Northern Ireland

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A rare photo together at the Giant’s Causeway

Our second day in Ireland, we took a day tour from Dublin to Northern Ireland. We booked the trip through Paddy Wagon Tours, and our tour guide was really funny, explaining Irish customs, history, the Irish obsession with the weather, and his experiences crossing the border into Northern Ireland in his youth (big guns and security check points in the old days).

Northern Ireland is incredibly scenic, and one of my favorite spots was the Dark Hedges, a spooky line of trees planted in the 18 century.

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You might also recognize this narrow road of trees as the King’s Road on Game of Thrones.

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From there, we headed on to the Causeway Coast, where we could see views of Scotland (13 miles away) and a small island called Rathlin. We also walked across the famous Carrick-A-rede Rope Bridge, which is just a little bit scary on a windy day.

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Just don’t look down

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Sean, contemplating the ocean…

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Our next stop was the Giant’s Causeway, a natural phenomenon of 40,000 interlocking perfectly shaped hexagonal stone pillars, formed by earthquake and lava flows about 50 million years ago.

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We took about a hundred photos here, but you know what? All the pictures pretty much feature the same hexagonal pillars.

There is also museum on the spot with some interesting information, but the real star of course is the site. If you go here, make sure you wear comfortable and sturdy shoes with non-slip soles as those stones get pretty slick!

Overall, this was a fantastic tour. It was affordable and interesting, and at the end of the day, it conveniently leaves you back in the center of Dublin, right across from a fun cozy old pub called O-Neill’s Bar.

We decided to eat dinner here and chose from a buffet line of traditional Irish food. Sean had the lamb stew with mashed potatoes and I got the roast chicken. The best thing about this pub is that some of the tables have personal beer dispensers at the table!

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If you find yourself strapped for time in Ireland, please make space in your schedule to visit Northern Ireland. There are several tour companies that will drive you to all the best spots. I usually don’t like organized tours, but was worth it. It was beautiful and I’m really glad we did it.

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