Back from Ireland

30th September 2014
A week later and I'm back at home after a very pleasant tour around the Causeway Coast, Antrim in Northern Ireland.

I can wholly recommend the area, the coastline is certainly well worth the visit.

The journey there was a very calm ferry trip from Birkenhead, Liverpool, marred only by my inability to navigate as usual. A driver error (even with SatNav) meant that I had to go through the Mersey tunnel and then turn round and come back again. Possibly the most pointless £3.40 that I've had to spend on tolls when driving.

My B&B in Portstewart was only a 75 minutes drive from the Stena Line docks in Belfast - fantastic. If I lived there then I'd head for the coast all the time.

On the next morning before dawn I managed to lose the Giants Causeway - refer to notes above on navigation skills. I say lose, but the arrangements at the Visitors Centre are very misleading. The few signs around are badly orientated and there is a constant reminder that is costs £8.50 to visit (payable at the Visitors Centre). True, but it fails to mention there is a free route to the Causeway via the underbridge adjacent to the visitors centre. So needless to say, there aren’t any signs of the 'free route to the Causeway this way' variety anywhere.

It also says that its a 25 minute walk down to the Causeway - again, it isn’t and takes about 15 minutes. Bear that in mind if you're planning your photo shoot for a certain time.

I wasn't blessed with great sunsets and sunrises but it didn’t rain either and the sun did make more than one appearance. It was T-shirt weather which isn’t bad for late September.

I think that I basically followed the tourist information brochures for things to photograph but they're nice to visit for a reason. The Dark Hedges was a good example. I've always wanted to visit after seeing shots in photo magazines so I assumed that only a few people who read the same type of magazines would know about them. Wrong. It’s definitely on all the leaflets as a place to visit. For the hour I was there, I suspect there must have been 50 people who turned up as well. Bless those camera phones. To be fair, it was still easy to shoot the trees but I suspect this isn't the case in summer.

I planned to visit Ireland as well and changed some money into Euros. £70 worth, with my usual 'you can't be too careful' approach. In the end, I spent £5.50 on a very bad sandwich and some crisps. I ate so many crisps in a week that I was in desperate need of some fruit and a proper meal or I'd end up getting scrispy - the snack food equivalent of scurvy except in cheese and onion flavour.

All in all, a very tiring week but it would be great to go back and nail those gorgeous coastal sunsets. If only I knew an Irish Weather God. Or at least had his email address.

The Titanic Museum, Belfast:

The Dark Hedges