Sunday 30 June 2013

Giant's Causeway

Sunday dawned reasonably bright as Angus fell out the camp bed in our room. The boys kept fairly quiet however and Sharon and I had a lie in while they arranged their own breakfast downstairs. We made the short drive to the Giant's Causeway late in the morning and parked in the Bushmills Railway car park since, at €6 for the day, it was considerably cheaper than the €21 being asked for the combined car park and visitor centre that opened last year. We walked back up, through the tunnel and down the coastal path to the Giant's Causeway itself. The walk is reminiscent of the cliffs and raised beach of Skye or Arran. After about a mile we reached the hexagonal columns of the causeway itself, their flat tops and undulations like some geometric construction designed by man. The boys clambered all overs the columns and up some of the narrower ridges which was a bit nerve-wracking in the gusty wind. Reputedly the Causeway is the windiest spot in Ireland.

I headed out with the big three to where the waves were breaking and the spray was flying while Sharon waited for the bus back with a tiring Angus. Then the rain shower arrived! We huddled in a gap in the basalt as the rain lashed around us until we decided to make a break for it and return to the road. I survived a nasty slip on the slick rock. Sean and Finn walked back up the hill at a good pace while I accompanied Rowan. Despite the rain we were all in good spirits when we met up with Angus and Sharon at the top. Finn was funny, mimicking a woman who had been "singin' in the rayin" to her children. But we were pretty wet!

I dropped everyone back at the cottage then did a quick lunch shop in Bushmills before returning for a well earned roll and sausage. After a rest we drove along the coast to Portrush, a busy resort town with a stunning beach and a great looking links golf course. The boys had a brief free runaround in the rather grimly decorated Finn MacCool's soft play then we wandered along to the very busy 55 Degrees North who didn't have a note of our booking but who managed to find us a table nonetheless. Despite the business the service was good and the food was excellent, my pork chop, mash and red cabbage being very tasty, Sharon enjoying her steak and the boys tucking into their pizzas, pastas and salmon. It was very good value too, on the early evening menu but with portions that would put most restaurants in Edinburgh to shame.

I went to get the car and was held up as an Orange march made its way through the already busy streets. The boys headed along to the glorious stretch of beach known as the East Strand. Angus and Rowan immediately stripped down and ran into the sea, evoking memories of the last evening in Mallorca in 2010 when the big three were chasing in and out of the waves. Eventually we rounded them up, dusted them off and headed back to Bushmills to end a second enjoyable day in Norn Irlnd.

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