Earlier this year we took a road trip up to the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, with a plan to stop off at the Dark Hedges and cross the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge (this last one we didn’t get to do. Word of warning, the last entry for the bridge is at 5:15pm!). We did it all in the one day, driving up from Dublin in the morning, spending the full day taking in as much of the sights as we could, and driving back to Dublin that evening. I really enjoyed every minute of this trip, and I think it’s worth your while to do it. There’s plenty of options for getting there between driving and taking a tour bus, just make sure you give yourself enough time to fit it all in.
If videos are your thing, scroll on down to the bottom of this post and watch to see the incredible views you can catch if you do this trip.
The Dark Hedges are among the most photographed places in Northern Ireland, having become a popular stop-off point for people on road trips in the North of Ireland. The Dark Hedges are essentially an avenue lined with beech trees, made special because of their winding branches , creating a tree-tunnel effect. Legend has it the avenue is haunted by the ‘Grey Lady’. who spends her time flitting in between trees and roaming the road. However, if you visit you’re probably more likely to come across a bunch of other tourists taking selfies. These trees have become iconic thanks to Game of Thrones, which filmed there during their second season. It really is just a line of trees, but it can’t be denied there’s something magical about them.
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If you’ve ever visited Ireland, this was surely on every list of places to visit when you were reading up on where to go. What makes the Giant’s Causeway unique is the result of something that happened over 6 million years ago. Some people say it was a volcanic eruption that created the distinct hexagonal basalt rock formations, but others believe another story entirely.
For those who want to know the myth of how the Giant’s Causeway was created:
Irish giant Finn MacCool needed a way to get across the sea to battle with his rival, the Scottish giant Benandonner. Once he arrived, he discovered Benandonner sleeping, realised how huge he actually is, and changed his mind. He turned around and went back over the causeway home. Benandonner woke up, realised Finn had come for a fight, and crossed the causeway to finish what Finn had started. Finn’s wife came up with a plan to disguise Finn as a baby and told Benandonner that her husband wasn’t home. When Banandonner saw the baby, he thought if Finn’s baby was that big, then Finn himself must be absolutely massive. He turned around and fled home as fast as possible, with such speed and velocity that he ripped up the causeway, leaving behind the formation that we can go and visit today.
It’s up to you which version you want to believe. To me, the fact that we can walk around a place that exists because of a volcanic eruption that occurred 6 million years ago, that’s pretty cool.
This week, a poll taken by the Irish Times found that the Giant’s Causeway was considered one of the most overrated tourist attractions, apparently receiving the highest number of negative comments by readers. I waited a long time to visit, and for my part, I simply couldn’t disagree more. The Giant’s Causeway is more than just a collection of basalt rocks, although I found this such a beautiful and incredible phenomenon that I can’t see how you could be disappointed with it. The Giant’s Causeway is also home to stunning coastal views, a source of mythical stories, and tonnes of history.
If you’re going to visit, try to appreciate all of it. Take your time, look around you, watch the waves, climb the rocks, and listen to the audio guide so you can learn the stories that have passed down through generations for all of us to appreciate today. Stay curious, and you’ll enjoy it!
Video: Dark Hedges & Giant’s Causeway – Byrnewithme
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Have you ever visited the Dark Hedges or the Giant’s Causeway? What did you think?
Images: Dark Hedges image from Pixabay; Giant’s Causeway images taken by Mike Andrews
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Want to learn about more road trips in Ireland? Find more ideas here.