Saturday, July 24, 2010

Our Day on the Antrim Coast

Today we had sun beautiful sun lighting our way along the Antrim coast. We escaped the highways today and followed the coast along the north shore where the rolling green hills meet the Atlantic Ocean. To start our adventures we crossed the rope bridge at Carrick-a-Rede (It means "rock in the road."). The bridge dangles 30 meters above crystal clear waters and connects the land to the tiny Carrick Island. For 350 years fishermen have erected bridges here to catch fish during the salmon season. Bad foot and all I managed to make the trek across! The view from the bridge includes glimpses of Scotland and Rathlin Island.

After the long hike to and across the bridge, we were ready for lunch and found an amazing old inn and restaurant in Bushmills that we had been told had delicious food. We were not disappointed. I don't know how old the building, but it was hundreds of years old and full of quaint twists and turns. I had a vegetarian lasagna made out of butternut squash and artichoke hearts layered between thin sheets of pasta that was delightful mostly because of the butter and vinegar sauce melted over it and sprinkled with pepitas.

From there we went to the famous Giant's Causeway where mythology tells us Finn McCool outsmarted the Scottish giant Benandonner. It is easy to see how such an amazing place inspired delightful stories. Millions of hexagonal rocks nested neatly together. We climbed over them, on them, and through them until we felt right at home like part of Finn McCool's family.

After the long hike out of the causeway, we rode over to Portstewart which Mr J and his companion opened up to missionary work many long years ago. Now, mind you, for 43 years I've heard stories of how hard missionary work was in Ireland. But this trip has ended all pity I ever offered him. First we saw the hotel he lived in for seven months, and yesterday we saw the resort he "labored" in. The place is beautiful and his flat was right on the coast. I mean, walk out the front door, turn left and in ten steps you are on an Atlantic Ocean beach. (The picture below is taken about 50 feet from his front door!) He did tell us stories of months spent petitioning the city for a place to hold Church meetings and of constantly being rejected. But I'm no longer feeling sorry for him. Portstewart is beautiful.

After seeing his "digs" we went around the corner and found a children's park which the grandkids enjoyed and then we went back down the coastal road to see the 12 century castle at Dunluce. It was closed by then, but it doesn't get dark here until a little after 10:00 pm so we stopped for pictures over the wall and then continued to follow the incredibly beautiful coastal road home. We didn't get there until after midnight. It was a very full day, but full of adventure and fun.

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