I’ll be honest. Until I took this cruise, I had never heard of The Giant’s Causeway. Or, maybe I had heard of it only in passing. It meant nothing to me when our guide, Bryan, told people to make sure they wore sturdy shoes. Also, I wish I had known what we were going to see so that I could have made sure the battery for my good camera was fully charged. Unfortunately, it wasn’t, so I had to rely on my iPhone and iPad for the pictures I took. I think they turned out pretty great regardless.
I also had my trusty five year old Canon Powershot, which I like because it takes good photos and fits neatly in my beaded bags at formal dinners. Sadly, that camera, which I purchased in advance of our 2012 Hebridean Princess voyages, is no longer holding a charge like it used to. The good camera is another Canon that was bought in the spring of 2017, but it’s very cumbersome. I may need to invest in a smaller one, which will mean the fancy big one will be neglected.
Getting to The Giant’s Causeway involved riding on a coach for a couple of hours. Actually, we could have gotten to the site sooner, but our guide wanted to take a route that would give us stunning views of Northern Ireland’s coastline. Ordinarily, I would have been all for that, except we went on this trip right after lunch. Given that I drank a lot of wine and water during lunch and ate half a bowl of soup, my kidneys had a lot of work to do. Also remember that I was on the rag… which is an indelicate way of putting things, but also adds some insight as to how desperate things could become.
The coach we used was unusual in that it did not have a toilet on board. Consequently, many of us were squirming in our seats as Bryan described the splendor of Northern Ireland’s dramatic scenery. I was getting grumpier and grumpier as we passed a number of public toilets, all just waiting for me to make a deposit.
The trip to The Giant’s Causeway involved a couple of miserable hours, though I did get some nice photos from the bus. Once we arrived, I sprinted to the building where tickets were sold and headsets explaining things were granted. A lot of us were in line for the bathroom before we boarded a shuttle bus to the Causeway.
Here’s a word to the wise. It costs 1 GBP per ride to take the shuttle bus to the end of the road where the Causeway is. Because we were wearing our lanyards, we didn’t have to pay for the bus ride, but we saw a lot of people who didn’t know the bus ride is not included in the ticket price. Had I to do it over again, I would have simply walked. The bus was jam packed with people, some of whom really needed the ride. Also, the walk is very stunning and, to be honest, I could have used the exercise. Bill and I did walk back after our visit, which allowed me to take more pictures and work off lunch.
I wore a pair of new ankle boots I got from Dansko, which is a shoe company that specializes in comfort. They did pretty well on the rocks by the Causeway. I would highly recommend good, sturdy, waterproof, non-slip shoes for your visit. You will probably be tempted to climb on the rocks and they can get slick. Also, make sure you pay attention to where climbing is allowed, lest you get yelled at by one of the minders standing by to make sure no one messes up the site.
The Giant’s Causeway was pretty busy when we visited and it was probably an absolute madhouse a couple of days later, when we encountered a couple of huge cruise ships in Belfast. You may want to take into account when you plan your visit. Make sure it doesn’t coincide with the arrival of a big cruise… although at just 45 people, some of whom didn’t even come on the trip, I think Hebridean Princess isn’t too taxing.
So here are some pictures from our visit, including a few I got from the coach on the way there. I must admit, the torturous ride was well worth the end result. Now I know about The Giant’s Causeway and I think it may have been my favorite of all of the places we visited, despite the crowds!
This is a shot of the indoor museum area, which I will admit I paid little attention to. Shame on me! FYI: The Giant’s Causeway has free WiFi.
One parting shot before we got back on the bus.
Below are a few pictures from the ride up to the Causeway. They are nice, but maybe not as much of a draw as the Causeway pictures are…
Ooh! This one is especially pretty!
These three pictures are from the ride back to the ship. We got a beautiful rainbow that I had to capture, even though we were on a speeding bus and it was raining. The ride back, by the way, was shorter and a lot less painful.
And a few more stunners…