By: Emily Lovasz
On Sunday we quickly left Dublin and got on the road to start our three day bus tour to Belfast. The tall buildings, parks and city center turned into rolling fields, rivers and lots of sheep and cows. Once we were on the road we stopped at Trim Castle to take a few photos and then got back on the road. In the afternoon we stopped at ancient burial grounds. They were older than Egyptian pyramids! To get to the tombs, we had to climb up a huge hill, but once at the top, the view was spectacular. We even had a photo bomber in one of our pictures. At the end of the day we stopped in Londonderry where we stayed in a hotel for the night.
Starting our second day of the tour, we woke up for a walking tour of Londonderry where we were shown the wall that surrounds the town. They took us by the peace bridge that connects two sides of the river as well. The tour guide explained the conflicts that took place in the city between the Catholics and Protestants and how there are murals painted on the side of buildings to commemorate the struggles of some of the people in the city during that time and during Bloody Sunday.
One interesting thing our tour guide told us was where the term catwalk originated. Years ago, after church, wealthy women would parade outside the church in their long dresses and best clothes to show off, like on a catwalk.
After our tour we hopped back on the bus to head to Giant’s Causeway. A trail followed along the coastline and cliffs that overlooked the sea. This was definitely different than the cities we have been visiting and it was breathtaking. I could have spent an entire day walking along the cliffs and taking pictures.
After the cliffs we drove to Dunluce Castle where parts of Game of Thrones was filmed. Most of the castle was in ruins because of a fire years ago, but parts of the structure still stands on a cliff in Northern Ireland.
After walking around the castle, the bus dropped us off in at the hostel that we were staying in for the night. This was the first time I had ever stayed in a hostel and it was interesting. We were in the tiny town of Ballintoy with no cell phone service, but it was right on the coast and had amazing views of the cliffs and farmland with cows and sheep.
I love the city but visiting the countryside in Ireland was something I have never experienced before. None of the pictures I have taken of the cliffs and countryside in Northern Ireland can do any of it justice.