On our second to last day in Ireland, we drove out to the north-east coast to see some naturally wondrous landscape. When you see the countryside of Ireland in movies, you see towering cliffs and immense rock formations. Ireland is an island, afterall, and not all the shores are beach-lined. Like I said when I started, everything you’ve ever seen or heard about Ireland, especially the geographical makeup, is true. The cliffs of Ireland are absolutely breathtaking. Photos do it no justice. A disservice, nearly. They are just far too majestic and gorgeous to capture within the confines of a frame.
Giant’s Causeway is the most popular tourist attraction in Northern Ireland. It’s a grouping of basalt columns formed by an ancient volcanic eruption that are hexagonal in shape. They are, for lack of a better phrase, really weird. In a good way. They’re large enough to walk on and the formation stretches far out into the ocean, disappearing into the water. We spent an hour climbing over the rocks, like children, only none of us skinned a knee.
A short drive from Giant’s Causeway is the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge. Let me begin by saying I am afraid of heights. No, that doesn’t quite explain it accurately. I am DEATHLY FRIGHTENED WITH EVERY BONE, CELL, AND NEURON IN MY BODY BY ANYTHING HIGHER THAN SOLID GROUND. I get shaky standing on a chair. Ladders terrify me. I can probably blame my hatred of high heels on this fear. I’m oddly ok with rollercoasters because the thought of being strapped to a track, which is attached to the ground, makes it mildly more tolerable, and the plane ride was alright because I forced myself to pretend I was in a giant bus. But, yeah. Heights and I are mortal enemies.
Beautiful, isn’t it?
Don’t I look like I’m having fun? SO MUCH FUN. So, Carrick-a-rede rope bridge is what you might imagine. A bridge that crosses a section of the ocean, joining two land masses. This bridge just happens to be nearly 100 feet above the ocean. SHIT MY PANTS. With every step, every motion, every breath, the bridge moves. IT SWUNG. It was unstable and way too high up and basically hell on earth for me.
LOOK IT. LOOK AT IT. You aren’t looking. THAT’S 100 FEET IN THE AIR WITH NOTHING BUT A RICKETY OLD ROPE BRIDGE, TWO TWO-BY-FOURS WIDE, SEPARATING YOU FROM THESE GUYS:
Oh, yes. We didn’t see any, but the dude running the joint said he often sees schools of these horrific bastards mulling around the island side of the bridge, inhaling salmon. That’s a basking shark, which, ok, is a mostly harmless type of shark, but it’s a shark. A 20 foot long shark. Above whom, we were dangling precariously as we ran as fast as our frozen, tattered nerves would let us. Or at least that’s what I did. Some of our party couldn’t have cared less. Well, bully for them, but I nearly puked.
If you don’t do one thing every day that nearly makes you puke, you’re not doing life right.
So that’s my trip. We started in Dublin and ended there, spending the last night of our vacation in a hotel by the airport, having taken the bus back late at night. The hotel restaurant was next to a convention center where a debutante ball was in full swing. “I don’t think we can afford this place” is what started a conversation that had me explaining what a debutante was, using Donna Martin as an example.
I don’t know if you’ve been struck with the itch yet, so I’ll summarize – Ireland needs to be seen. Start a penny fund NOW and go. There is so much beauty and history and architecture that just can not be found anywhere else. We’ll be going back, I’m sure of it. Perhaps not again until the girls are old enough to join us, but I already can not wait. It was absolutely the trip of a lifetime.
To read about my trip from the beginning: