Day Tour Day
Day 3 of our trip to Belfast is set for a day tour. During the planning stage of this trip, we were considering booking accommodation away from the city center so we can experience real life in the countryside in Northern Ireland. However, after a few days of searching, we decided to stay close to the city and then just do a day tour of some other tourist destinations.
The first reason for our decision is because we couldn’t find accommodation on our budget. Two, we don’t know anyone in those other areas who can tour us around. Also, booking a day tour is a much better idea as we will be able to visit different popular spots just in one day. We wouldn’t have to worry about transportation, our itinerary, or searching for more information about those places ourselves.
And so online, we booked through Irish tour for a day tour for 35GBP/person that would visit the following destinations.
The first castle we stopped by is Carrickfergus. It was a quick stopover plus a toilet break. The castle is closed though so we were only able to take photos from outside.
Game of Thrones Filming Locations
As we were inside the coach, our very lively and funny driver/tour guide pointed out some locations which were used for the making of Game of Thrones. He explained each location in lots of detail.
One of those which was also memorable for me is the Cushendon Cave. This is where Sir Davos Seaworth and Lady Melisandre landed ashore in Season 2 and is also where Melisandre gave birth to a terrifying shadow baby.
We also stopped by another site where in Season 6 Episode 7, Arya Stark comes to Braavos and was stabbed repeatedly. She has to escape quickly to save her life.
We were given half an hour to explore the harbor. It is a very peaceful and quiet area. We were able to get good photos here.
The most memorable of all the filming locations that we visited that day is the Dark Hedges. The story goes back to the 18th century when James Stuart planted roughly +150 beech trees to line the entrance of his home.
Sadly, there are now only about 90 trees remaining due to the influx of visitors and storms that has passed within the area. Nevertheless, it is still a destination worth visiting.
This is the highlight of the tour. Giants Causeway is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has a very long history. What is so unique and special about it is the 40,000 basal columns that were a result of an ancient volcanic eruption.
We were given two hours to explore the site by ourselves. There are many options for the visitors, either to go straight to where the columns are by taking a bus or walking while listening to a free audio guide. We don’t want to miss anything so we opted to walk and enjoy the scenery.
Indeed, we did the right thing. We took loads of photos from top to bottom. We even try climbing the Ampitheatre up a hill but because there was not enough time until the closing of the center, we climbed down and took the bus going back to the visitor center.
From the Giants Causeway, our tour was almost over as our tour guide drove us back to Belfast.
The Next Day
With our failed trekking the day before, we were very hopeful and excited to try it again on our last full day in Belfast. We really wanted to do physical activity while enjoying the scenery and trekking/walking seems to be the perfect activity for us.
We woke up early that day and checked the stop where the free shuttle bus would be picking up passengers from. The bus finally came although a few minutes late then took us to the entrance of Divis and Black Mountain.
Of course, if you drive a car, time will not be a problem at all. However, since we don’t have our driver’s licenses yet and the taxi fare would be a little pricey, we opted to be patient with their free bus.
Eventually, we started our treks. There are three trails to choose from. And so we started with the longest trail which took about a 2-2.5 hour walk. Then we also did the second longest trail. When we felt a tiny bit tired we took a rest. Since we are not in a rush we take our own pace while enjoying the experience.
Overall, our experience at the mountain was amazing in which we both agreed to make it a point to trek when visiting a new place in the future.