Monday, September 13, 2010

Day 336 – Northern Ireland to England

September 6, 2010 – Cross Keys, Northern Ireland to Milton Keynes, England

Our final day in Northern Ireland is fantastic. We wake-up early to ensure we can take full advantage of our time here because we fly back to Milton Keynes tonight.

First on the agenda is another fry-up. This time Ellen claims it’s a “light fry-up” and we have a good laugh because it seems her idea of a light fry-up is everything we had the other day, minus the sausage. Well fed, Mary, Ellen, Katherine, Eric and I jump in the car and head off to visit “the Giant’s Causeway”.

Eric is getting in touch with his inner-Leprechaun.

The weather today is typical Irish weather – windy, rainy and foggy – but we make the best of it and enjoy a lovely morning exploring the Causeway.

This is not an exaggeration… I’m hangin’ on for dear life.

We also learn about Finn McCool, the Irish giant associated with making the causeway.

As the story goes, Finn built the causeway so he could get to Scotland because he had a rivalry with Benandonner, a Scottish giant. But prior to reaching Scotland, Finn fell asleep and Benandonner walked over to Ireland to confront him. When Benandonner asked for Finn, Finn’s wife, who had covered Finn with a blanket while he slept, told him that Finn wasn’t there. Benandonner asked who was under the blanket and Finn’s wife told him it was she and Finn’s son. Benandonner was thrown by the size of the “son” – if his son was that large, imagine how big the father would be – so he ran all the way back to Scotland. And as he ran home, he broke up the causeway along the way so Finn couldn’t follow him.

And for the record, this story is completely true – I confirmed it on the Internet.

The rain and wind picks-up as we’re touring the Causeway so Mary, Ellen and Katherine leave us to wander, while they retreat to a tea room. Eric and I continue to brave the weather and take in more of the coast line.

After some serious souvenir shopping by all of us – Katherine the “local” ends up buying the most – we get back in the car and attempt another drive along the coast. The luck of the Irish is with us this time and we’re able to actually tell the difference between the ocean and road signs.

Eventually our stomachs finish digesting breakfast and at around 3:30pm we stop at a hotel pub for dinner, before returning home to say our good-byes and set off for the airport.

Eric and I have had a great time in Northern Ireland. Thank you Ellen, James Henry and Mary for inviting us into your home and showing us the famous Irish hospitality – whiskey and fry-ups will never be the same!

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