This morning we packed the bus at 9:30 am for a short drive from our quaint hostel in Ballintoy, Northern Ireland, to Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge just up the road. We initially anticipated an unstable, rickety rope bridge that many of us would be a tad nervous to venture across. To our surprise, the actual bridge was quite the opposite--a bridge with sturdy rope railings with a wooden walk way covering rope line below it.
After we all successfully made it across, with a few people crossing faster than others, the views on the other side made the journey well worth it.
After our stop at Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge, our awesome bus driver, Freddie, drove us to Giant’s Causeway. Giant’s Causeway, the fourth greatest wonder in the United Kingdom, is full of 40,000 interlocking basalt columns that were formed by an ancient volcanic eruption. This landmark overlooks the ocean, where we were able to see for miles standing on top of rock columns.
The next stop on our tour was at the Old Bushmills Distillery, the oldest distillery in the world. As we pulled in, we heard the speakers on the bus fizzle out (more on that later). The tour of Bushmills Distillery was extremely interesting. We were able to see step by step how the whiskey was made and how they bottled them by years--5, 10, 15, and 20 (16 and 21 years are exclusively sold in Northern Ireland). At the end of our tour, we were able to use our free drink ticket to get our drink of choice. Although the girls were brave enough to try a sample, the majority of the remaining whiskey in their shot glasses went to any willing guy in the group.
Boarding the bus, we were surprised to hear that the sound of the speakers crackling during our arrival ended up being a blown out alternator. Thankfully, Freddie had sorted it all out, and we were on the road with the good news that we would get to ride in a luxury bus the next day. The only issue was that poor Freddie was going to need to drive all the way to Dublin to get the new coach--what a trooper!
Tonight is our last in Northern Ireland and in a hostel. I can’t wait to sleep in a bed in a Holiday Inn Express tomorrow night!!!
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