 6:30pm outside the Gresham Hotel, just in time for dinner or a welcoming cup of tea back at Ariel House.
Next week I’ll be writing about another lovely place to spend a day in Northern Ireland – Belfast! See you then!