Ireland Weekend Part 4: Causeway Coast and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

Beaten by the elements, the northern coast of Ireland is invigorating tranquility, suited for a winter nestled by the fireplace or a summer bracing the wind on coastal trails.

Giant’s Causeway is the showpiece, while the rough coast is dotted with ruins and solitary farmsteads that make for a great outing.

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is the other big draw, now open year-round, a 15-minute drive away.

Ireland 076

Ireland 064

Ireland 071

We had spent the night at the Crockatinney Guest House near Ballycastle. The rooms are simple comfort, the owner friendly, the breakfast solid. The heaters are those eco-friendly types meaning they look modern and produce little heat. We were all frozen by morning. The approach from the gate is not well-marked and at night it is easy to go the wrong way and find yourself in the fields, in daytime the house is visible over the hills. This is a solid low-mid budget option compared to the many mid-high price options along the coast. The owner’s husband appears to double as the ‘Ace of Cabs’.

Ireland 049

Ireland 038

Ireland 033

Ireland 047

We supped at The Cellar in Ballycastle.

Ireland 029

Driving the coast west through Bushmills and on to Londonderry/Derry is a parade of views to distract from the steering wheel.

Ireland 032

Ireland 052

Ireland 084

Ireland 085

Ireland 238

Bushmills is home to the eponymous distillery with tours and custom-labeled bottles in the gift shop. We lunched at the Bushmills Inn where Deb warmed by the fire, “This is where we will stay next time.”

Ireland 175

Ireland 176

Ireland 173

Ireland 171

Dunluce Castle is £5 to enter the castle, free to clamber down to the cave below, guess where everyone heads?

Ireland 179

Ireland 239

Ireland 189

Downhill Demesne and Hezlett House we approached in steady rain and setting sun, marching up a hill peppered with sheep dung.

Ireland 213

Ireland 202

Ireland 206

I wanted a peek at Londonderry/Derry, but it was too greedy to attempt in the short weekend. It took us farther out of our way that I thought just by looking at the map due to heavy traffic and narrow roads, even on a Sunday night. We had time to get a warming coffee before the shopping mall closed, everything else already appeared closed, and with a few glimpses of the city from under our umbrellas, it was time for the long, dark drive through rain back to Dublin.

Ireland 217

A successful, exhausting trip capped by getting lost again in Dublin. Rick and Deb put up with me with great patience and good humor. I will be back for Skellig Michael.

See Part 1 for the itinerary, Part 2 for Brú na Bóinne and Part 3 for Giant’s Causeway.

Rapid Travel Chai newsletter ¦ Twitter ¦ Facebook ¦ Instagram