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The Northern Half of the Island of Ireland

Bushmills to Londonderry

58 °F

After a wonderful breakfast, we checked out and headed to the Giant's Causeway - one of the great geologic wonders of the world

The Giant's Causeway (Irish: Clochán an Aifir) is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic fissure eruption.[3][4] It is located in County Antrim on the north coast of Northern Ireland, about three miles (4.8 km) northeast of the town of Bushmills.
It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986 and a national nature reserve by the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland in 1987. In a 2005 poll of Radio Times readers, the Giant's Causeway was named the fourth-greatest natural wonder in the United Kingdom. The tops of the columns form stepping stones that lead from the cliff foot and disappear under the sea. Most of the columns are hexagonal, although some have four, five, seven, or eight sides.[6] The tallest are about 12 metres (39 ft) high, and the solidified lava in the cliffs is 28 metres (92 ft) thick in places. Much of the Giant's Causeway and Causeway Coast World Heritage Site is owned and managed by the National Trust. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Northern Ireland, receiving over 998,000 visitors in 2019.

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You may wonder how we are navigating around. Google Maps. It is superb. I takes you the shortest way which often involves narrow country roads through the countryside. The scenery is wonderful.

Our next rainy stop was Dunluce Castle. Dunluce Castle is a now-ruined medieval castle in Northern Ireland, the seat of Clan MacDonnell. 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.

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Our final stop - still with plenty of "Irish Sunshine" was Mussenden Temple. Perched on the cliffs overlooking Downhill Strand, it was once possible to drive a carriage around the temple: however, coastal erosion has brought the edge closer to the building. The temple was built in 1785 and forms part of the Downhill Demesne. The demesne was formerly part of the estate of Frederick, 4th Earl of Bristol, who served as the Church of Ireland Lord Bishop of Derry from 1768 until 1803. It was Lord Bristol – popularly known as "the Earl-Bishop" – who had the "temple" built. Constructed as a library and modelled from the Temple of Vesta in the Forum Romanum in Rome, it is dedicated to the memory of Bishop Lord Bristol's niece Frideswide Mussenden. Its walls were once lined with bookcases. A fire was kept burning constantly in the basement. This and its enclosed flue meant that, even in this very exposed location, the books never got damp. Over the years the erosion of the cliff face at Downhill has brought Mussenden Temple ever closer to the edge, and in 1997 The National Trust carried out cliff stabilisation work to prevent the loss of the building.
The inscription around the building reads:
"Suave, mari magno turbantibus aequora ventis
e terra magnum alterius spectare laborem."
"Tis pleasant, safely to behold from shore.

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The troubled sailor, and hear the tempests roar."

Posted by rpickett 17:46 Archived in Northern Ireland Tagged to bushmills londonderry

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