Classic Car Road Trip: Causeway Coast, Northern Ireland
Going on a road trip can be a good way to clear your head when you need a break. Ireland is a beautiful place and a picturesque route to take is along the Causeway Coast. From quaint fishing villages, to rolling valleys, the Causeway Coast features some of Ireland’s best scenery. You can follow the road from Belfast to Derry and see plenty of sights, such as the Giant’s Causeway and Carrickfergus Castle.
Once you’ve left Belfast, your first stop can be Carrickfergus Castle. The Norman structure has stood tall for more than 800 years, being one of the best preserved medieval locales in Ireland. It was built in 1177 by John de Courcy, who ruled as a petty king until 1204. In 1210, the English took control when King John laid siege. The castle offers breathtaking views of Belfast Lough.
Carnfunnock Country Park
When you want to take a breather from driving, Carnfunnock Country Park is a great place to relax. The park features colourful gardens to explore, including a walled garden with sundials and wooden sculptures. The park has seasonal events, such as falconry, wildlife spotting and art activities.
You can hop on a ferry and visit Rathlin Island, a place steeped in history and lore. A famous tale from Rathlin involves the Scottish King Robert the Bruce. When he was driven from Scotland by Edward I, he took refuge on Rathlin. While he was there, Robert watched a spider battle to connect a bridge between its webs again and again. This inspired him to return to Scotland and take back his crown.
There’s also the chance to see unique wildlife, such as puffins who roost on the island between April and July.
Considered one of the greatest natural wonders in the world, the Giant’s Causeway is made up of thousands of basalt columns. The phenomenon was created by volcanic activity that dates back 50 to 60 million years ago, but there have been many legends surrounding the area. One of the most popular is that the causeway was built by the Irish giant Finn MacCool. Some of the most notable structures include the Giant’s Eyes and the Giant’s Harp.
Another castle that’s worth checking out is Dunluce. Located high above the County Antrim cliffs, the structure was built in the 13th century. Irish and Scottish clans had battled over the castle for centuries, with one of the most prominent families being Clan MacDonnell of Antrim. The castle has enjoyed contemporary fame by being featured as the home of House Greyjoy in the Game of Thrones TV series.
Derry is brimming with history and culture, being the only walled city in Ireland. Take a walk around the walls for wonderful views of Derry and beyond. Other landmarks include the ornate Guildhall, with its neo-gothic architecture. If you’re planning to travel in October, then be sure to stick around for the popular Halloween festival.
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