Castle Hunting – Northern Ireland- Day 5

Date: 31st May 2018

The Drive: The drive today was similar to yesterday, beautiful. Around every bend was a new view full of sea, beaches, castles and cliffs. This would have to be one of the prettiest road trips we have ever taken. It was amazing how the views changed as in one section their would be so much sea mist and then around the next bend it would be clear.

Where We Stayed: We stayed in a B&B in Cushendall called Garron View. It was run be the sweetest family! It cost £45 for the night and was one of the best nights sleep we had all week. The beds were so comfy and we even had an en suite. The breakfast the next morning was great, Mike had a full English and I had a toastie. We would stay here again for the comfort and friendliness of the owners.

Where We Explored

Today was set aside to find and explore as many castles as possible. Now, I love a castle but it has to be a good castle… that’s in ruins. None of these castles that are mansions or the ones that are in perfect shape. I need an old ruined castle to feel the history behind it. Well Northern Ireland didn’t disappoint.

Dunluce Castle

Our first stop on this part of the road trip was Dunluce Castle. We could see it from the road and it was pretty small but looked like a great castle. We parked up and took some pictures. It cost quite a lot to go in so we decided against that and admired from afar. This castle is very touristy and was busy at the time. We were looking for those castles that are overlooked by the tourist trail. So we hopped back in the car and drove on the coast road until we saw another sign for a castle.

Dunseverick castle

Now this castle is what I call a real castle. We stood in the lay-by and stared at it. I really wanted to get to the top so we decided to give a go. There are no paths marked so we just guessed the best one to use. It was worth the climb for some great views out to sea and photos stood on the castle. This castle is really overlooked as we hadn’t come across it through our research. We stumbled across it by the brown tourist sign we saw on the road. This is worth the stop and climb.

Ballintoy Harbour

This place was made famous by Game Of Thrones. We do not watch the show so didn’t really have a clue what we were looking at! It is a pretty little harbour which was great to explore. There were piles of rocks you were able to climb up and around. Make sure you climb the steps at the back of the car park to get a view of the whole harbour.

Dark Hedges

Yet another place we visited that is shown in Game of Thrones. This place was immense, the trees are all kinds of shapes. It looks as if it is straight out of a story book. Don’t be fooled though by those lovely photographs on Instagram, it is really hard to find a quiet part and not get others in your photo. This place was so busy and there were coach tours pulling up all the time. It is definitely worth the visit but does lose it’s magic with the amount of tourists.

Kinbane Castle

On to the big one and the best castle I have ever been to. The best bit about this castle is you are likely to have it all to yourself. That may have something to do with the amount of stairs you have to climb down and then of course… back up. Believe me there are a lot and it nearly killed me, but it was so worth it. This was such a cool place to visit. The views from the top of the cliff were amazing. You could see along the coast line and the fog made it look mysterious. This is a must do while in Northern Ireland and certainly worth the massive climb back up to the car.

Carrick-a-Rede

We were lucky to be gifted tickets to visit the rope bridge. Another stand out attraction in Northern Ireland. We didn’t know what to expect. We started at the ticket office, collected our tickets and then took the path down to the bridge. It is a long walk but easy and the views were amazing as always. We then came to the rope bridge which is one way traffic. We walked across the bridge and could feel it slightly sway. Be prepared as it was so much windier on the bridge. We were expecting to then have to queue up to come back straight away, but you are able to explore the small island. We saw hundreds of birds on the cliffs and it was a nice place to sit down and take five minutes to just take it all in. Once you are ready to leave you join the short line and walk back over the bridge.

Food

We were so hungry after our day of exploring castles and basically lived off junk food from the supermarket. We came across this small pub called Harry’s Licensed Restaurant. The food was amazing! We both got burgers with a salad and chips. It was so nice and just what we needed after a day of exploring.

DSC02140

Steps According to Fitbit: 20,541

Miles Walked Today According to Fitbit: 8.96

Total Miles Walked: 39.05

Up Next: On the hunt for puffins

Important Question

YES! All worth it, all the castles we visited were free and we made such amazing memories on this day. We had so much time exploring and looking at the different views.

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