The Travelling Trooper Does Northern Ireland

Today, we left Ireland, and entered into Northern Ireland. Or rather, into Kingsroad! That’s right, this is where Arya escaped King’s Landing dressed as a boy and in the company of her boys, Hot Pie and Gendry.


Had I done my research like I usually do, I would’ve seen that it’s actually possible to do a whole Game of Thrones day tour around Northern Ireland and I would’ve set aside more than one day for Belfast. They even let you dress up and take fun pictures! Aaaah! Alas, we had t settle for the Dark Hedges, aka Kingsroad.


Though she failed as a chicken whisperer at the farm near Muckross House, Doris proved herself as a cow whisperer. Every time she mooed, the cow nearest to us would raise its head and look at us. I mean, maybe it was giving her cut eye and telling her to shut the hell up, or maybe they were sharing a moment. We’ll never know.

Next up: Carrick-a-Rede Bridge. This bridge is 260 years old and connects to the Carrick-a-Red Island. (Sidenote: It’s cool  to visit Europe and see buildings and places that date back to before the creation of Canada as a country; but it’s weird and amusing to visit random objects like bridges and doors and intersections that have a richer history than Canada’s) The bridge was used by fishermen to check on their nets, which were placed 100 feet below in the water by boats.

There was actually a decent amount of wind blowing that day, which gave the bridge a considerable amount of swing. Thankfully, it wasn’t enough for them to close down the bridge for the day.

We noticed that every pre-teen that walked past us had such sullen expressions on their faces, so Doris and I tried to take our own pre-teen photo. Unfortunately, I look like a pedophile/serial killer in the one on the right.

And here’s the difference between a pre-teen and a child: While tourist attractions usually have signs placed everywhere with historical or scientific facts, there was one sign that attracted me. It had children’s responses to crossing the rope bridge.

– fun can be anywhere
– learning I could conquer heights
– I discovered scariness
– I discovered that my mam is scared to cross the bridge
– I’m not scared of heights. I’m three
– I did not like it ending

Trying to get all of the key tourist sites done in one day, we moved on to the Giant’s Causeway.  For the science nerds out there, the Causeway consists of about 40, 000 interlocking columns of basalt. They are somehow the result of an ancient volcanic eruption. According to the Interwebs, the basalt dates back to 56 to 66 million years ago.

For the less intellectual-oriented like myself, legend says that the Irish giant, Fionn mac Cumhaill, built a causeway in order to cross the Northern Channel to Scotland and take on a Scottish giant by the name of Benandonner who had challenged him to a fight. One legend says that Fionn crushed him, while another says that Fionn outfoxed him. I like the latter, not only because it is more amusing, but because it goes on to explain why there are identical columns at Fingal’s Cave on the Scottish isle of Staffa. The story goes that upon learning Benandonner was far more massive than himself, Fionn had his wife dress him up as a baby. When Benandonner saw the size of Fionn’s “baby,” he concluded that poppa Fionn must be monstrous. He tucked his tail between his legs and ran back to Scotland, destroying the causeway on the way. Only the columns in Antrim and Staffa were left standing. Cool, right?!

It was now time for my interview with the lovely Laura Bird in Belfast, so we had to leave.

The following morning, we were England-bound…

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