It rained buckets during the busrides from Dublin to Portstewart. It was as if a series of swimming pools had been dumped upside-down on top of us. We arrived at our Airbnb soaked and ready to rest for a few days. The hostess wasn’t home when we arrived so I called her and she promised to be there in 15 minutes. We huddled in the carport to wait.
After 45 minutes I decided it was beyond the limits of optimistic estimates and I called her again. She said she was home! I had her repeat the address to me and discovered that we had been waiting in some stranger’s garage. The real house was three blocks down and much nicer than the first. We had a top floor room with an ocean view. Why venture out in the rain when you can relax in peace? After two nights of hostels we needed to catch up on our sleep.
Sunday was clear and beautiful. The perfect atmosphere to explore the Giant’s Causeway and the coast. We walked into Portstewart and caught a bus to take us to some famous rope bridge.
Every tour bus stops there so we figured it must be special. There was a two hour wait just to cross the bridge! We picnicked at the bus stop and caught the next bus out.
Giant’s Causeway was our true destination. I wanted to visit six years ago on my first trip to Europe, but I couldn’t fit it on the itinerary. Now we have plenty of time.
The hexagonal basalt columns stretch out into the sea toward Scotland where the Irish giant Finn McCool once built a bridge to challenge a Scottish Giant to a fight. The current columns are all that remain. The surrounding cliffs are steep and colorful and some are wearing away to display a few more columns underneath.
The hiking was lovely and crowded and we could scramble over the stepstones at the waters edge.
I tried to keep my hopes in check for this sight as I have longed to see it for years. I am a sucker for metaphorical names and this one really captured my imagination. The Causeway was significantly smaller than I had anticipated. Even when standing on it, I felt sure that this was a minor outcropping. The real Causeway must be past the next bend.
Once adjusted to the facts, I still found it pretty and unique. I have been lucky to experience hundreds of miles of gorgeous coastline from my life in California and a handful of travels, but this formation is not found anywhere else.
There are ruins of castles all over the place. We saw Dunluce castle on the way back.