Ireland Day 8 – A huge castle and really long beaches

Just to change things up – Connie has done the first post and I will follow

What a gorgeous day this was!  We left the B&B and stopped to get some food to nibble on along the way.  Barry got a green tea from Tim’s and I got nothing.  I’m not lying! I had two cups of tea with breakfast and haven’t quite mastered going to the bathroom along the trail so I thought it best to abstain.  We didn’t get too far out of Bushmills before we started stripping on the side of the highway.  Off came the bottom of the pants and rain jacket.  A litttle farther on, off came the sweater.  Good thing it didn’t get any warmer!  It was easy walking along this part of the route.  We walked alongside the highway but there was a paved path all the way.  We were in a hurry to get to Dunluce Castle!  Castles are a favorite for us and this one was supposed to be quite nice.  We walked and came around a corner and what a sight!

http://www.northantrim.com/dunlucecastle.htm

Our first view of the castle

It was breath taking actually to see this castle.  We picked up the pace and started the tour.  We watched a video on the history of Dunluce and then started in on the remaining buildings.  One thing I will say about Ireland is they are doing a fantastic job of preserving their history.

some castle pictures

View from castle

There was a fellow on his hands and knees cementing small rocks, one at a time to make the cobblestone that was evident in other parts of the castle.  Once again, I let my imagination run wild and wondered what the people were like and what their lives were like.  We spent about an hour and a half here and then had to tear ourselves away as we still had a long day ahead of us.

Further down the highway we came to a beautiful beach.  It seemed to stretch on for miles – and it was so good to walk on the hard packed beach sand.  We could really hoof it here but we really didn’t want to.

First beach on way to Portrush

The weather was a bit cooler by now and I had to put my jacket back on but there was no way I was going to zip on the bottom of my pants again.  We stopped for a coffee and scone in Portrush.  http://www.portrush.org.uk/

A good break.  Then on to Portstewart.  http://www.discovernorthernireland.com/Portstewart-Strand-and-Barmouth-Portstewart-P2921

The walk at this end wasn’t as picturesque as we were used to but we did have some coastal walking which we enjoyed.  We are in a B&B that is quite large and very comfortable – Cul Erg B&B.  JJ & Marie are our hosts and JJ has a sense of humor like ours. 🙂 http://www.culerg.co.uk/

Fell on the bed when we got to our room and had a nap I think.  Then out again to find some eats.  Found our walking buddies wandering aimlessly along the street looking for our B&B so invited them to have supper with us.  A really nice evening.

and now for the rest of the story – as you know I (Barry) like to do detail  – hope you like to read it – ha ha

As Connie said we had a super morning for weather and ended up taking off most of our gear before we walked 2 miles.   Then we continued up the road to Dunluce Castle and it was even more amazing than what we had read.

Of course we saw more sheep

more old stone houses

and fabulous view

ssssssssssssssssssssssssss

and then we finally came to Dunluce castle

It was by far the most complete castle we have seen, and the detail and explanation at the interpretive centre was very good at explaining what parts of the castle were used for what.   That helps to make it more understandable.   This castle was the largest in the area, and was fought over continually through its life by Irish, Icelanders, Scots, Spanish and the English.   Everyone wanted a piece of it, it seems.  There was also a substantial town around the castle for merchants, suppliers, craftsman and other workers.  Not sure why it ended up being abandoned, but apparently the kitchen and cooks all fell into the see one day – that’s what happens when you build right on the edge – duh?

One side of where the kitchen was attached

and the other side

They are now digging in the area and finding artifacts going back many years.  Some of them are on display.

We took quite a bit of time climbing all over the castle, up the towers, across and under the drawbridge, and in and out of all the rooms.

views of castle

one of the towers

Stairs up to tower

Dungeon under tower

Floor of castle

Cave under castle going to ocean

We then headed further down the coast.  We still had some views from the higher spots, but there were certainly not as spectacular (getting snobby again with our view expectations).

View on way to 1st beach

This brought us to the first beach that was literally miles long.  We walked on the wet sand as it is firmer and easier, and made good time to Portrush.

Beach

Had a bit o lunch there on the wharf, then continued to work our way along to Portstewart – our final destination for today.

After crossing another bridge, following the edge of a couple of golf courses, searching for way posts a number of times, and slowly adding shirts or jackets back on.  We were not going to add our pant bottoms, but the wind was picking up and it was getting a bit chilly along the water.   The waves were continuous and soothing as we walked, and we could wander wherever we wanted to.

Beach

Almost to Portstewart

We got to Portstewart, followed the paved walkway around the town to the harbour, then started to look for our street.  Couldn’t find it right away (found out later from our host that a few months ago they changed the light standards and still have not put the signs up), until we came to a sign on the beach with a town map.  After a short contest of “who can find the location first”, Connie pointed it out on the map, and we headed back the way we came as we had gone too far.   Within a few minutes we had found the B&B (without signs) and were rather amused to see that it was in a row house, with a corner in the building.  On the side we were on the street was Hillside and on the side to the right of the corner (this is the same building you have to understand) it changes into another street.  Wierd.

We headed uptown to look for a place to eat, and ran into Chung and Monica wandering around looking for the B&B.   We decided to all go for supper first and then head down.  That was it for another long hiking day.

As this was officially the last day of our hiking program, we talked with our host about some options for what we could do the next day.   You will have to wait for that post till tomorrow as it was pretty cool too.

About trailsandtrips

I am a consultant in the forestry and environmental fields and spend my recreational time in a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, backpacking, canoeing, kayaking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
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One Response to Ireland Day 8 – A huge castle and really long beaches

  1. Carolyn says:

    I soooooooooo wish I was there with you two! I love history, old cultures, villages, and those amazing ruins & landscapes!! When you start your tour company, sign us up!!!!

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