Saturday, July 18, 2015

Irish Details - the Fourth Day

This day, we finally hiked along a waymarked trail, the Ulster Way.  This was a 10-mile day, and I was doing it on pretty beat-up feet.  But we made it, and in good time!

This walk started out at Ballintoy village and ended at the Giant's Causeway.  There were a few neat stops along the way, including St. Gobbans, which is thought to be the smallest church in Ireland.  Although it sounds like no one's ever checked to be sure!

Yep, it's small!  Right after this, the trail passed around a headland through a hole in the rock face.  This was a really neat stretch of trail, although a little crazy, too.  Back before the church, it looks like a high tide would have made the way impassable.

After this, we walked for quite a way through sheep fields.  It amazed me then and it still amazes me now to think of sheep grazing a few yards away from the ocean.  In fact, I'm guessing they're responsible for these complex spiral paths ...

Soon, we came upon what little is left of Dunseverick Castle.  I believe this isn't even part of the castle proper, but more of an outbuilding or a kitchen.  The castle itself has fallen into the sea, an unfortunate side effect of building that close to the shore.

Soon after Dunseverick, we seemed to walk up and up, around headland after headland, each one a little higher than the last.  Eventually we passed an area called Half Moon Bay, if I recall correctly.

We started somewhere out there in the middle distance, along the flat part of the coast, so you can see how far we've come.  (We were barely half way at this point!)

After a few more miles of lonely rugged coastline, we began to meet more and more people.  This is how we knew we were getting close to the Giant's Causeway.

This is one of the most well-known attractions in Ireland, an area of the coast with hexagonal granite columns stretching out into the sea, in legend the home of the giant Finn MacCool.

I have to say, it's lovely.  But, it was a little underwhelming after three days of exploring just as rugged and just as lovely coastlines.


I did enjoy the rock formation known as the Camel - it's fairly realistic, as far as these kinds of things go!

We ended the day with a really nice tea in our room at the B&B, quite a good restorative.

The pictures were never particularly successful, but this B&B had plenty of bird feeders in their backyard and our room was positioned to see them.  I had a great time watching, and even caught a few life birds that I saw nowhere else on this trip, including the European Goldfinch, and a Common Redpoll.  I'll try to do a separate post for those!

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