This post is part of our series about our road trip through Ireland. New to this series? Check out our first post here.
Our first full day on the road started with Giant’s Causeway. Actually, it started with unloading a bunch of crap onto Ryan’s parents that we didn’t need to carry anymore (see you later, fleece-lined boots!). Then we drove the short distance to Causeway Road, about 2.5 miles away from Giant’s Causeway. It was an exceptionally windy day and the sun kept dodging behind clouds, but we felt alright in our hooded rain jackets. Walking a narrow trail to the edge of the cliffs was easy (only one fence to hop), and while it was a nice view, we were far from the basalt columns we’d come to see.
It’s possible to walk to Giant’s Causeway for free, but it wasn’t clear how to do that and the visitor’s center looked like the safest place to park. There’s a sign outside with a list of things “included with your ticket,” but I feel like we paid $10/person for uncovered parking. I hope the parking attendant makes $50/hour to ask, “Are you members of the National Trust?”
The interior of the visitor’s center is large and beautiful. There’s a cafe and a gift shop with lots of stuff you don’t need and some I wanted anyway. The ticket includes an audio device which looks like an HTC phone, but we didn’t want to walk around with that pressed to our heads for an hour. It’s a bit of a walk to the columns, but there’s a bus you can pay to take that makes regular trips. The wind was picking up with gusts of 40mph and the gloomy gray sky was threatening to open at any second, but I was too stubborn to pay even a small additional fee for a 30 second bus ride. The walk wasn’t bad with the wind to our backs, but everyone walking towards us looked like a bad mime.
I’ve seen a lot of Pinterest photos of unrealistic Photoshopped images of Giant’s Causeway, but it is still amazing to see these geometric formations in real life. Thousands of rows of hexagonal columns looked like the result of a well designed volcanic eruption. It also covers a MUCH larger surface area than we thought. We would have stayed longer in better weather, but it was too slippery and I played a dangerous game of “Is it loose?” with the rocks. We walked around as much as possible, but eventually huddled together behind a boulder as the cold wind and rain tested our raincoats.
There must have been a problem with our short-term memories because we decided to walk back to the visitors’ center which isn’t that close and partially uphill. Besides, everyone piled into the small bus like it was the last one out of town and we didn’t want to wait in the rain for the next one. I couldn’t walk quickly because of the strong wind and the slower pace of Ryan’s parents. I was gripping the edges of my hood and turning my back to the wind once in a while. Eventually we rounded the last bend up the hill and made it back inside.
Giant’s Causeway seems to be a place that everyone says they want to visit, but since it’s a little out of the way, it gets pushed down on the Wish List. Even in dreary whether, it was a remarkable place to see and I think we’ll come back some day to see it in the sun.
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