Monthly Archives: September 2021

20210902 – Wild Atlantic Way & Dublin







Thursday

Tubbercurry

Out by 11:00, to the Thingimajega and set off to our next abode in Westport. Well turns out to be 20 minutes inland from Westport, just what we need 40 minutes round trip to the WAW.

Stop off in Donegall for a browse around, not much to recommend it apart from the friendliness and helpfulness of everyone.

Try to stop off for a saunter around Sligo but no coins and yet another rare app needs downloading to park. At this rate I’ll need an iPhone with a gigabyte of memory. Forget it, we drive on.

Lounge for the next 3 days.

Stop off at Tub of curry (Tubbercurry), a small Irish town with very little to recommend it. It had a Bank with no cash. No toilets due to that universal excuse for laziness and incompetnece, COVID. Signs to tourist office, but what a surprise it’s closed – no doubt COVID strikes again. Bizarre that they filmed “Normal People” here. Also famous for the Connaught Rangers and the India mutiny of 1920 – I’m sure you’re all familiar with that.

One of the 4 bedrooms.

We’ve had to spend the last 24 hours chasing our host to see how we get in. He finally rings us and wants to meet us in a pub car park to lead the way as sat nav not reliable he says. Meet him, follow him. No need as sat-nav is spot on. I suppose he thinks this is helpful customer service. Personally, I’d rather just have an email with details on how to open the door, that way you don’t have to harass them to know how to get in – simples.

Bungalows very nice and comfortable, although we’ll wear out a pair of trainers trapsing from remote kitchen back to lounge. Under floor heating is crap.
 

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No toilets in Donegal but kind waitress when asked where the nearest ones were said “you’re welcome to use ours”. Can you imagine that in Blackburn.

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Friday

Take a drive onto Achill Island to explore the WAW sites there. I’ll let the photos tell the story. A long 6 hour drive, made worse by the 40 minutes drive to our abode, but in my opinion worth it, Wendy not so happy about it.

Call in at a Tesco Super store for some dinner. The small corner shop of my childhood had a better choice. Really struggled to choose anything, ended up with a Paella. Really a yellow rice bowl that had been shown a glimpse of a shrimp, a prawn and a slither of chicken. Never mind I had some wine with me.

 

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Saturday

Wendy has had enough of driving the WAW. She wants to have an easy day sauntering around the shops in Westport. Joy. What a waste but never let it be said that I ain’t fair.

Have to say Westport is a lovely little town with some character. Stop for a cuppa, has to be the worst tea and coffee in Ireland, but interesting people watching sat outside. Take a short drive out to the Quay for a stroll.

I’m fed up of scratting around choosing what to have for tea so I implement my new menu item, dessert. Yes, just dessert for tea. I love desserts but never have one as they’re fattening, have to save the calories for some wine. Anyway tonight’s tea is lemon meringue pie and a chocolate mouse. How’s that for innovation.

A very leisurely day.
 

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Sunday

To the Thingimajaga and off to Dublin. It’s a grey miserable day but as we’re driving doesn’t matter. Have to spend 40 minutes driving down the side of the Liffey. Unbelievable traffic and then to top it off the Samuael Beckett bridge is closed – seems that boats are more important than tax-paying vehicles – so it’s a major diversion. Finally get to our underground car park and then a 4-minute walk to the hotel. The car will be having a 3 day rest in the cement caverns of Dublin’s docklands.

The hotel seems good on first impressions. We’ve upgraded to an executive room so should get sky movies, but yes you’ve guessed it another screw-up, it doesn’t work. It takes them 3 hours to try and fix it. In the end, at 20:30ish they move us to a room where it works.

You’ll be hearing more on the hotel in days to come.
 

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Two of the awesome highlights of the WAW that got away. Never mind we’ll be back, perhaps we’ll get to them next time.


Monday

Lazy start to the day. We’re off on the hop on off green bus tour.

