0635 Start boarding outside Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane
0645 Leave Parnell Square North and head to Belfast, on the bus our guide will tell you Irish legend, myths and some history
0850 Quick stop at a service station as a restroom break and for getting snacks and coffee to break up the drive.
1015 Arrive at the DARK HEDGES and get around 10 – 15 minutes here
Planted 350 years ago, this lane of beech trees is definitely a site to behold. A dream location for any amateur photographer. Not to mention a nice little break to stretch your legs while walking from one end of the lane to the other while taking pictures that will envy all your friends on Facebook. If you get lucky, you might even get a picture of the grey lady that is haunting the hedges (we think she is tending to them and this might be the reason they are more than a hundred years older than breech trees would normally get). Just our opinion. There is a reason why the Dark Hedges has been one of the most photographed natural phenomena in Northern Ireland for the last 30 to 40 years.
1035 Driving past BUSHMILLS DISTILLERY
This distillery was licensed by King James back in 1608. Giving Bushmills Distillery over 400 years to figure out how to make the best whiskey in the world.As Bushmills Distillery has stopped giving out free shot of whiskey at the Distillery since 7 Sep this year, we will not be making a stop there anymore. Without the free shots of whiskey, the Distillery is only an overpriced gift shop. As everything (including the whiskey) they sell in the gift shop can be easily found in Dublin, we will instead add this time onto the tour so you can have more time at the other stops. Our guide will still be sharing with you how they make whiskey in Ireland and whisky in Scotland though.
1110 Stop at DUNLUCE CASTLE for 10 minutes for photos
The most beautiful castle ruin in Northern Ireland and definitely worth the 5-minute photo stop. The reason this castle is a ruin is because the kitchen fell into the ocean and the owners didn’t feel safe staying. On our tour you will have the opportunity to see for yourself why this was even possible while taking a photo that makes even the worst photographer a good one.
1115 Arrive at the GIANT’S CAUSEWAY and get around 1.5 hours here
The Giant’s Causeway was formed in the aftermath of a volcanic eruption around 50 to 60 million years ago, leaving 40,000 interlocking basalt columns. The uniqueness of this attraction is what led to its becoming a UNESCO world heritage site. As the “8th wonder of the world”, you cannot afford to not visit the Giant’s Causeway while in Ireland.
But then there is always an alternative explanation. For the Giants Causeway, we tend to believe the story where it was built by the Irish Giant Finn McCool.
As you are probably aware, the Irish had a giant called Finn McCool (the owner of our company :-) ) and the Scottish had a giant called Benandonner. As most people know, giants don’t like each other. So the two giants spent their days hurling insults at each other across the Irish sea. Then one day, Finn McCool had enough of this. He decided to built himself a bridge over to Scotland to fight Benandonner.
Getting to the other side, he realised Benandonner was massive and probably twice his size. Finn returned to Ireland to let his wife Oonagh helped him in the deceiving Benandonner into thinking Finn McCool was a massive giant.
If you want to hear our unique version of how the Giant’s Causeway was formed, I guess I will see you on our next tour!
1315 Arrive at the CARRICK-A-REDE ROPE BRIDGE (cross for free if it is open) and spend around 1 hour 20 minutes there
This bridge was used by fishermen for the last 300 years to catch salmon in a very unique way. The reason it was possible has to do with the size of the chasm between Carrickarede Island and the mainland. Salmon got confused thinking it is a river mouth, so they would swim upstream into the fishermen’s nets. This would give the local fishermen massive hauls of salmon. Unfortunately, this type of fishing had a detrimental effect on the salmon population in Northern Ireland.
Now it is a tourist attraction owned by the National trust. The current bridge at Carrick-a-Rede is 66ft long and 98ft high hanging over a chasm and can be crossed from the mainland to spend a little bit of time on the Carrickarede Island. This is definitely not for the faint-hearted and is truly an accelerating experience crossing this moving bridge. When the Rope Bridge is open, you will be able to cross it without paying anything extra.
1445 Arrive at CUSHENDUN and spend around 20 minutes here.
This picturesque village is not just an absolutely beautiful village, but also the closest point between Ireland and Scotland. On a clear day, sight of Scotland looks like it is only a few miles away instead of the 15.5 miles that it actually is. Our wonderful funny guide will also tell you the story of Ireland’s most famous goat. You can even take a picture of his statue.
1515 As we start heading back to Belfast, we will take one of the most beautiful part of the drive of the day – crossing through and over the GLENS OF ANTRIM.
As we cross between the glens and drive on the side of Glendun, you will have amazing views of Glenariff and also down at the valley below. Crossing through wood plantation with amazing views as far as the eye can see when we get to the top of the glens.
1700 Arrive in BELFAST and spend around 45 minutes here.
As compact as Belfast city centre is as a legacy of the troubles, this is more than enough time to get a very good feel for one of the greatest cities in Europe (our opinion). You will have more than enough time to explore the important and impressive sites in the city centre – take pictures of the impressive City Hall, walk down the main shopping streets, maybe get breakfast, and get ready for a fantastic day of sightseeing. Note that Northern Ireland is part of the UK and uses Pound Sterling.
*Please note that all times are approximate. The locations might be visited in a different order, depends on traffic and weather.
**As people don’t want to spend that much time in the cold countryside, when it starts getting cold, we might give a little bit less time at the Giant’s Causeway and add the time onto the Belfast stop.