If you saw my Instagram post about my day trip this afternoon you’re already aware (although you might wish you weren’t) of my hilarious pun of how we were blown away with the views in Ballintoy. It’s a beautiful spot I actually hadn’t heard of until recently. It might ring more bells to those in NI when I say it’s where the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge is located. We didn’t visit that today though because it was quite windy and I don’t think we could handle being violently swayed back and worth.
Once you enter Ballintoy village, keep going straight through until you see a sign for the harbour. This will lead you down an incredibly narrow Irish road that’ll make you want to never drive again. There’s a parking lot and a cafe with bathrooms. And beautiful scenery.
Some brave tourists (including myself and Hughie) made it up onto the higher cliff parts. The wind and waves were insane. It was a really bad day not to have a bobble/ponytail holder/whatever you call it where you are, on my wrist to keep my hair out of my face. After climbing up, I was immediately shocked at A) how many people were up there with small children and B) how no one had been swept off. Probably one of the scariest/most spontaneous things I’ve done. For some this is nothing. But when I got sprayed by a wave, I was like right, let’s go. It was nonetheless, exhilarating and fun. Hughie’s fascination with the sea foam flying around ended when it wacked him in the face. It was hysterical.
*Boots are Michael Kors from four years ago (haha, they lasted!) and the chunky coat-igan as I call it, is from Primark two winters ago. I wear stuff until I can’t anymore.
Afterwards, we drove into the village and walked to the Fullerton Arm Bar which to my delightful surprise was DOG FRIENDLY. I was over the moon to be greeted by a pug, a very rotund Bichon and a King Charles spaniel. The food was amazing and it was a lovely cosy (and clean) pub. Finished the day out beautifully! 😋
Definitely a spot you need to see if you’re around NI.
Have you been to Ballintoy?
Thanks to my lovely followers for NI suggestions. Without your suggestions I wouldn’t have stumbled upon some really lovely places.
Basically, one person suggested the Gobbins. So I gave it a quick Google and thought ‘yeah looks great’ and we got in the car in the afternoon and went. To our surprise, it’s a three and half hour intense hike along the cliffs that require boots and helmets and bus to and fro the information centre. Do your research, guys!! However, and ever-so fortunately, the woman at the information desk directed me to a few more casual spots that my flip flops could handle.
Twenty minutes away from the Gobbins is Portmuck Harbour. A pretty little place hidden at the bottom of a very teeny tiny narrow Irish road that opens into a parking lot set right near the sea. There’s some stairs that lead up to a point where you can grab some nice photo ops. I love some of these photos so much and will probably cherish them forever. I had a really great day.
Skenaghan Point – Brown’s Bay Beach
And the second spot only less than ten minutes away is Skenaghan Point, Browns Bay in Islandmagee. It actually is right near the actual Gobbins walking path. One day I will do the Gobbins! But it certainly wasn’t that day in that new ASOS top. We went up a little path to the right of the water and you could stay on path but somehow we veered off into a field of sheep who scurried away from us as we walked up towards the cliff’s end. Stunning views and a lovely little walk. One of those spots that makes me go, “Ahhh I love this country.”
So! Those are two spots I hadn’t heard of, no one suggested, and no tourists really seem to go. Hope you enjoy if you visit!
If you know me you know I don’t watch the wildly popular show, Game of Thrones. However, I’m a big supporter of it bringing a lot of tourism to Northern Ireland. It’s given a lot of well deserved recognition to Belfast and some of Northern Ireland’s areas of outstanding natural scenery which previously (in my eyes) were overlooked for Irish vacation destinations.
So while I’ve been a big fan of Belfast and the county of Derry, I only got to visit some of the Antrim GOT spots this week. I am not embarrassed to admit I’m an absolute tourist and my inner American pops out when it comes to castles and ruins. I LOVE them. I studied the sociology behind it and could go into it for hours as to why Americans have such romantic notions of Ireland’s landscape but I’ll just leave at the fact I am one of them and I’m in no way ashamed. Ireland’s beauty and history is a marvel to me.
So! With that said, we went to Dunluce Castle and the Dark Hedges. Right near the Causeway, which we have already visited within the last year so we didn’t go again. However we drove right past it and through Bushmills.
Dunluce is an hour outside Belfast and well worth a visit. I believe it was £8 for our tickets (I’m still using my student card, it’s valid until September. Even past then, I’ll keep using it). It’s mainly ruins but a pretty vast amount and it’s fun to just explore. Maybe this is only fun to me and other castle loving freaks. It’s a beautiful backdrop for photos since it’s right on a cliff in the countryside and overlooking the sea. You can learn about the background and history of Dunluce through posted signs around the grounds and a pamphlet given to you at the information desk. Parking is available right there and is free. There’s a little cafe too for a nibble if needs be.
THE DARK HEDGES
The Dark Hedges are around 25 minutes away from the Giant’s Causeway. They too are in the middle of the countryside in Ballymoney and pop up pretty randomly. One side of the road is a large estate and modern farm house and the other is the hedges which was full of people walking the length of them. They’re surrounded by open fields, making them all the more intense looking. Apparently this is where they ride horses up and down in GOT. Sorry for my lack of knowledge regarding the show and its relation to these spaces.
I enjoyed both spots! It’s nice to make a little day out of it. You can see more GOT scenic spots here.
Hope you go!