Dunluce and the Drive South

Other than a post about our visit to the Bushmills distillery, I think this is my last post about our most recent visit to Ireland. Luckily we have plans to return again fairly soon.

Our first day in Northern Ireland ended fairly early due to our being awake for over 24 hours. Jetlagged and tired from our drive and visit to the Giants Causeway, we ended up having an early dinner the night before. I had the most perfect salmon ever, caught that day, atop a bed of Mediterranean-style vegetables, peppers, tomatoes, onions, and spinach. It was a simple, clean meal, and I ate every bite. We enjoyed a Bushmills on ice by the hotel fire, I blogged about our visit to Belfast, and we were off to dreamland by 9.

The next morning we were up bright and early, ready to see some sites and to head home to Galway. First up on our list was Dunluce Castle, a beautiful site only minutes from our hotel.

Dunluce Castle

Dunluce Castle (Irish: Dún Lios, “strong fort”) is a now-ruined medieval castle in Northern Ireland. It is located on the edge of a basalt outcropping in County Antrim (between Portballintrae and Portrush), and is accessible via a bridge connecting it to the mainland. The castle is surrounded by extremely steep drops on either side, which may have been an important factor to the early Christians and Vikings who were drawn to this place where an early Irish fort once stood.

Dunluce Castle

If you drive through the Irish countryside, you will see all sorts of crumbling buildings. Though not usually the size and grandeur of Dunluce Castle, many of them were previously monasteries, churches, castles, and Coast Guard stations. These are some buildings that were built, for the most part, to withstand the test of time!

view from Dunluce Castle

As the above blurb about Dunluce Castle states, the castle was built upon some crazy steep cliffs which visitors can wander down, via some stony stairs. You can also head into the heart of the castle complex to look up at the castle and hills that sort of protect it.

Dunluce Castle

This cave-like hole is actually under the castle. Hundreds of years of ocean waves chipped away at the rocks making it a dangerously beautiful little cove. We took heed when we saw more falling rock signs.

Dunluce Castle

Mooooooo

Dunluce Castle

That very, very light land in the background in the above photo is Scotland. After we wandered around Dunluce for awhile, we got on the road to Derry, then started our slow journey toward Galway. On the way we passed through the beautiful hills of Donegal and into Sligo, Yeats country. The below photo shows the mountain Ben Bulben made famous by its uniquely flat top but even more well known from Yeats’ Under Ben Bulben. I am not only a nerdy former English major, but I had a concentration in Irish literature, specifically Yeats, when I was in college.

Ben Bulben

Drumcliffe Church

Stopping by Yeats’ grave in the Drumcliffe graveyard was a must. It was only when I was looking through my photos later in the day that I realized our visit was on January 28.

Drumcliffe

The very anniversary of Yeats’ death. . .coincidence? Or strange connection between me and W.B. Yeats? ;)

W.B. Yeats grave

All of this driving and beautiful scenery built up quite the thirst hunger, so we stopped at the Yeats Country Hotel. Like most Irish country restaurants, the setting was rustic and cozy.

Irish pub

We started with a pint of Guinness each, perfectly poured.

Guinness

I had the seafood chowder which came in a huge bowl.

seafood chowder

Served, as soup in Ireland always is, with brown bread and Kerrygold butter.

Irish brown bread

This meal was all I needed to want to curl up for a little nap on a chilly day. With my trusty driver at the wheel, I did just that, and I woke not too far outside of Galway to the view below.

N17 Ireland

Lovely. I may have said it before, but there are few things I love more than a sunset on the West coast of Ireland. I am also enamored with the leaps and bounds ahead of the US that Ireland is when it comes to the environment. Their hillsides have been dotted with windmills for many years, they have been seriously exploring ocean/wave power, they recycle EVERYTHING, and if you forget your grocery bags, you are paying handsomely per bag. No nasty plastic bags hanging from trees here because there are no plastic bags.

I can not wait to return.

Random Saturday Question: I spent quite a bit of time yesterday playing with my niece’s imaginary friend. Did you have an imaginary friend when you were a child? I had a tiger named Rugby :)

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Tags: beer, Drumcliffe, Dunluce Castle, Food, Guinness, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Sligo, Travel, vacation, Yeats

  1. Jean | Delightful Repast’s avatar

    Meghan, this has me needing to visit, yes, Ireland too, but for now, one of my favorite local Irish pubs that has a wonderful soup I crave and a soda bread beyond compare.

    Reply

  2. Raija’s avatar

    I love your sound effects for animals in your posts: Baaaaaaaa!!!!! :)

    Such beautiful photos and I love you sharing your english major expertise. You are a woman of so many talents :).

    Looking forward to sharing Ireland with you again – you are the best tour guide – virtual or in person :).

    Reply

  3. Michelle’s avatar

    Thanks for sharing your trip with us. I’m sad that this is the last post!

    Reply

  4. MelissaNibbles’s avatar

    The castles are stunning. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  5. Kelly’s avatar

    Wow so beautiful. And how I MISS that brown bread so much.

    And yup I had an imaginary friend named “Sally.” How old is your niece? I forget how old I was when I played with “Sally” but I never really hear my kindergarten kids talk about imaginary friends. But maybe that is just something you don’t discuss at school haha.

    Reply

  6. Megan’s avatar

    Those are some gorgeous views! Ireland is on my list of places I must go someday… I hope I get there soon.

    I never had an imaginary friend… maybe cause I had an older brother around all the time?

    Reply

  7. alicia’s avatar

    I really want you to blow up one of your pictures of Ireland for me so I can hang it on the wall in our new place. They’re just so gorgeous.

    I never had an imaginary friend. I’m told that its weird – because only children usually have them…..Rafe’s nephew had an imaginary friend named Tomato.

    Reply

  8. Elizabeth’s avatar

    Gorgeous, gorgeous photos! I’ve loved reading about your holiday!

    I didn’t have an imaginary friend (which is strange, considering my ability to imagine just about anything), but my older brother had one named…. Julia Child. Amazing, right?!

    Reply

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