“Shamrocking” through Ireland by Kayla Wright

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Conor gave us a five star tour during the Shamrocker Bus Tour experience which departed from Belfast, Northern Ireland on May 24. Our first stop on the tour was Giant’s Causeway, a magnificent array of cliffs and boulders stretching far and wide along Northern Ireland’s coastline. This historical landmark consists of winding paths and stone staircases perfect for spectacular photographs and views. The rocks at the base of the cliff appear as man-made steps but they were actually created naturally! It seemed as though each new height made for an even better view than the one before it. We climbed all the way to the top for the ultimate view of Giant’s Causeway and to snap some great Insta photos. The view was breathtaking – literally. We almost gave up on the hike.

Our next stop on the Shamrocker Bus Tour was Dunluce Castle, once a thriving homestead of tenants and servants, now sits as an ancient waterfront foundation of slowly crumbling stonewalls. The last time any person resided in the castle was in the 1600s. It was interesting to see the 3D models of (likely) how the castle once looked. We learned about the protection strategies used by the residents, such as narrow windows with significant elbowroom for propping up weapons, and sending down a left-handed person as the first defender because of the angle of the staircase. This was one of my favorite sites because we were able to walk through the entire thing, even up the staircases to the second floor. Through our travels we encountered winding paths and narrow roads which challenged our bus driver, Brian. He mastered all of them like a champ. The view on the road was absolutely amazing. We drove closely along cliffs and were able to see all of the farmland in Ireland. The country is exactly how I would picture it – lots of greenery and sheep. Sheep everywhere. We stopped in Ballintoy, a small town with a population of about 150 people. We went to their local pub where regulars gathered and met students traveling as well. There was karaoke and we were all singing American tunes and country music like “Country Roads.” That was one of the best experiences of the trip thus far because all of our phones were out of battery (there was no service anyway) and we were just together, singing and laughing. It is amazing how music can bring people together in such a special way.

The 3-day Shamrocker Bus Tour was one for the books!

 

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