Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ireland: Dunluce Castle and the Giant's Causeway

(Ahem... still cranking this stuff out... our May trip to Ireland.) After Belfast we kept heading north up to the Antrim coast and went to the seriously amazing ruins of Dunluce Castle. The wind was intense. Super intense. I don't think I mentioned on here that I FORGOT to bring a baby carrier for Maeve. I was so ticked at myself. I can't remember the last time we took a stroller on a trip... we always just wear her. But, not this time! Really she wanted to walk mostly, anyway, but in the mini-gales that we encountered on this trip, it would have been nice to have her tucked against me. And as we were walking around somewhat treacherous sites, it would also have been nice to have her securely... secured. Anyway, Dunluce Castle.

Just a ruined shell of a castle that we had lots of fun running through, and up and down stairs, and looking at the gorgeous coastline from its shells of windows.
See? Gorgeous coastline. The sea was just so... frothy. Angry. It was very cool.
A wind tunnel of sorts we came across. You could almost lean right into it and hover above the grate, the wind was so strong. Bran had to pee right before this. Really badly. He peed in a deserted corner where there were weeds growing, but how funny would it have been if he tried to pee here? Funny to look back on, I mean...
After exploring IN the castle, we walked down these skinny stairs to look at the Mermaid's Cave underneath the castle. Shrieking wind, pounding waves... it was crazy.
Ahhhh... just beautiful!
The legend behind the Giant's Causeway is that Finn McCool, Irish hero extraordinaire, also sometimes billed as a giant, built this bridge to reach Scotland, because the giant over there had challenged him to a fight. Before that happened, Finn got word of the Scottish giant's true size and strength, and was a little perturbed. His clever wife, however, knitted him a gigantic bonnet, booties, and nightgown, and tucked him in an equally gigantic cradle. When his Scottish rival came pounding on the door, she invited him in and courteously asked him to keep his voice down while he was waiting for Finn to return, as their small baby was asleep. The Scottish giant took on look at their "small baby" and decided there was no way he was fighting the father of that little tyke. He took off across the causeway for home, tearing the stones up as he ran so that Finn couldn't follow him. And THAT is that. The real (boring) explanation is that these are interlocking basalt columns, the result of a volcanic eruption a long, long, long time ago...
Bran and Nuala loved it. We actually spent a long time there, hopping from stone to stone, watching the waves, keeping Maeve out of every. single. darn. puddle. It was still windy and chilly, but the whole coastline is soooooo pretty. It was kind of a long walk from the visitor's center, well, only about half a mile or so, but Maeve wanted to WALK. So it took forever. It was fine, though, because the view was spectacular.
Nuala and Bran loved being sprayed by the freezing water. Loved it.
The picture on the left is standing on the causeway looking out to sea, and on the right, looking in at the land. It totally looks like someone could've built it.
Zachariah and the tykes, forging into the wind along the Causeway. I like this shot. I know I've said this, but the coast up in Northern Ireland (okay, really, most all of Ireland) is just breathtaking! We really enjoyed our explorations there. And I'd been reading lots of Irish stories to Nuala and Bran, and telling them about Finn McCool, and about the Causeway, so they were pretty excited and interested the whole time.


Tara Milligan said...

Cool! I bet the kiddos loved all the exploring and castle stuff! The causeway looks so neat, I love that Finn McCool story. Next time, think ahead when Bran needs to pee ;).

pauline said...

Hi there ... I can't believe I've never gone there! It is wildly beautiful ... I could spend some "quiet" time ... wearing some warm windbreaker clothes ... there. Of course the rascals enjoyed it... looks like fun hopping from stone to stone... I think I'd like that too. I note lots of nice green grass, and even some blue sky! It appears you had the area almost all to yourselves too. Well, if the Finn McCool story's not the REAL one, it is surely how he'd've planned his strategy! Thanks for sharing!
Love, Mom (Dad too) xox

Aislinn said...

That is really cool! The whole adventure looks like it was a blast and right up B and N's alley, LOL. Love the pictures of the coastline...it does look like it would be a nice place to sit and reflect and let the wind blow your hair. The sort of place you might see ghosts walking at night...;)

Rob and Erin Smith said...

Oh my Goodness! It is soooo Gorgeous!!! I've always wanted to go see the Giant's Causway! We were going to go last summer before we came home, but we couldn't swing it! We so should have swung it! I LOVE the picture of Z and the kids "forging into the wind" So cool, seriously so awesome! This was the post I've been waiting for! Wow! I bet the kids just love, love, loved it!!!