During the planning phase of our road trip through the Emerald Isle, we threw around the idea of “detouring” up towards Northern Ireland after flying in to Dublin, before heading back south to journey through the middle of Ireland westwards. Our desire to see the Giant’s Causeway and tour the Bushmill’s Distillery swayed our decision- and I’m so glad it did! There is so much to see in that part of the United Kingdom alone. It would be easy to spend a week or two exploring, but we only had two days to pack as much in as possible!
I originally wrote this post to include our road trip in it’s entirety, but halfway through, I realized it would be far more beneficial to write it in two parts. Part one (this post), is detailing Northern Ireland. I leave the very beginning of our road trip (Dublin) and the end (middle to western Ireland) for part two.
We used furkot.com to plan out the map and details of our road trip. What a fantastic resource! We decided to fly in to Dublin, rent a car, and go from there to Belfast, Northern Ireland (part of the United Kingdom).
In Belfast, we stayed at a lovely AirBnB hosted by a sweet woman who provided everything we needed and more- even toys for the girls! We stayed there two nights, and those days were filled with the Bushmill’s Distillery tour (oldest Distillery in N. Ireland) and the Giant’s Causeway. This was perhaps the girls’ least favorite part of the trip, as the Causeway was windy, rainy, and cold! However, the natural rock formations and cliffs were breathtaking and well worth the visit.
If you are a fan of the Chronicles of Narnia books, or at least the legendary author, C.S. Lewis, you will be interested to know that Belfast is his birthplace. They have a “C.S. Lewis walking trail” in the city, and they just so happened to be having a C.S. Lewis festival the end of November. How sad I was to have missed it! We did get to see “The Searcher”, a statue placed in his honor.
For the Titanic enthusiasts, there is a gigantic museum dedicated to the great ship. It is located in the exact spot the Titanic was built! The museum gives an in-depth look into the ship’s creation and tragic ending. If we had more time, we would have enjoyed taking the tour, but we were able to look around the building and docks. We enjoyed lunch in one of the museums cafe’s, and I highly recommend eating there if you have the time! Delicious, and unique food choices for everyone traveling with you.
Our last stop in Belfast was one of my favorites: Afternoon Tea at the Belfast Castle! Accommodating to children, but still special and wonderful for the adults. Sandwiches, scones, small cakes and pastries, and of course, tea! The location was excellent as well; the castle had a wonderfully landscaped garden area and walking trails all around. If you have children, have them look for all the “cats” scattered throughout all the garden decor!
I would have loved to stay in Northern Ireland for a wee bit longer, but we still had plenty of places to visit and explore as our road trip continued south. Stay tuned for part two!