Belfast, Ireland (5.11.10 – 5.13.10)

I arrived at the Belfast City airport, and was thrilled to discover that the airport was only six km from the city center, and that I could buy a day pass for under £3. Once in the center, I texted my CS host to ask when we could meet. He wrote me back and said that he had had a family emergency come up and could no longer host me. I sought an internet connection and found a nearby hostel, and then set off to find it. Upon checking in, I signed up for a trip to the Giant’s Causeway, that would usually cost £18, but was free if you stayed for two nights, which I was already planning on doing.
On Wednesday, I got up and had breakfast, and went to the common room to join the group of people who were waiting for our bus to arrive. After a while, we were on our way, and our first stop was at the Carrick-a-Rede rope-bridge. The bridge joins a small island to the mainland, by a rope bridge, suspended 23m in the air. Our driver warned that if you are remotely afraid of heights then it is not for you, and that he, personally, was terrified of the bridge. I, of course, was now convinced that I would cross. The coastline was beautiful, the land that the bridge led to was pretty, and offered a nice view, but the bridge itself was really no big deal at all. After the bridge, we headed to the Giant’s Causeway, which I found amazing. The Giant’s Causeway is an ancient natural formation of approximately 40,000 basalt columns from a volcanic eruption many years ago. The basalt forms in octagonal columns that stand at varying heights, and it’s truly unique. I could have spent much longer there, but I had to go and eat lunch and get back on the tour bus, because the driver had made it perfectly clear that if you were late, then he would not wait. We went next to the city of Derry, which is a city with a lot of history, due in part to the fact that it saw much of the violence that stemmed from the troubles with the IRA. We went on a city tour that was supposed to be fantastic, but I think had to have been the worst tour I have ever been on in my life. The tour guide was boring and unenthusiastic, and the tour followed a distinct pattern: we would walk for ten minutes, then we would gather round and our guide would speak for about a minute, and then we would start walking again. Tour aside, it was an excellent day, and after the tour of Derry, we got the bus back to the hostel in Belfast. I decided that I had spent enough that day, so I stayed in for the night.
On Thursday, I checked out and headed to the bus station to get the bus to Dublin, where I would be couch surfing for two nights.

Belfast’s magnificent City Hall

The coastline in Antrim, on the walk to the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge.

More picturesque coast

The bridge… it really wasn’t the slightest bit daunting. I was kind of hoping for a rush of adrenaline, or for an inclination of fear… but it just wasn’t a big deal at all.

Twenty-three meters down…

No explanation necessary here…

The Giant’s Causeway was absolutely wondrous, and was one of the most interesting natural sites I’ve ever seen.

Can I get a hell yeah for the auto timer?

And next up, the “rocky road to Dublin (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)”… couldn’t resist quoting the Dropkick Murphys, quoting a classic 19th century Irish song.

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