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Northern Ireland, home of giants

Northern Ireland has always been on my radar as a must-visit location. I spent four days in this magical land with companions Erik, James & Will. Before setting out we put together our itinerary, but from the get-go it was clear that we weren't going to see everything on our list. But this didn't bother me too much as I already decided that this would not be my last visit.

Teased by such beautiful structures like Dunseverick Parish Church (below) and the big skies of County Antrim, we found ourselves pulling over time and time again to soak in the splendour.

For most of our stay the weather was on our side, not that the rugged scenery could be masked by anything the Great British climate had to throw at it. When the sun shone, it brought out a million colours; when the clouds came, so did the drama; when it rained, the makeshift camera protectors (carrier bags) came out.

The highlight for me was the Giant's Causeway (above), Northern Ireland's first UNESCO World Heritage site. This 60 million year old geological wonder is made up of 40'000 basalt columns which interlock with each other, born of volcanic eruptions.

But there's another explanation for how this spectacle was formed, and I love this story; Legend has it, the hexagonal columns are remains of a path carved out by the Irish giant Finn MacCool in order to challenge his Scottish rival Benandonner. MacCool got half way and saw that his opponent was a much larger giant than he so was persuaded by his wife to retreat and disguise himself as a sleeping baby. When Benandonner saw the size of the infant he could only imagine how huge the parents must be and fled.

I've been told that on a clear day you can see Benandonner's home across the North Channel.

As much of an attraction as Dunluce Castle itself was the nearby charming tea room Wee Cottage (above). We were given such a warm welcome here by our hosts Avril and Bertha (below), on top of that they had us in stitches with their sharp-tongued humour. Their freshly made scones came highly recommended, and they didn't disappoint. An extremely popular spot for visitors to the castle and surrounding area.

Northern Ireland gets a giant thumbs-up from me; I adore the scenery, was blown away by its attractions and felt more than welcome by the local people who clearly take great pride in their corner of the British Isles. Rumour has it that the Republic of Ireland has just as much to offer and then some. But that pleasure will have to wait for another day.

Featured Locations (top to bottom):

Giant's Causeway

Dunseverick Parish Church

Dunluce Castle

Glenariff Forest Park

Causeway School Museum

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

Dark Hedges

Wee Cottage

Larrybane Quarry

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