We arrived in Dublin Saturday evening after a long day of travel. We were flying Ryanair from Gatwick, and while Ryanair prices are amazing, it comes with some challenges. Quick travel tip – when you fly with discount airlines they often use secondary airports, which are further from the city center, like Gatwick. So make sure you allot enough time and money for transport (what you save on the ticket you often spend on additional transport). We thought we had allotted enough travel time, but there was a lot of traffic that Saturday and it took us over two hours to get to the airport! Thankfully we had given ourselves plenty of extra time and we were still able to catch our flight. But when we arrived in Dublin we were spent. We grabbed some pub food and called it a night.
The next morning we were up early to travel to Northern Ireland and see the famous rope bridge in Carrick-a-Rede and the Giant’s Causeway, both in County Antrim on the Northeast coast of Northern Ireland (this is the tour company we used). Not only was it fascinating to learn more about the division between Ireland and Northern Ireland, it was also amazing to see Northern Ireland’s gorgeous countryside and coastline.
We started our (very long) day trip with a quick stop to see the “Kings Road” from Game of Thrones. I used to watch Game of Thrones but I haven’t kept up with it recently so I didn’t recognize the location. But that’s ok it was still beautiful! We continued on to the coast of Carrick-a-Rede to brave their famous rope bridge.
This little rope bridge links the mainland to the tiny island of Carrick-a-Rede. Today the bridge is a tourist attraction and is very safe and secure, but historically it was just a couple ropes and wooden slats (like something in Indian Jones). The perilous journey across the bridge kept unwanted outsiders from crossing and disturbing the small population of fishermen on the island.
After testing our fear of heights and swaying bridges, we headed to the Giant’s Causeway. The Causeway is actually about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns that were the result of an ancient volcanic eruption. It is an incredible natural wonder and as you scale the hexagonal columns, you can’t help but marvel at the power and wonder of nature. After exploring the natural wonders of Northern Ireland’s coast, we headed to Belfast for a quick stop before heading back to Dublin.
The next day I set off to explore Dublin, not before indulging in the amazing breakfast at the Queen of Tarts (thanks everyone for the recommendation!). I started with the gorgeous cathedral and then wandered down Grafton Street (and all the nearby smaller streets) before heading to Trinity College. The library at Trinity College was one of the highlights of my trip! The Long Room is like a history nerd’s dream come true, and it was really neat to see the Book of Kells in person.
The next day was St. Patty’s Day, which is a pretty big deal in Dublin. There is a parade and events all day. Everyone is decked out in green and starts drinking in the morning… and they don’t really stop. There are tons of events from a citywide treasure hunt to live music and carnival rides. It is craziness, but fun!
I flew back to Florence the next day, exhausted, but so grateful for an amazing trip. I didn’t get much time to relax because I was off to Berlin a week later for a conference (but more on that later).