Sunday, August 2, 2015

Irish Details - the Fifth Day

This was our last scheduled day of walking, but we decided to go off-course a little bit by visiting Bushmills Distillery, and then making up the time by catching a ride up to Dunluce Castle with our B&B hostess.

Bushmills claims to be the oldest distillery in Ireland, at least for one that's been in continuous production.  Their original license was issued in something like 1604!  In any case, the grounds were lovely, and the products tasty.

Some British pound notes are printed by the Bank of Ireland.  These notes have the Bushmills building on the reverse side.

At the end of the tour, you're welcome to a complimentary tasting of whiskey.  If I remember correctly, the one on the left is a Reserve that you can only get there, at the distillery.  I like bourbon, so I suspected I'd like this stuff, and I was right, I do!

Next, we were off to Dunluce Castle.  Unlike Dunseverick, this one is mostly there.  Dunluce was the seat of the O'Donnells.  They abandoned the castle sometime in the 1600s, when part of the kitchens fell into the sea, taking people with it.  

Above is the view from the courtyard and stables, looking down to the main residential portions of the castle.  The next photo shows the interior of the castle itself.

You can see how precariously a great deal of the castle is perched:

As we were wrapping up our time here, it started to rain.  Not just drizzle, but actual strong rain with a nice cold breeze to whip it around.  We contemplated walking the 9 miles to our B&B for the night, or the 3 miles to the nearest town to catch a bus, but neither seemed like a great idea (at this point, Justin was starting to feel pretty rough from a stomach bug, and I had a deep blister the size of Kansas on my foot).  Staff at the castle advised us that buses do come right by the castle's gates, but the next one wouldn't be there for another two hours.

We could have been in an uncomfortable position, but fortunately for us, an adorable little tea shop sits right outside the front gates of the castle.  We had some wonderful soups and frou frou drinks while we waited for the bus.

These were chai lattes, and very delicious on a cold day.  The cottage also had a peat fire, which was just the perfect thing.

After this, we were able to catch the bus with little fuss and make it out to Portstewart for our last night in Northern Ireland.  The weather was a little better, with sun breaking through betwixt and between rain showers.

This was the view from the little fast food restaurant we found dinner in, on Portstewart Strand.  This is looking westward, toward Mussenden Temple.  A nice, relaxing way to end a long day.  So, it turns out we didn't walk much at all on our last day of hill walking, but that was okay.  Other walkers doing the same itinerary were staying at our B&B and told us it was a miserable slog, so we're glad we skipped it!

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