Northern Ireland: Cupcakes, Causeway and Halloween!

Do you like pictures?  Like pretty things?  How about pictures of pretty things?!  The longer I’m living my Irish/American traveling life, the more I wish my friends and family at home were here to see and experience all that I am.  For this reason, this post is jam-packed with pictures of pretty things including cupcakes and the Giant’s Causeway (and me, obviously)!

This past weekend to Northern Ireland was such an adventure!  Friday morning, Amanda and I caught a bus to Shannon Airport to rent a car from Avis International.  It was absolutely a great decision, saving a ton of travel time driving and being on our own schedule.   It was a bit more expensive (but not too bad) between the two of us for the four days, so it was worth it.  It took a bit getting used to driving standard with my left hand from the right side of the car on the left side of the road, but we both managed successfully!  Friday, we arrived in Belfast around dinner, and shopped for Halloween costumes for our hostel’s party, since we’d forgotten to pack ours.  The hostel prepared a BBQ of hamburgers and typical picnic (in October) food.  For some reason, they had a bowl of big marshmallows, so we enlightened the Irish, Australian, Argentinian, and Chinese crew on the heavenly marshmallow sandwich experience we Americans call s’mores!  They also mixed us a huge pot of jungle juice, which was deliciously deadly, and we headed out for the night.  The rest of our night in Belfast is one not to be forgotten, but this is one story that will have to stay in my vault.  Sorry guys, this one’s a classified memory, but I’ll give you a picture!

Us "nerds" hanging out in the hostel!

Saturday, we woke up a bit sluggish, had breakfast in Belfast, and bought cupcakes to bring with us to cousin Sean & Nuala’s further north in Northern Ireland in Antrim!

I obviously picked the chocolate & purple one!

Without a GPS, it was a little tricky for me navigating, but you’ll all be proud I managed with an atlas and some instinct!  Stumbling on their house by some gut decisions, we were greeted by Aunt Pat, Uncle Donal, Sean, Nuala, and their kids Niamh (4) and Ciara (1).  We had a great time the rest of the weekend, loved staying with them and being treated like family.  It was like a taste of home: hanging out on the couch, talking with family, going out to dinner, being a bit spoiled, and doing some sightseeing.  Thanks again you guys!!  Saturday afternoon, we saw the two huge cranes that built the Titanic and some of the remaining murals around Belfast.  Sunday, Uncle Donal and Aunt Pat took Amanda and me to the Giant’s Causeway on the absolute tip of Northern Ireland which was awesome!  It’s always a bit tough to put these natural wonders into words, so I’ll give you some pictures to help me explain:

Bright, brief glimpse of the sun
Beautiful Northern Ireland coastline

One explanation of the vertical hexagonal columns of rocks protruding out the earth and the Atlantic Ocean is from a volcano that erupted about 60 million years ago, and the resulting landscape is the cooled formation of the stone.  The other version of the story goes into the famous Irish tradition of folklore and storytelling and involves a giant from Ireland named Finn MacCool rivaled with another giant from Scotland.  I’m not a big science person, so you’ll only need one guess to know which I believe is the real story haha!  What I do know though is that the rocks, coastline and ocean were so cool!!!  That afternoon, we also visited and toured the Old Bushmills Distillery, drank some whiskey (insert my funny, choking, throat-burning face here), and ate an enormous delicious buffet with everyone.  The next morning Amanda and I got into our cute, silver Ford Focus and were back on the motorways to Limerick.  We ended up going a bit of a roundabout route, and accidentally upped our number of counties that we’ve been to (I’ll get back to you on a total)!  We made it back in time for the Halloween party at the club 10 minutes away from campus called the Lodge and met up with friends Kim, Cassie, Jamie, Zach, Hannah and others for a great night!

Happy late Halloween from Ireland, and Happy 15th Birthday Shanny!!

To see the rest of my weekend picture album: Click here!

[my London album and others are located in the Photo Links tab at the top of the page!]


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