Ireland 2009, Part Four: The North, Continued

Continuing our drive northward, we left Donegal behind and headed to Inishowen. Along the way, we stopped at Glenveagh National Park, site of a quite beautiful castle, even if the guy who built it wasn’t so nice.

The castle, and its pool, which used to be heated.

Lisa was ready to move in to the master gardener’s cottage.

Just a small fraction of the gardens at Glenveagh.
We continued on for our quick one night at the fancy Carlton Redcastle hotel (with indoor pool!), and then took the Foyle ferry over to the North.

The sea was decidedly calmer in this area.

After a quick stop at Mussenden Temple (built right on the cliff’s edge, of course), it was on to the Giant’s Causeway. We took the little train that ran from Bushmill’s to the Causeway, and Evan had a blast, of course.

Shane, the engine. Not Thomas.

The visitor center for the Causeway is at the top of the hill, and of course they have shuttle bus to take you to the big deal. We decided to walk down instead and take in the scenery.

The Giant’s Causeway is this crazy formation of volcanic basalt columns. The tops of the columns look like giant steps leading down from the cliffs, and were formed 50-60 million years ago by ancient volcanic eruptions. Crazy.

Climbing up the columns.

For some reason, I thought there would be a way down on this side. Not so much.

I had to leave Ellie at the top and lead them down one at a time. It was steep!

The next day we took a tour of the Bushmills Distillery. They didn’t allow pictures inside, so this is all you get. After a side trip to a seaside playground and some ice cream, we headed out to Cushendall, a well known fairy stomping ground.

Ellie wore her fairy shirt at tea time to get in the mood.

This double rainbow was just one of seven we saw that day. Something was definitely afoot.

Near the ruins of Layd Church, Ellie discovered…

the fairies had left her a gift of special fairy dust! She was pretty excited.
We got a little lost in Glenariff Forest Park on the way back to our B&B, but eventually made it back after a long and scenic side trip. Next, it was on to our last stop, Dublin!