2 Days Spent in the North (Ireland)
After binge watching all five seasons of Game of Thrones right before our vacation to Ireland, I knew one thing was certain, we were making a trip up to “The North”. While there are tons of tour options to go to filming locations from the show, Devin and I opted to do our own thing and just check out a few attractions we wanted to see.
Our first stop was Bushmills. It is a small quaint town that most people pass through on their way to the Giant’s Causeway. After passing rows and rows of cute homes and pubs the buildings cleared to reveal the Old Bushmills Distillery. Bushmills is the oldest whiskey distillery in all of Ireland, granted distilling rights in 1608 they’ve been producing whiskey at this location since 1784.
They offer a tour that takes you around the distillery to see the process of making whiskey, but after touring a few breweries in the US we decided, you’ve seen one giant vat you’ve seen them all. They also do tasting flights of the different whiskeys, but since we had a jammed packed day of touring and Devin was driving we opted to skip it and just go straight into the store and get some souvenirs.
The only rare thing that they sell that can’t be bought back in the US is the 12 year distillery reserve blue bottle. I can’t quite recall the price of the bottle, but you can customize the label making it a great memento to bring home with you.
Next, we headed to the Giants Causeway, it is so beautiful and definitely worth the trip to the North! It still blows my mind that is a natural formation from a volcanic eruption millions of years ago, a sight that is completely worth seeing!
Our very last attraction for the day was Dunluce Castle, we reached it after-hours so there weren’t anymore tours, but to be honest the castle is missing walls so you can see a ton from the outside without a tour. This was one location from Game of Thrones that we were able to see, in the show it is House of Greyjoy. The history of it is quite intriguing, it was finally abandoned after the kitchen and it’s staff fell into the sea one night, crazy right!
Freezing and with jet lag starting to take it’s toll we decided to call it a day. There were a few other castles to check out or the rope bridge, but we just didn’t have anymore energy or time with most attractions being closed. We decided to take the long coastal route home to take in more of the gorgeous turquoise water crashing into the long green grass, I could just stare at it all day.
Reaching Belfast late in the evening we decided to grab a pint at the Crown Liquor Saloon, operated by Nicholson’s, a group of pubs we frequented in London, it only seemed right that we check out their Ireland establishment. Inside is super unique with lots of ornate stained glass and wooden panels that create private seating areas.
The next morning we headed to the Titanic Experience to check out where the ship was built and the history behind it. The museum goes into detail on how Belfast became such an industrial city, and the conditions of residents and workers at the time. It really gives you a sense of how labor intensive and dangerous it was to build the ship. I mean these guys worked on scaffolding 25 stories high without anything securing them to it, facing the harsh elements of wind and rain; and miraculously of the thousands of workers less than ten died during the three years it took to build the ship.
Devin and I were slightly disappointed with the museum, as there were no unique recovered artifacts from the ship, just replicas of what the staterooms looked like. I mean we both realized the ship sunk so at the end we wouldn’t be able to see it, but the only artifact I recall seeing was a menu and maybe a china plate, but the plate never was actually on the ship. Nevertheless it was awesome to be able to learn more about the building of the ship, survivor stories and stand on the grounds where this massive ship came to life.
Overall the North was great, I just wish we had more than a day and a half there to explore, we took full advantage of our time and squeezed in as much as we possibly could, it was well worth the trip!
That’s my story….