Castles before the Causeway.

We left early from our little B&B in Loch Lomond with a mission to be in Stanraer by noon to catch the ferry over to Northern Ireland. Though of course, we had a do one last castle in Scotland and did a flying visit through Culzean Castle, which was absolutely magnificent.

The grand Culzean Castle. Behind her is the ocean!
The grand Culzean Castle. Behind her is the ocean!

The entire property included a walled garden, a swan pond, deer paddocks and of course, the grandest looking castle I’ve seen in Scotland! The Culzean Castle is the former home of Marquess of Ailsa, the chief of Clan Kennedy.

The entrance gates to the Culzean
The entrance gates to the Culzean

The most impressive rooms were the armoury rooms and the grand oval staircase. It was unfortunate that we had to rush through because you could easily waste a day there enjoying the royal vibes.

A canoe bed! Looks pretty cosy!
A canoe bed! Looks pretty cosy!
One wall in the armoury room. Thats a whole lotta pistols!
One wall in the armoury room. Thats a whole lotta pistols!
A royal stag.
A royal stag.

Jumping on the freeway, we managed to make it to the ferry dock with five minutes to spare. Mum and Dad with their forward thinking had booked us into Premium Loading so we drove straight onto the ferry and had first pick of seats onboard. Go parents!

The ferry ride was uneventful but pleasant as we had scored lounge seats right near the window. Definitely opt for Premium Loading if you’re taking the ferry from Scotland to Ireland, well worth the extra pounds! It took about two and a half hours to reach Larne and us Premium Loading folks were first off the ship. There were about four or five guys with their Ferrari’s and other super fast cars that I know nothing about surrounding us. They had been revving their engines, showing off when we were loading and disembarking. It backfired on one guy in a red Ferrari though, his clutch stopped working just before the disembarking begin, leaving him a little red-faced!

We left the embarrassed Ferrari guy behind and speeded up towards Bushmills, where we would be staying for the night. We had plans to see the Giant’s Causeway the following morning but decided it would be better to visit in the fading sunlight, and boy, weren’t we correct.

Driving towards Bushmills
Driving towards Bushmills

The Giant’s Causeway is essentially a free attraction to see. You can pay to visit the information centre and have a tour guide, but seriously, all you want to do is see the crazy rock formations in real life. We walked down the Causeway, (which was actually a bit of a hike!) admiring the green, lush coastline. As we reached the Giant’s Causeway, it was hard not to be in awe of what nature can create.

Walking to the Giants Causeway
Walking to the Giants Causeway

The 40,000 interlocking basalt formations spread themselves along the coastline and the hexagonal shaped rocks are somewhat similar to bee’s honeycomb. The formations are a result of a volcanic eruption about 50 million years ago. Though, like most natural wonders, there is a legend about how it way created.  According to Gaelic mythology, the basalt columns are the remains of a causeway created by the Irish giant Fionn man Cumhaill (Finn MacCool). After being challenged to fight by Scottish giant Benandonner, Fionn accepted and built the causeway across the North Channel so the two giants could meet. In some stories, Fionn wins the battle, though in others he loses and destroys the causeway so no more battles can occur. Whatever way the story ended, the result of the rock formation has fascinated humans for many years.

Result of volcanic eruption or leftovers of a giant's path to battle?
Result of volcanic eruption or leftovers of a giant’s path to battle?
Admiring the honeycomb rocks
Admiring the honeycomb rocks

We climbed and clambered over the honeycomb shaped rocks and watched the sky turn all shades of gold and blue with the disappearing sun. Definitely was a smart choice to visit in the late afternoon.  We caught the last bus back up the hill and drove the 200 metres to where we were staying for the night, at the Ballylinny Holiday Cottages.

Seeing more of Northern Ireland tomorrow!

 

J. x

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