After the Cliffs of Moher, we kept heading north to Balleymoney where we stayed in a great farmhouse in the country. We really only had the end of the day of our arrival and the next to get a good look around. My husband first tried to take me to Church Island. Church Island is in the middle of Lough Beg and has the ruins of an old church as well as a spire built beside the ruins in the 18th century for Bishop Hervey (Who happened to be from Ickworth, the subject of a post early on in my blog.) According to my father, it was also the burial place for a lot of Diamonds and where his ashes were spread. I’d never been able to go so my husband was determined I was going to make it out there. Unfortunately, with the rain and the fact that the land bridge has been slowly sinking a little over the years, I started to sink not far into the walk out there since we forgot to bring rain boots. I called off the attempt to get out there but not before my favourite boots were sacrificed to the attempt.
The next day, we drove out to the coast and Giants Causeway, a formation along the coast comprised of interlocking Basalt columns that form along the water what could be large steps. A result of volcanic activity 50 to 60 million years ago, Giants Causeway is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a wildlife refuge. These basalt steps extend in places out in the water and you can walk along them–except you can’t go too far out. The National Trust has employees who ensure no one gets to close to the end of some of the extensions. Not only can you walk on these amazing formations, but you can continue to walk along the trail where there are more basalt columns that extend into the hills and cliffs around the beach.
My children had a great time hunting for shells in the tide pools around the causeway and we took a bunch of photos until we reached the end of the walking trail where a landslide demolished the walkway and prevents anyone from going any further these days.
The visitors’ centre has a great educational area that teaches how the formations were created and is wonderful for kids. Even if all you have planned in Northern Ireland is Giants Causeway, I would definitely recommend going. It was one of my favourite sites while we were in Ireland and a great morning out.
After we left Giants Causeway, we drove out to the Dark Hedges, a row of Beech trees planted by the Stuart family in the 18th century and is near where we stayed in Balleymoney. Today, it’s known more as the King’s Road from Game of Thrones. We enjoyed a nice walk through the trees and then back to our cars for the ride back and dinner. It’s really not a time-consuming thing to see but was very pretty with the pastures around it.
Next up: Jane Austen Regency Week again!
2 thoughts on “Northern Ireland, Giants Causeway, and the Dark Hedges”
Sorry you couldn’t make out to Church Island and had to sacrifice your favourite boots! I think that is wonderful that you have family buried there! I enjoyed Giant’s Causeway when I was there in 2016 but it had too many tourists! I loved the dark hedges but most of the leaves were on either when we were there in early November. Loved your pictures!
The Giant’s Causeway did have a lot of tourists, but I still enjoyed it. My husband has promised me a return trip to Church Island and I intend to hold him to it 🙂 Thanks, Carole!