North Ireland is magic!
Time to time, I stop and think ‘I must be in another world’. It usually happens in the middle of the forest. Some places look like they just popped out of a storybook or a fantasy novel, such as an oasis-like land in the Outback, or the Giant’s Causeway of Northern Ireland.
The Giant’s Causeway is a place that inspired the story of Irish giant Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn McCool) and Scottish giant Benandonner. It’s an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption. It’s about 3 miles (4.8 km) northeast of Bushmills, the town famous for Old Bushmills Distillery. During the Paleogene Period (around 50 to 60 million years ago), Antrim was subject to intense volcanic activity and highly fluid molten basalt formed an extensive lava plateau through chalk beds. The extensive fracture network was caused by heating and cooling over the centuries produced the distinctive mythical look today, or maybe it was really built by the giant Finn McCool. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986, a national nature reserve in 1987 by the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland, and as natural wonder of the UK many times by multiple sources. Most of the columns are hexagonal. The tallest are about 12 m (39 ft) high, and the solidified lava in the cliffs is as thick as 28 m (92 ft).
Ireland is relatively small; driving from Dublin to the Giant’s Causeway and back would take about 8-10 hours. It’s doable, but there are a lot more to see in Northern Ireland especially if you are a fan of Game of Thrones. If you haven’t heard of Game of Thrones, it’s a massively popular television series based on a book series of the same title. Production of the series is based in Belfast, the capital city of Northern Ireland. Most of the ‘northern’ kingdom scenes were filmed around Northern Ireland and Iceland.
- Winterfell: Castle Ward is the primary location for Winterfell and the lands surrounding Winterfell in the North. Now you can participate in Game of Thrones Tour – Archery Experience at Winterfell Castle here.
- The Haunted Forest: north of the Wall, beyond the northern border of the Seven Kingdoms, the Haunted Forest lays. The Night’s Watch patrols the area but we all know there are unknown dangers to this region… This is Tollymore Forest Park in Co. Down.
- The King’s Road: Arya Stark escapes from King’s Landing and travels through this enchanted road, called the King’s Road. It’s the Dark Hedges of Co. Antrim. The beautiful avenue of beech trees were planted here by the Stuart family in the 18th century. It’s one of the most photographed sites of nature in the country.
There are eight more Game of Thrones locations in Northern Ireland. Don’t miss out the opportunity to be in the scene of your favorite TV show!
Northern Ireland is a perfect country for a road trip. The island of Ireland is about the same size of Republic of Korea and Northern Ireland is only a quarter of the size. It’s a small country with wonderful surprises. The scenery that leads to the Giant’s Causeway is out of this worldly beautiful. Crossing the Carrick-a-Rede road bridge and visiting the Titanic Museum in Belfast are iconic activities to consider.
Now, are you ready for a road trip to the North?