Travel Talk

Hidden Gems in Norther Ireland to Visit from Belfast

Wanting to utilize my short time in Belfast, I opted to book a day trip that would bring me along the stunning coast line of North Antrim. So I booked 1 of the Giant’s Causeway tours from Belfast i had heard so much about, the tour stops at numerous locations before arriving at the UNESCO World Heritage site.

As you leave Belfast, your guide will provide you with a brief look at city, explaining various landmarks and fun-facts of a city seeping with rich history, from ship building to facts and trivia. This was an unexpected bonus.

Hit the Causeway Coastal Route

It is not long before you reach the Causeway Coastal Route, a journey our guide says is consistently voted as one of the most beautiful coastal drives in the entire world, and you can see why. You have the Irish Sea on your right and the gorgeous Glens of Antrim towering to your left.

The tour is not short of stops in quaint little villages and friendly locals that will instantly give you a desire of wanting to pack up your belongings and move there. Interestingly, a lot of these places were used as backdrops for filming Game Of Thrones, all those locations feature a plaque with details about the episode that was filmed there. Our guide said there is also an option for fans with a Game Of Thrones tours from Belfast if you’re interested in learning about behind the scenes action and visiting more filming locations.

Visit the Giant’s Causeway

Early afternoon we reach the main stop of the day, the Giant’s Causeway. Our guide informed us that the Causeway itself is free but there is a charge if you wish to enter the visitors centre and the gift shop. Before reaching the Causeway, your guide shares the story on how this formation of rocks was built by two feuding Giants, Finn McCool of Ireland and Benandonner of Scotland. Or the alternative, a massive volcano that had erupted millions of years ago, and the way the lava cooled caused the hexagon shape of the stones.

To get down to the Causeway you have the option of paying £1 for a lift on the shuttle bus or a 15 minute walk down. I elected to walk so I could take in more of the scenery leading down to the stones. The tour gives to ample time to explore the ancient stones and even pop into the pub and grab a nice pint of Guinness and ponder whether the Causeway was formed by a volcano or built by a giant.

Tour the Dark Hedges

The tour wasn’t over just yet, before we began our journey back down to Belfast we had a quick photo-op stop at Dunluce Castle and learned of its tragic history and the ghosts that roam its ruin before driving into the countryside for our final stop of then tour The Dark Hedges. Made famous from Game of Thrones, these Beach Trees planted over 200 years ago form an imposing umbrella over a road that once lead to the estate of the Stuart family.

A picturesque final stop on a day filled with the six C’s : castles, caves, countryside, coast, causeway and craic (as the Irish say). An unmissable day trip if you visit Northern Ireland, just sit back and enjoy some of the most stunning sights Northern Ireland has to offer.

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