Hop off at the Temple bar area for a stroll around. I have a pint of Guinness in the famous Temple bar, what an awesome selection of whiskeys, while Wendy has a tuna sandwich. Wendy’s not at all impressed as there seems to be no shopping area.

Back on the bus to finish the tour. Neither of us are at all impressed with Dublin. Fortunately the weather is lovely.

Most of the Dublin pictures have been “acquired” off the internet rather than trying to take pictures of a moving bus which usually seem to end up with just the back of some bald old gits head or all sky.

Then it’s a real challenge as we try and find somewhere to eat around the yuppie docklands area. Half the places are closed, most of the menus seem to consist of just 3 items, end up at a Mexican equivalent of subway, build your own burrito. It’s very good but no plates to eat off. Wendy’s not at all impressed.

What is it with Dublin restaurants, most of them seem to have only 3 items on the menu, fish and chips; pizza; burger.


 

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https://www.prageru.com/video/a-palestinian-explains-hamas

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Sadly ran out of rants, jokes and comments on the religion of pieces and permanent offence. Fear not next blog will make up the deficit with a non-PC vengnece.


Tuesday

Dublin’s very own Dark Hedges.

Lazy start to the day. We’ve booked to do the Jameson Distillery tour, the weathers sunny, so we take a stroll along the river Liffey to the distillery. Stop off for a Starbucks and sit by the river. Then in a pale imitation of an American I saunter along with Starbucks in hand.

The tour is pretty good. The comparative tasting is even better. Then we do a cask barrel tasting where they draw whiskey straight from the barrel for tasting, I think it was 60 percent ABV. As I have to drink Wendy’s share plus the free basic Jameson sample, not forgetting the tasting samples I’m rat arsed by the end of it – I should fit in well with the Liffey strewn locals, although Cider seems to be their tipple.

Then we take a stroll back and call in at the Temple Bar area for a Boxty dinner, along with a pint of their Stout – see picture. Have to say the weather, Boxty and especially the Jameson tour has really improved my view of Dublin, but we wouldn’t come back. Really a tad disappointed, had great expectations of Dublin. Dread to think what it would have been like if we hadn’t had good weather.


 

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Today’s Wave of Life has to be Jameson’s Black Barrel. Perhaps the closest of the Jamesons to a Bourbon.

Triple distilled, twice charred, for a rich smooth taste.

Awarded A Double Gold Medal at the 2019 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and winner of best Irish blended whiskey RRP under €60, at the 2019 Irish Whiskey Awards.

Charring is an age-old method for invigorating barrels to intensify the taste. Jameson Black Barrel is our tribute to our coopers, who painstakingly give their bourbon barrels an additional charring to reveal their untold richness and complexity. Because every barrel contains secrets; the trick is coaxing them out.

Nose
Time spent maturing in these barrels leads to intensified aromas of butterscotch, fudge and creamy toffee.

Taste
Nutty notes are in abundance alongside the smooth sweetness of spice and vanilla.

Finish
Enjoy the richness and intensity of toasted wood and vanilla. It’s another level of smoothness.

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So what did we like about Ireland? The Dark Hedges; Giants Causeway; Wild Atlantic Way; Jameson distillery; two very comfortable VRBO’s; a really positive and sensible attitude to Covid prevention, even the stupid and selfish have to wear masks indoors; colourful hedgerows; friendly Irish people.

What didn’t we like? Mediocre hotels, Fawlty Towers with an Irish lilt; grey weather, but to be fair we didn’t have any rain; temporary traffic lights and roadworks; single track roads whose sole purpose seems to be to wreck my suspension; the disappointment that was Dublin.


Wednesday

One of the few good points of this hotel is their breakfast.

The customer relations manager is marauding around breakfast and asks for our opinion. Well, I bet she regretted that. Gave her the full sorry tale.

