Day 4, Monday

by sarahmfry, December 30, 2008
Monday was a very busy day. We toured the north part of the Coast Road seeing the some little port towns, Dunluce Castle, and Giant's Causeway.

We started along the River Bann (the longest river in Northern Ireland) which flows through Coleraine, and into the Atlantic Ocean. It is a beautiful river with the city built up on both sides.

Port Stewart
Just north of Coleraine a few miles is the town of Port Stewart. It is a beautiful little coast town with a beach called the Port Stewart Strand. Our travel guide, Mark, tells us that Adam Clark had a near-drowning experience here when God marked him for ministry. Mark and De like to take early morning walks along this beach.
Port Rush
Just a few mile from Port Stewart is another town called Port Rush. The call Coleraine, Port Stewart and Port Rush the Triangle. It is just about four miles between each of the towns. Especially during the warmer months Port Rush is a major tourist attraction.
The Adam Clarke Memorial Church is located in Port Rush. Mark's church owns a little chapel just across the street on the beach (right next to the surfer's club). It's an amazing location. They have service there on Sunday evenings following their service in Coleraine.

During the week the chapel is used as a book store and coffee shop where free drinks and snacks are given to the surfers and anyone wandering along the beach.

There are so many beautiful row houses in Port Rush. It kind of reminds us of the Painted Ladies in San Francisco. Actually, everywhere we went there is lots of color--houses, doors, clothes, peoples' hair, etc.

There is also a world-class golf course (number 12 in the world) in Port Rush. They say it is one of Tiger Woods' favorites. It is right on the coast. It only costs a few hundred dollars to play! (But the golfers here seem more interested in the view than golf.)

We continued on down the Coast Road toward Dunluce Castle....

Dunluce Castle
Dunluce is a 13th century castle just outside of Port Rush. Even on a cloudy day (the sun did shine later), the castle is very photogenic.
Dunluce Castle was probably our favorite castle. It is just a few miles from Mark and De's house. It is built right on the cliffs, so close that at some time the kitchen fell off into the ocean 150 feet (that's a guess) below! Here is a model of the original so you can get an idea. The castle is very well taken care of and is less commercialized than Carricksfergus Castle which we visited later.
View to the west...

View to the east...

Giant's Causeway
Further down the Coast Road is one of Ireland's biggest tourist attractions. You'll see why but I'm not sure the pictures can really capture the grandness of the sight. Since so many people were on Christmas break, the crowds got in the way of what would have been some fantastic pictures. This sign does not tell the whole story. The path was also very slick with muddy spots along the path. David slipped a couple of times near the edge of the cliff which had no rails!

The paths were quite narrow. There are areas where the path had been wiped out by mudslides (or rockslides).

The sun came out beautifully for a few pictures. Notice the people standing on top of the ledge - that will give you an idea of how high the cliffs are. Also notice how grass grows down the cliff! The grass is amazingly hearty.
We spent what daylight we had left at the Causeway. Northern Ireland is so far north that it gets dark at 4:30 or so.
This area was very crowded. This picture is not great - David had the camera set for trying to get a picture of some bird so it is a bit blurry. But it shows how the rocks seem to be stacked. You can literally climb them like steps. It is quite a phenomenon of nature.
The ocean was fairly calm but every once in a while a wave would crash in. Living in Indiana we are suckers for a little wave here or there.

Ballintoy Harbor
Farther to the east us a beautiful harbor down a sharp winding hill. It's hard to believe that people live here. Here is the harbor...
and here is the view opposite the harbor.
Our last destination for the evening was Ballycastle, a quaint old harbor town on the Coast Road.Home
We went home, drank some tea, ate some chocolate, and watched Guineveve (a hilarious old video) in De's sun room or conservatory (depending on where you're from I suppose).


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