This morning came pretty quickly and we knew that the day was going to be another busy one. After the usual morning scrambling and the Irish breakfast provided at our hostel, we were on our way over near the town of Bushmills and our first stop, The Giant’s Causeway.
As we drove to our destination, our driver told the story behind the Giant’s Causeway and it went something a little like this:
“There was an Irish giant named Finn MacCool. He was a warrior, who noticed another giant over in Scotland. Now, because he did not want the Scottish giant to come over and get rid of him and take over, Finn decided he would go over to Scotland and sneak up on the Scottish giant. So Finn built the causeway and made his way to Scotland. Now as he noticed the giant, whose back was turned, Finn also saw that the giant was three times his size! So in fear, Finn MacCool ran back to Ireland. The Scottish giant turned and saw Finn running away. He began to run after Finn, over to Ireland. Back in Ireland, Finn rushed into his house and told his wife to help him after he explained what had happened with the Scottish Giant. His wife told him to hide in the bedroom and she would take care of everything. Finn did as he was told and hid away. A few minutes later, his wife heard the Scottish Giant knock at the door. She opened it and the Scottish giant asked where Finn MacCool was. She said that he was at work and wondered why. The Scottish giant explained that he had seen Finn MacCool running away and wanted to know why he was there. Finn’s wife said that it did not sound like Finn and asked if he wanted some tea. The Scottish giant agreed and came into the house for a cup of tea. Now there came a noise from the bedroom and the Scottish giant heard it. He demanded that the woman explain who was in there and then went in to see for himself. In the bedroom, lying on the bed was Finn MacCool, acting like a baby. Now Finn’s wife told the Scottish giant that that was Finn MacCool Jr., their baby. The Scottish giant then said that he looked like the giant who had run away from him. “Ah, sometimes the baby sneaks off”, the wife of Finn MacCool explained. Yes, that’s what happened. The baby snuck out and ran to Scotland, he does that all the time. The Scottish giant looked at the supposed baby and thought to himself, “now if that’s the baby, then how big is his father?” And with that thought, the Scottish giant ran off, destroying the bridge that became known as the Giant’s Causeway as he went.”
The sights of the Giant’s Causeway were unique and beautiful. Hexagon shapes of all sizes dotted along the coast line in many different layers. We all climbed and walked all over the causeway and some sat, watching the waves. After the usual pictures, we all made the hike back on to the bus. From there, we traveled into Bushmills and stopped at a local grocery store to get food. Another sustainable aspect that here you have to buy the bags for five pence. Therefore it stops people from using as many as they would if it were free and reinforcing the idea to bring your own bags with instead.
Our next activity was visiting the Bushmills Distillery. Splitting up into groups, we were able to take a tour of the many buildings and learn the processes that go into making the famous Bushmills whiskey, a very popular Ireland trademark. Not only was learning about the processes interesting, but we also learned how Bushmills distillery is using sustainable efforts. For example, we were told that the crushed barley that is not used in the rest of the process of making whiskey is sold to farmers to mix in with their feed for their cows. Another was that the barrels used to store the whiskey after a period of several years or uses, is given to garden shops and the like to be used for whatever they wish. Thus nothing goes to waste at the Bushmills Distillery!
After being able to try this famous whiskey if anyone so chose and checking out the gift shops, we made our way back to the bus and our final destination. Just several minutes out of town, were we taken to MacDonald’s. Much to the distress of many of the students onboard, there were less golden arches and fast food at this particular spot than they were expecting. Instead, beautiful old ruins of a long ago, abandoned castle was perched right on the cliff side, overlooking the ocean.
Finally, we were on our way to the town where we would be staying for the night. A quiet, yet cute town, right along the ocean and a very popular surf spot as we found out, especially once realizing that our hostel’s name of the “Surf and Stay” was pretty accurate. Many people out of the group went for pizza and ice cream for dinner and finally, went to explore along the coast. It was a very interesting day for our group. After all, not many people can say that they stepped in the footsteps of giants, can they?