We left Dundalk on December 30 and began our drive to Portstewart in Northern Ireland. While Northern Ireland is considered to be the "Protestant section" of Ireland, 50% of the population is Catholic, and the Catholics in Northern Ireland are very devout since they have to deal with persecution.
We first passed Banbridge Town, made famous in the Irish tune "Star of the County Down"
We soon entered the North, driving past the capital of Northern Ireland - Belfast:
We listened to some Irish music as we drove:
The drive was very scenic:
We arrived in Portstewart, and we stayed with my friend Theresa whom I met in Lourdes last Summer, where she was volunteering at the hospital. Her family let us stay at her house, and she immediately took us to the "Giant's Causeway" at the very tip of Northern Ireland:
The "Devil's Organ" at the Giant's Causeway:
These rocks were formed by a volcanic eruption thousands of years ago, and are able to be climbed:
The top of the Giant's Causeway, looking towards Scotland:
Chris and I, with Scotland in the background:
Next we traveled to Dunluce Castle. In the 1200's Richard Og de Burgh, 2nd Earl of Ulster, built the first castle at Dunluce. It is first documented in the hands of the MacQuillin family in 1513. Later it became the home of the chief of the Clan MacDonnell of Antrim and the Clan MacDonald of Dunnyveg from Scotland. Dunluce Castle served as the seat of the Earl of Antrim until the impoverishment of the MacDonnells in 1690, following the Battle of the Boyne. Since that time, the castle has deteriorated and parts were scavenged to serve as materials for nearby buildings. Its substantial ruins remain today:
A short video in the castle. The wind was blowing hard, and it was freezing cold on the northern coast:
The next day we went to the beach, the "Rope Bridge" at the coast, and Busmill's Irish Whiskey distillery, where my friend Theresa (who hosted us) used to work. Photos will be posted soon!