Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Cause for Giants (Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland)

A few weeks ago (I can't actually believe this was a few weeks ago, it seems like freakin' yesterday) my boyfriend's Mother and Aunt flew all the way from Montana to visit Joe & myself in Dublin.

Here's the catch: I've never actually met them before.

Montana is a good 5 hour flight from San Francisco and in the 1yr+ that Joseph and I have been together, neither myself nor his family have had the chance to make a trip to meet. So when they heard Joe was moving across the world for me, they decided to treat themselves to a week long vacation to see Joseph, meet myself and explore the wonder that is this emerald isle. 

They invited me to go on two day-excursions with them, one to Northern Ireland to see The Giant's Causeway/Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, and one to Connemara to see Kylemore Abbey (a post featuring Kylemore coming soon!) If you read my previous post about my Irish bucket list, you'll remember both of those things are on it. 

I was super excited to go, but....I was nervous. I was about to spend a lot of time with people that NEED to like me. Don't get me wrong - I'd consider myself a very social and likable person from the exterior. I'm very friendly, very open-minded and surprisingly un-awkward. It takes a lot to offend me or upset me, it takes almost nothing to make me laugh, and I'm very accepting of other people's quirks. 

Then as you get to know me (or in this case, spend an extended amount of time with me exploring a country) and you'll quickly realize that I am a super-introvert/extreme weirdo who swears way too much and has a knack for getting "hangry" (hungry and angry) way too quickly. 

Well I'm happy to report that I don't think I scared his family off (yet) - probably because they were too busy looking at eye candy like this:

We took the train to Belfast and hopped on a bus ride around the Northern Irish coast. First stop, the rope bridge, which is just....I mean, look at this view:

(Hey guys it's totally normal to be jealous of my outfit. I woke up at 6am on this particular morning so I mean, obviously I am just STYLIN' in these pics) 

You take a little hike to actually get to the bridge, and once you cross it (I didn't think crossing it was scary at all, but some people did!)  you're on an island filled with lush green grassy hills and gorgeous ocean views: 

(On a clear day like this, you can see Scotland! It's only 11 miles away!)

I wanted to take a picture on the top of the island, but naturally, just as the shutter clicked, I literally FELL DOWN A HOLE that was covered in grass and it swallowed half my body. So instead of a majestic "I'm on top of a hill" picture, I got a picture of me pulling myself out of the hole: 

(View on the way back across the bridge) 

Next stop was lunch at the Bushmills Distillery, followed by the main event - the Giant's Causeway!

I tried to get as many photos as I could with small numbers of people, but alas, the day we went it was CROWDED, and sadly it took away from the magic. But it is a truly gorgeous place, and a mind-blowing natural phenomenon. 

We were given a big chunk of our day to spend here, so we decided to take a hike around the hills that surround the causeway: 

Now, if you know me, you know I love a good hike - and this one was no exception. However, on the side of one of the hills is a STEEP staircase with hundreds of steps. I have no picture of these steps as I was far too consumed with catching my breath and swearing at Joe for making fun of me - but trust me, they were crazy. 

When we hit the top of the steps, I saw this sign: 

NOT something I can imagine, to say the least!

Joseph headed back to California earlier this month shortly after this trip and I miss him loads, but I'm also currently working away on my Master's dissertation so I've had a distraction. I literally CANNOT believe I'll be back in San Francisco in less than a month. 

Note: special thanks to my friend Anne for letting me borrow her DSLR for my day trips. Mine is officially dead - the Irish camera repair man couldn't fix it. So sadly my posts won't be looking this good until I can afford a new one - but I'm happy to have had the quality back for this post! An iPhone camera just wouldn't have done this place any justice.  

Another note: I've recently become mildly obsessed with Pinterest. It's a bit of a problem! Click here to check mine out - and if you give me a follow, I'll follow you back! 

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