On Saturday the 24th of July, Dorset College Student Experience Events took off for the first-weekend excursion since the pandemic began. This was an important day for everyone involved as it was both super exciting and a little bit nerve-racking.
We departed from the famous Molly Malone statue bright and early, making our way to our first stop of the day, The Dark Hedges in Country Antrim. The beech tree-lined road is legendary for being the location of The Kings Road in Game of Thrones. However, it was originally a well-known spot from a ghost story known as the Grey Lady who was said to have roamed the road. This was a real treat for the Learners and the perfect photo opportunity for any GOT fans.
Before our next destination of the Giants Causeway, we made a quick stop at the viewing point for The Rope Bridge, which was unfortunately closed due to Covid-19 restrictions. Luckily, we were blessed with a beautiful day and the views were almost hard to believe. The vivid turquoise of the water felt as though it belonged someplace else, not off the coast of Ireland.
And just like that, we were on the move again, before we paused for a delicious lunch accompanied by warm hospitality and some outstanding views of the local countryside we snapped some pictures of Dunluce Castle, an extraordinary medieval ruin overlooking the sea.
This brought us to the main event of the day, the Giants Causeway. This is an area of the island of Ireland I’ve always wanted to see and to say it didn’t disappoint is an understatement. The magnitude of the surrounding cliffs created a real cinematic feel before even approaching the rock formation themselves.
The Causeway was produced by that of a volcanic eruption however, in Irish folklore it is said to have been built by giant Finn Mac Cool as a bridge to Scotland. Our fantastic bus driver/tour guide Philip was such an engaging storyteller and gave a fully animated re-counting of the traditional legend.
The weather was on our side and we enjoyed the magnificent surroundings in the most stunning of settings. The uniformity and intuitive formation of the ‘steps’ can be difficult to fully process, as were not accustomed to seeing this created by nature alone. A genuinely perfect place to visit.
After soaking up all the views and rock formations we could, it was off on our final stop of the day, Belfast. Although we didn’t have much time in there we made a speed lighting trip around the city to soak up as much culture as possible. The streets of Belfast were buzzing! Every part of the city seemed to be full of social revellers, hen and stag parties or just day tourist like ourselves.
Before hopping back on the bus for the final time, we went to see the Albert Memorial Clock in Queens Square which stands out from most monuments as its leaning due to being built on marsh ground. Belfast City Hall was the last landmark of the day, beautify maintained and a memorable parting image for the day.
And then it was back home to Dublin. A fantastic round trip, with magical scenery and the opportunity to reengage with the Irish landscape after many months of restrictions.
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