We said our goodbyes to Dublin, and headed to HERTZ to pick up our rental car. This was the moment of truth, just how bizarre was it going to feel flipping my driving muscle memory? Renting a car allows for freedom you cannot get when on someone else’s schedule.
I’d say it only took me the entire first day to become comfortable with the driving situation. My copilot might tell you otherwise, but I successfully drove the entire trip and dare I say miss driving opposite?
From Dublin we were to head north for a few days, starting in Belfast and settling down for two nights at Glendona House – the B&B that would forever change my views on quality food, and allowing someone else to make my breakfast.
I was sold on staying in bed and breakfasts because I wanted to meet locals. The hosts of this house were so kind, and the food was delicious. The house was in the heart of the country, you can’t get much more Ireland than this. There were horses, and pigs, and cows, OH MY.
The real selling point though? The swings.
Our plans for Northern Ireland were to visit a few of the destinations on the Causeway Coastal Route. In writing this post I’ve discovered there are so many stops, which just means I need to go back. I will highlight the Six that we visited.
I recommend starting the route in Belfast. There are a few ticket items you can do here, but the big kahuna, and the reason we went was to visit the Titanic Exhibit. I am a history novice, and had no idea that the Titanic was built in Belfast. Learning more about the process of this historical ship was surreal.
Not to mention looking at the exact spot that it was built and sent off? Yes.
Because a historical castle the size of a small town on the edge of the coast? Done. Plus the drive there was full of green rolling hills. With cows.
Unique rock formations, 100% nature made. With large green cliffs. Must I continue?
Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge
Built to assist fisherman in catching Atlantic salmon many moons ago, this rickety rope bridge is open to the public for brave souls to walk across. It’s only a 100ft drop. No big deal. Oh, and the walk to the bridge? Breathtaking.
The Dark Hedges
Any Game of Thrones fans out there? These trees were so legit. Plus per usual – the drive there was full of sheep and greeeeeen.
Caves of Cushendun
Another GOT filming location, I’m glad my copilot Sam is a fan of the show. Regardless of if you watch the show (I do not), the caves were cool and the town was cute. Cushendun even has a town goat. Like a pet. Because, why not?
Aside from the Titanic Exhibit which we visited on the drive into N. Ireland, we were able to hit the other five locations in one fell swoop. We planned a driving loop in the order listed above – it was perfect. Needless to say we were pretty hungry by the end of this day.
It was here, in Northern Ireland, that I had the best fish and chips of my life. And of the trip. I warned you all, I ate EVERYTHING. I went plant based for ethical reasons, but in Europe the standards are much different. I’m also rewiring my brain after a two year journey of disordered eating.
If you’re interested in hearing more about my views on ethical agriculture in Europe and why I chose to partake in foods I wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot pole in the states, I’ll be sharing more in future posts. No this is not my new norm, but in Europe I made a conscious decision to eat it all. 🙂
Mushy peas both sound and look like something you’d find in an infants diaper, but I assure you the taste is astronomical. Who’da thunk it. This plate of finesse was found at Harry’s Licensed Restaurant. Worth the wait, I can still taste the quality.
Travel Tip: When given the option of GPS or WiFi for your rental car, choose GPS. WiFi doesn’t work in all county’s. We chose WiFi, were not told it didn’t work up north, and momentarily panicked when we had no idea where we were (yes we had a real life map, but we’re also millennials.) HERTZ to the rescue with a complimentary GPS. So we had both. Still, get the GPS.