26 August 2005

CLIFFS, CAUSEWAYS AND A LITTLE ROPE BRIDGE: BEING PART 4 OF OUR IRISH TRAVELS

THURSDAY 11TH AUGUST: DONEGAL TO PORTRUSH: we decided that we really wanted to see the bunglas (cliffs) to the west of donegal and killybegs, so off we drove. it was very rural when we arrived - we even had to go through a gate, and a whole hoast of sheep bounded down the mountainside to see if we were going to feed them. the cliffs are the highest sea cliffs in europe, apparantly. they were indeed tall, and we climbed up and up to have a good look out over the sea. in the 2nd world war, they wrote 'tir eire' on the ground by laying out white stones, so that people would know it wasn't england and wouldn't bomb them! on the way back in to donegal we picked up a couple of french hitchhikers. hilariously, just outside donegal we saw simona again!... the drive up to portrush was fairly boring, although we got to listen to our chist moore cd (and the hit sof the 90s cd we got - oh, yuck!). the only interesting thing was crossing the border into northern ireland, where they measure everything in miles (like england) not kilometres (like proper ireland)... we discovered that our speedo only had kms on it, so we sort of had to guess!!! our hostel (macools) was really nice - the owners lived upstairs, and there was a huge selection of games and dvds for rainy days. we talked to a lovely woman named kathleen, who has offered to show us around edinburgh when we're there.

FRIDAY 12TH AUGUST (DAD'S BIRTHDAY!):
GIANT'S CAUSEWAY: the giant's causeway was created in one of two ways: either by some geographical outburst (volcanoes etc) or by the giant finn macool! in the second version, finn was told that a scottish giant wanted to fight him. finn was the biggest, strongest giant in ireland, so he thought he'd have a go. he started building a bridge from the irish side, and the scottish giant started building from the other side. one day, when the bridge was just about done, finn's wife came running to him and said "finn! i've had terrible news! the scottish giant is much taller and stronger than you, and you will surely die in the battle!" finn didn't like this very much, but he had a plan. he and his wife gathered together all the blankets and clothes in the house, and made a giant cot... the next morning the scottish giant knocked on their door. mrs macool answered it, and said "come in, come in! finn is out at the moment, but please have a cup of tea!" so in came the scottish giant. as he was drinking his tea, a great wail arose from the next room. "what on earth is that, och aye tha noo!" he exclaimed. "oh, it's just the baby," said mrs macool, "come and see him"... so the scottish giant went to see the baby - which was really finn macool wrapped up in huge baby clothes. he took one look and his knees started shaking, "if this is the baby, then what size must the father be?" he thought, and he flew out of that house and over the bridge. so scared was he that finn macool would follow, that he tore up the causeway behind him, so only the very beginning remains - what we now see as the giant's causeway... and that is your folk story for the day. the causeway itself is both bigger and smaller than i imagined. the hexagonal stones are much smaller, but it covers quite a large area, so there are thousands of them. they are very bizarre - quite evenly shaped hexagonal columns all around the cliffs and the bay. we went for a nice walk around the cliff-tops.

CARRICK-A-REDE ROPE BRIDGE: is not as scary as it sounds, nor as you would think by my face in the photo!!! every spring, the fishermen erect a swinging bridge between the mainland cliffs and a tiny island, so they can see where the migrating salmon are swimming. the bridge is something like 65ft long and 80ft high (20m long, 25 high go to http://www.travelsinireland.com/northern/carrickarede.htm for a view)... it waves a bit in the wind, but i imagined i was on a ship, and it was all ok. we had lunch on the island, and had a debate about whether the land form we could see on the other side of the next island was scotland (it was, i was right!).

TORR HEAD: inspired by the possibility of being so close to scotland, i looked at our crap map and figured that a place called torr hear was the closest point in ireland to scotland. it was a lovely drive, and a very special view - the mull of kintyre is only 12 miles away, and in the clear air it looks close enough to touch.

DVDs AND TOO MUCH WINE: that evening, we watched bourne identity and kill bill 2, and drank a bottle of red wine. each. i was so, so queasy. blech! never again!!!

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in other news, new pics are up, and i will post one to the blog soon!

1 comment:

  1. Esther von Michelle9:59 pm, August 26, 2005

    Hiya chappies!
    This is Esther and Michelle all rolled into one!!! Yes indeedy, Esther is here in Berlin, and enjoying the fabulous company and light of M&C's flat... hello people, (E. here now!) finally have time to read your blog on their spiffy PC - ireland sounds amazing! can`t wait til scotland ... chocolate in my bag, will try not to eat it all this week!! i LOVE their place here..it is so nice , as you know ... you wanna say something mich? Why did you watch Bourne Identity? We're confused... ok, off to eat ALL of Esther's chocolate now!!! As to your email request - I leave home early both Sat and Sun mornings, so if you want to call you have to do so before 8.30am Sat or before 9am Sun Berlin time (I leave home at the aforementioned times). Speak soon scallywags!!!

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