I was not prepared, neither physically nor mentally, for what the past two days had in store for me. I say this in both a positive and negative sense. I’m not going to lie, hiking The Giant’s Causeway was extremely difficult. The cliffs, hills, and beating sun tested my patience as I trekked from one destination to the next. Though the blisters on my feet and the sweat stains on my shirt act as the day’s battle scars, the scenery I was surrounded by was beautifully rich and forever memorable and that alone is enough to make every second worthwhile.
Mentally, I wasn’t prepared for exactly how serene The Giant’s Causeway was going to be. The moment I turned the corner onto the first stretch of shoreline, I was instantaneously paralyzed with awe. It was one of those moments where I just couldn’t move simply because I was afraid of missing any portion of the view. It was as if nature had strategically placed every individual stone in a way that perfectly framed the curvature of the approaching ocean line. Every corner I turned offered a view even better than the last, continuously reminding me that the world we live in an extraordinarily beautiful one. I had endless opportunities to turn the day’s experience into a negative memory, but the opportunity to see what I saw made it impossible to view it in any other way but extraordinary. It was nearly indescribable.
After soaking in every inch of the Causeway’s views, we made our way to Dunluce Castle. Again, I was absolutely taken back by how strikingly beautiful it was. The entirety of the landmark was made up of stone-covered walls, loosely forming what used to be a cohesive building. This landmark is also one of the places where Game of Thrones is filmed, which I’m sure would have been even more amazing If I watched the show.
It was interesting because the castle, to others, is simply a part in a film. The way the castle is portrayed through media, whether it be trailers, advertisements, or a scene in an episode, can easily allow people to forget that there is real value behind such a “prop.” I’m sure many people aren’t aware that it’s a real castle that was once functioning and flourishing. It was interesting to keep that in mind while I was learning about the landmark’s history, actually educating myself on the value behind “just another house” in Game of Thrones.
Similar to the Causeway, the following day we endured yet another long, steep hike for the sake of a once-in-a-lifetime view at Slieve League. Though I was terrifyingly close to the point of muscle failure, I was yet again surprised at exactly how gorgeous Ireland is. We were surrounded by mountains and cliff formations that shot directly down into the water, creating a beautifully frantic waves and outstanding scenery. I wouldn’t have traded today’s experience for much else.
After a long, eventful, and enriching couple of days, I left the tours with a lot of new knowledge and insight into the landmarks that Northern Ireland has to offer. The scenery I saw was something that will permanently be ingrained into my mind, and for that, I’m forever grateful for the opportunities granted to me on this trip.