Instawalk: A Day Trip to Northern Ireland

FINALLY, a day free from work obligations! as much as i like workationing, having to time your explorations to end by early afternoon can really cramp your style, especially with the US switching to Daylight Saving Time earlier than Europe, meaning an additional hour lost. so, a couple months ago i booked myself a full-day tour up to Northern Ireland with the anticipation that i could finally spend the whole day out and about — and it was totally worth it. why did i choose this one over other day trips around Ireland? i’ve always wanted to see the Giant’s Causeway in person — plus Belfast for a reason that will become clear at the end of this post.

Giant's Causeway Panorama

Giant’s Causeway

at €65 it’s a bit on the pricey side for me, but compared to renting a car, all the background prep work, the white-knuckle driving on the “other” (see how nice i am? not wrong) side of the road, and adding up all the costs once you factor in gas and admission and parking fees — it was a no-brainer. it just required me to wake up at 5:25 in the morning — which was fine because i promptly fell asleep on the bus.

Joe* was our tour guide/bus driver and on the way up he gave us a history of (Northern) Ireland. all i will say is, religion is nothing but trouble. (i’ve come to that conclusion over the past couple of years but that’s not for this blog post.)
*i only mention his name because he sang several Irish songs to us over the course of the day and all i could think about was “Joe Le Taxi” by Vanessa Paradis. VAS-Y JOE!

First time in Northern Ireland.

I fell asleep and when I woke up we were already in Northern Ireland pulling into a pit stop. This was the view beyond the fence of the gas station/convenience store.

Oh this northern coastal drive is quite lovely indeed.

Apparently someone rated the coastal drive along the northern coast of Northern Ireland as one of the best (coastal drives) in the world. The clouds and rain moved in and out throughout the day, but luckily didn’t hamper our excursion any!


We stopped in Glenarm, a small village, to have a little break and stretch our legs.

(Guessing at location)

On the way to the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge.


You have to hike a bit of a ways to get from the parking lot to the actual rope bridge, but it’s quite scenic.

The rope bridge is a lot smaller than I expected. #t

Yeah, the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge is a bit smaller than I expected but it’s definitely nice and bouncy. Most of the small island on the other side was not open, but it’s worth crossing just for the views out over the edge and back towards the mainland.


On the way back from the rope bridge

A rock in the sea

One of the little rock islands out in the sea. PROTIP: At the rope bridge there is an overflow parking lot that may be closed off to vehicular traffic — but the area is open to pedestrians. You can follow a trail over the quarried-out [it seems] parking lot and then loop back around passing by an old abandoned building. Good to do if you like exploring and have a couple extra minutes before the bus leaves.

Heading to the Giant's Causeway. Rain rain stay away.

You can hike or take a paid bus down to the Giant’s Causeway, but I say you might as well hike if you are able since Mother Nature is so amazing.

On the Giant's Causeway. Note Vans may not be the most appropriate shoes on a windy wet day like today.

Take it from me, you probably don’t want to wear Vans if you’re scrambling over the rocks at the Giant’s Causeway. They are slippery. They are wet. The wind whips you around. Note that I stepped in several rock-top puddles, hence the brown spot on my right shoe. Seriously, it was friggin’ cold out there and the wind was so strong it made my eyes water so much there were times I couldn’t see clearly. Be careful! (There are the rock equivalents of life guards, but still.)


When I first saw pictures of the Causeway I was under the impression it was a vast stretch, but it’s smaller than I expected. Well, clearly not that small since I was able to get all these pictures without other people in it.


Looking back towards land

before heading back to Dublin, you stop in Belfast for an hour. did you know the Titanic was built there? you can see the (still-extant) company’s large shipbuilding cranes, although you don’t have enough time to go to the Titanic Experience museum, which was fine with me. BUT, I DID THIS: “Belfast” in Belfast was one of my location-specific music must-dos, and it brought me such joy to actually do it!


4 Comments on "Instawalk: A Day Trip to Northern Ireland"

  1. As always, great photos. Were there just not that many people or did you wait and snap pictures when no one was around? I know you mentioned an overflow lot, but that could just be wishful thinking (or for summertime crowds).

    • thanks! the overflow lot was indeed closed and there weren’t that many people in general. i guess that’s surprising to me since it’s the week after St. Patrick’s Day and you’d think there would still be crowds left over from that but maybe it’s a bit too late? i would imagine it’s significantly more crowded during the summer.

  2. Nice shoes!!!

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