There are few places in the world where you can see something that was built by a giant.
When you visit the Emerald Isle, you have the chance to visit two countries if you make your way up North. Northern Ireland is home to castles, mountains and valleys, stunning coastal views, and built-by-giants structures. More on that later!
There were places in Northern Ireland that I really wanted to see, including the Giant’s Causeway, so I took a day trip from Dublin to Norther Ireland with Love Ireland.
Here’s how to make the most of your tour to Northern Ireland!
What To Expect on the Giant’s Causeway Tour
The day included photo stops at the Dark Hedges and Dunluce Castle, and lots of time to explore Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, the Giant’s Causeway, and Belfast city.
Northern Ireland is an incredibly beautiful country, with numerous opportunities for great photos, and tons of familiar places for Game of Thrones fans! Keep your camera close, and dress in layers so that you’re ready for all the different landscapes you’ll experience.
Going with a tour group is a fantastic way to go because there is a fair bit of driving between locations. Rather than driving yourself, you get to look out the window while the driver tells stories from Northern Ireland’s history.
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
The Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge has taken many forms over the years. Originally, fishermen used the bridge to reach carrickarede island to fish for salmon. It only had one railing back then!
The tour gives you about 1.5 hours here. Once you’re off the bus, make your own way along the coastal trail to the bridge. I recommend going straight away! It’s a beautiful 15 minute walk, and you will want to enjoy the island and the views for as long as you can.
It’s not as scary as it looks! Just don’t look down 😉
Legend of the Giant’s Causeway
Many years ago, giants walked the earth… (story time!)
The Irish Giant Finn McCool and the Scottish Giant Benandonner were constantly fighting from afar, hollering at each other from across the water.
One day, Finn McCool decided to challenge Benandonner to a fight. He built the Giant’s Causeway so that he could cross the sea, intending to sneak up on Benandonner. As he approached, he realized that Benandonner was much, much bigger than he was. Finn turned around, and ran back home. Benandonner caught a glimpse of Finn running away, and came after him.
Finn heard thumping footsteps behind him, and sprinted across the Causeway, Benandonner in pursuit. Finn made it home, sweating and talking fast, and told his wife what he had seen. His wife ran to the closet, and came back with a bonnet and shawl, disguising Finn as a baby.
When Benandonner knocked on the door a minute later, Finn’s wife answered it.
“Finn isn’t here,” she told Benandonner. “It’s just my son and I.”
Benandonner’s eyes widened. If this was Finn’s infant son, how big was Finn McCool? Benandonner turned around and ran back to Scotland, stomping away parts of the the Causeway as he went.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the Giant’s Causeway came to be.
Connect with me on Instagram!
Visiting the Giant’s Causeway
I know that I just told you the Causeway was built by Giant’s – I’m sticking to that story, but there’s another possible explanation.
Science would have you believe that the formation of the Giant’s Causeway began 60 million years ago, when tectonic plates were stretched apart by volcanic activity. Magma spewed to the surface, and is it cooled off cracks formed, causing the pillar-like structure.
Still think it was actually the Giant’s? (Yep, me too).
There is a shuttle there to take you down to the Causeway, or you can walk down yourself. You will need small change if you want to take the shuttle. The walk is about 20 minutes, and I loved seeing the transition of different rock types along the way. I recommend skipping the Visitors Centre and spending all of your time at the Causeway itself. It’s spectacular, one of the most breathtaking geological formation you will ever see. The bus driver will tell you all about the Causeway on the drive over, so use your time there to explore.
If you love legend’s like this one, you might also be interested in visiting Newgrange and Hill of Tara!
Belfast Black Cab Tour
The last stop on the tour was the city of Belfast. Most of the group chose to explore the downtown, while a few of us took up the offer to go on the Black Cab Tour.
Belfast went through a period of political turmoil known as the The Troubles, from 1968-1968. The Black Cab Tour focuses on this political history. It is shocking to see how the political issues that people fought over during the Troubles still effect their lives today.
22 walls run through the city of Belfast, to help prevent further conflict. On the tour, you’ll see some of these walls, and the bold political murals that decorate them. Parts of the tour were absolutely shocking, and I think it’s important that anyone who visits Northern Ireland learns this history.
- This tour is not included. It’s an additional 15 Euro / 10 Pounds.
Visiting the Giant’s Causeway
I visited the Giant’s Causeway with Love Ireland. The tour departs and returns to Dublin. Love Ireland has a few options for visiting the Giant’s Causeway, in the form of day trips and multi-day tours.
- all transportation is included, and there are no additional entry fees (outside of the optional Black Cab Tour).
- there is a stop to buy lunch right before visiting the Giant’s Causeway.
Have you been to Carrick-a-Rede, the Giant’s Causeway, or Belfast? Most importantly, do you believe the Causeway was built by Giant’s or science?
Thanks to Love Ireland for inviting me on the Giant's Causeway Tour! All opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.