Ireland Road Trip
We leave Dublin on April 19th to North Ireland.
* Remember that in Ireland you drive on the left, if you've never done it, don't worry, you're just going to feel a bit weird the first hour, especially the first time you go in a roundabout, but then you get used to it and you follow the crowd.
Obout the roads I heard they were in very good condition and I don't say they don't ... but since you leave the main roads they are very narrow and usually bordered by walls or bush. So funny that the speed limit on many of these roads is 80km/h because 2 cars almost don´t fix there and then on main roads they keep the same limit! So don´t be scared and enjoy the adventure!
The first stop is Belfast.
We visit the Titanic Museum, a bit expensive, everything in Ireland is, but it's worth it. The building itself is impressive, located in the place where the shipyards where, with a design that simulates four prows coinciding with the height the boat had. Going to the interactive rooms we go through the history of the ship from the moment the idea of its construction came up until its collapse.
We had for lunch the typical fish and chips that they like so much and we are going to walk around the city..
We have been told that the city's center is quite small so we head to the part of Belfast that catches our attention, the Belfast mural tour located in the neighborhoods of Falls Road (Catholic) and Shankill Road (Protestant), separated by a large wall that closed during the night to prevent people from one side could enter the other and cause disturbances.
These murals represent the violent history in Northern Ireland during the last decades of the twentieth century, known as 'The Troubles'.
If you are interested in having more detailed information about these murals, you can take a tour in the famous 'black cabs' that will explain everything to you and stop at different murals. It is also more comfortable because the murals are separated from each other, but if you are one of us and you like to go on your own, just get lost in the streets and discover them yourself. One of the things I like most about visiting the places without hurry and by yourself is that you perceive better the real atmosphere of the place.
Despite the commented conflict, it is currently very safe, the people who live in the place are very friendly and nice.
After some hours throught the murals we will take a short walk in the city to eat something and rest.
The first thing we find is the City hall, which does not go exactly unnoticed, in fact I would dare to say that it is the most beautiful building in the city, both inside and outside, it deserves a visit.
The Donegall Street, known as the Golden Mile, where most of the commercial life of the city is concentrated, starts from the town hall. As we had been told the center of the city is quite small, but that doesn't mean it has a certain charm. After our break, we go north, to visit one of the most famous places of Ireland .
The Giant's caseway does not disappoint, the image that you find when you arrive is overwhelming.
I recommend you go at sunset, you will find less people, a free parking and a spectacular sunset!
What to tell you about this place, the first thing you will ask is, is it natural? Yes it is, the scientific explanation says that it is a rocky formation composed by many columns of basalt of hexagonal forms that was formed in a completely natural way millions of years ago by the accelerated cooling of the lava of a volcano; but personally I like more the legend about a local giant that built them to be able to reach Scotland and beat their rival. Which one do you stay with?
After enjoying the place until the sun stops lighting our day, we will spend the night in Ballycastle a small and picturesque coast town where we try to have dinner at 9 pm but at that time the kitchens are closing! It's hard for me to get used to these early dinners ... do it or you'll be hungry like us.
'If they haven´t got any food, let them drink beer'... at least beer and live music won't lack.
A nice staircase leads us to Kinbane Castle, or what's left of it.
The place itself is what you expect from the Irish coasts, if you add to that the views of the island of Rathlin and the ruins of an old castle, the visit will be the most beautiful.
After climbing, the no longer so nice stairs, they are a few! we will see the famous hanging bridge Carrick-a-rede rope bridge located at a height of 25 meters above sea level and joining a small island.
If you want to walk it you have to book and pay in advance because it gets crowded. If you do not wanna do it, come and see it because it is very nice to see how people cross from one place to another with fear.
The next stop of the day is a 'must' for Game of Thrones lovers. The dark Hedges corresponds to the 'Kings Road' for which Ayra Stark escaped from 'Kings Landing'
We will spent the noon wandering through Londonderry, a city very marked during its history by the struggles between Catholics and Protestants, but today has regained its tranquility and has turned its walled city into a tourist attraction.
As in Belfast, you can make a route of the murals through the neighborhoods outside the walled area.
Today we will spend most of the day on the road, and this is what it deserves.
The Wild Atlantic Way crosses the entire west and north coast of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland from north to south.
We will travel to the famous 'Cliff of Moher'
Our first break is in Donegal, small but charming, and it does not deserve just one stop. If you have more days I recommend you to know the county because its rugged coasts and traditions are worthy of it. Unfortunately we do not have time and we have to continue, although the simple road shows us the beauty of the place.
Westport is the next stop of the day, a beautiful town in which the center is colorful and full of shops and cafes. We enjoy one of those coffees and sweetened the afternoon with a homemade chocolate cake, yummy!
With this place I have another pending appointment.
Before sunset we arrived at the expected 'Cliff of Moher' ... wow!
The sound of the waves crashing against the huge cliffs leaves you overwhelmed, and it is that they seem to rise at its highest point to 214m!
It is a 'must' visit if you go to Ireland, and my recommendation, as with the giant's causeway is to do it at sunset. It is overwhelming to see the sun disappearing and coloring the walls of the cliffs, while the sound of the sea and the birds accompany the moment.
The day of my 33rd birthday I wake up in a city called Galway, which will probably sounds familiar to you...
Another 'must' of the trip!
What most captivates me in this city is undoubtedly its atmosphere, young, dynamic.
It's Sunday and there are street markets, music and people everywhere!
The city, like almost all of Ireland is quite small and you can travel it in less than a day.
We start the day with a super breakfast in one of the main squares, Eyre Square, plenty of people.
Then, we walk along the old docks, The long Walk, where you will see the Spanish arch to continue upstream towards the cathedral.
We continue our way to Shop Street, the main and best-known shopping street in the city, with shops of all kinds, pubs and a multitude of street artists.
After lunch we still have enough day and we took advantage before going back to Dublin to visit Kylemore Abbey.
The road is beautiful, it is a plasure driving here.
Returning to Galway by the north road you can enjoy the views of the Killary fjord and the visit of one of the small towns that I liked the most, Cong. This tiny town can be visited in half an hour but it has a special charm.
There was shot part of the movie 'the quiet man', in addition the abbey near the river and the small houses will wrap you in a movie setting.
After 4 intense days, we go back to Dublín, with the desire to continue discovering Ireland, on another occasion!