Thursday, 27 August 2015

Walking in the footsteps of Giants

A while ago friends invited us to visit them at their holiday home in Donegal, so we decided to use the opportunity to see a part of the world that we had only briefly visited before. As regular readers know we are big Game of Thrones fans in this house, so as this trip would give us the chance to see some of the locations used in GoT it was too good an opportunity to pass up.

We flew to Belfast International Airport and headed over to the coast at Larne to start our whistle stop tour. Sadly we were too late to visit the walled gardens of Glenarm Castle so had to make do with a quick peep and a promise to ourselves to return.

Following the Causeway Coast and Glens route we ended up in Ballycastle, which gave us our first GoT connection as it is the birthplace of the actor Conleth Hill, who plays Varys in Game of Thrones.

This beautiful statue on the harbour front represents the Irish legend of the Children of Lir, who were turned into swans by their stepmother and sentenced to spend 900 years living in the loughs of Ireland.

Clearly the same artist was behind this statue at the harbour celebrating the fishing that brought prosperity to the town.

Fishing was the reason for this rather scary rope bridge at Carrick-a-Rede, as it was used by salmon fisherman to access the best places to catch the migrating salmon who passed by. No salmon to be seen nowadays, just the shoals of tourists weaving their way to and from the coach park!
It was daunting enough walking across the bridge with both hands free, I cannot image trying the same trip with one hand clutching a large bundle of salmon, can you?

If these nesting seagulls are anything to go by though, there are still plenty of fish in the sea.

Our next GoT connection was the tiny harbour of Ballintoy, which serves as the Iron Islands harbour for Theon Greyjoy's return.

With scenery like this on the doorstep it is not difficult to reimagine it as Iron Islands.

All that walking worked up an appetite, so we stopped for lunch at the Red Door Tea Room in Ballintoy, where if you ever find yourself I recommend the seafood chowder, it was delicious :)

Of course, we couldn't visit this part of the world without making our way to the main attraction - the Giant's Causeway, where legend has it that the Irish giant, Finn McCool, decided to confront the Scottish Giant, Benandonner, and throws rocks into the sea to create a path across to Scotland. When Finn arrives in Scotland though, he discovers that Benandonner is a bit bigger than he thought, so decides to beat a hasty retreat. Naturally the Scot in me relishes that part of the tale :) Benandonner was, however, deprived of his revenge by Finn's wife who disguised Finn as a baby, upon sight of which, Benandonner decided that if the babies were that size he definitely didn't want to meet the father :)

Even with the inevitable hordes of tourists clambering all over it, the Giant's Causeway is an amazing sight.

There is another unusual sight in this rock formation next to the Causeway, but I will leave you to guess what it is :)

Linking up to

Live A Colorful Life


  1. such a beautiful country I know thy get loads of rain but that is haht makes it so green. I had not heard the tale about the giant causeway good to know what it is all about

  2. Several years ago when visiting our son in Scotland, we spent several days in North Ireland. We spent at least half a day at Giant's Causeway. It is one of the most unusual scenic areas we have ever seen, the formation and shape of the rocks are an amazing sight. We went to that swinging bridge also. Afraid I am not as brave as you were. I do not like swinging bridges anyway, so I did not walk across it. Ireland is a beautiful green area. The owner of the B and B were we stayed told us they had 38 shades of green. i beleive it.

  3. Looks and sounds as if you have a really wonderful trip. I did an almost identical journey, in reverse, about 15 years ago when I had a friend visiting from the US and your post has brought back so many of the wonderful memories I have of that trip. It really is such a beautiful part of Ireland. I must admit thought that while I did find the Giant's causeway really amazing I was a little disappointed by it at the same time, I think because I had imagined it to be so much larger. That said it is alaways on my to visit list whenever I am travelling through that part of the country.

  4. Looks like a fab holiday (yay for friends with holiday cottages!) We've got a whole loads of G o T episodes to catch up on, looking forward to it, not sure I'd have liked that bridge!

  5. I can't even pick a favourite picture from that post - everything looks so awesome and steeped in history - goosebumps! Momma seagulls don't seem to have a lot of room to move around on that wall - I hope the babies behave - they might find themselves learning to fly faster than expected if they get too rambunctious!


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