Northern Ireland Weekend!
Last weekend IFSA Butler hosted a trip to Northern Ireland! Students in the IFSA Ireland program from all over the country met up in Belfast for an unforgettable four day weekend.
We toured the Antrim Coast visiting Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Giant’s Causeway, and Dunluce Castle. The coastline was absolutely breathtaking! There were rolling green hills and sheep grazing on the side of the mountains. The scenic landscape of Northern Ireland is the most beautiful I have ever seen.
Our first stop was Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. This bridge connects the mainland to Carrick-a-Rede island. The rope bridge was built by fisherman to help catch salmon, but it is no longer in use. It is 20 meters long and 30 meters high. This bridge originally consisted of one rope handrail with widely spaced slats; however, the bridge has since been reinforced for safety reasons (thankfully!) as this is now a popular tourist attraction.
Next, we visited Giant’s Causeway. Around 60 million years ago this stunning geological formation was created as the result of ancient volcanic eruptions. As the lava cooled, the characteristic hexagonal basalt columns were formed. Nevertheless, the legend surrounding Giant’s Causeway proposes a different origin. According to legend, the Causeway was created by a giant. Back when the Causeway connected Ireland and Scotland, an Irish giant named Finn MacCool was trying to reach his love on a Scottish isle. However, he was challenged to a fight by a Scottish giant. When the Scottish giant realized he was no match for Finn MacCool, he fled back to Scotland destroying the Causeway so that he couldn’t be followed.
The last site we went to was Dunluce Castle. This medieval castle was built in the 13th century and was the home of the MacDonnell Clan. One notable feature about this castle is that it is located on the edge of a cliff. There are extremely steep drops into the sea surrounding the castle on several sides. As the legend goes, in the early 1600’s on a stormy night, the kitchen fell into the sea taking several servants with it. The castle was abandoned shortly after this and it began deteriorating into the ruins that are there today.
This weekend was an incredible adventure and I have fallen in love with Ireland all over again! There is something undeniably special about being here. It is a truly surreal and wonderful feeling!
Stay tuned –