Then to top it off we try to return to our room, hang on our card won’t work in the lift. I wonder why? Track down the customer relations manager, who sets off to get us new ones. Low and behold get to the room and it won’t let us in either. It’s only 09:05 and they were that keen to get rid of us they’ve checked us out. The customer relations manager turns up with the new cards, I bet she wanted to sink under the carpet – “I rest my case”.

Take a leisurely drive up to Belfast around the Mourn coastal route. Quite pretty but not the WAW.

Stop off at the Titanic hotel for an excellent dinner. Pity about the Apple maps having it in the wrong place and the car park sign to the hotel taking you to the wrong location. Finally, get there. You really couldn’t make this incompetence up.

Then it’s off to the ferry for a two-hour queue to board. Noddy’s well past Big Ears by the time we board, so being conservative covid cautious old farts we’re straight to our cabin, not a deluxe this time, and so to sleep. Wow, an alcohol-free day.
 

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For today’s rant I’ll focus on our hotel, should be renamed Fawlty Towers. Even Basil would be embarrassed. It’s supposed to be a 4 Star but I think 3 of the stars have gone over the event horizon and been swallowed by a black hole.

Let’s list the imperfections:

Sky movies didn’t work.
No bath robes.
No daily room service. Use the Covid protection excuse. We have to contact room service if we want servicing. Seems like a great excuse to save money.
They expect you to service your own room but don’t have the common sense to even provide a toilet brush – disgusting.
Phone for fresh towels. Delivered but they can’t be bothered to take the dirty ones away.
Kettle and coffee machine plug leads aren’t long enough.
Stupid pod coffee machine that had the temperament of women at the wrong time of the month.
Cards cancelled before checkout.
Building site noise – not really their fault – just adds to the joy.
One pillow as soft as a brick.
Basil trainees on reception who are clueless.
Dinner menu has hardly any choice and could be prepared by a microwave guru – choose form Fish and Chips, Burger and of course Pizza.
Fish was the size of a battered sardine.
Unable to charge meals to room.
And the one good thing is – they were that incompetent they didn’t charge for breakfast.

I rest my case.


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Whisk(e)y with or without the e. Did anyone notice?

Generally speaking, whiskey (or whisky) can be any of a variety of distilled liquors that are made from a fermented mash of cereal grains and aged in wooden containers, which are usually constructed of oak. Commonly used grains are corn, barley malt, rye, and wheat. So what is it that sets these liquors apart? In a nutshell, the name is based on factors such as the type of cereal grain used in the distilling process as well as how and where it was produced.

So why do you see the name of the liquor spelled both as “whiskey” and as “whisky?” No, it’s not due to a spelling error or typo. It is generally spelled “whiskey”—with an e—in the United States and Ireland. It is spelled “whisky”—without the e—in Scotland and Canada, which are both well known for their whisk(e)y, and in several other countries.

Before we go on to explain the differences between whiskey, Scotch, bourbon, and rye, here is a quick primer on whiskey in general. Whiskeys can be straight or blended: the former are not mixed with anything or are mixed only with other whiskey from the same distiller and distillation period; the latter can include various combinations of whiskey products from different distillers and different distillation periods as well as other flavorings, such as fruit juice. Blended whiskeys generally have a lighter flavor than straight whiskeys.

Scotch is a whisky (no e) that gets its distinctive smoky flavor from the process in which it is made: the grain, primarily barley, is malted and then heated over a peat fire. There are United Kingdom laws governing the definitions of various categories and marketing of Scotch whisky; they set out production regulations and specify that a whisky cannot be called Scotch unless it is entirely produced and bottled in Scotland.

Bourbon, a whiskey that was first produced in Kentucky, U.S., uses at least 51% mash from corn in its production. It also uses a sour mash process—that is, the mash is fermented with yeast and includes a portion from a mash that has already been fermented. U.S. regulations specify that in order for a whiskey to be called bourbon, it must be made in the United States. There are also regulations dictating the ingredients and production methods of the spirit.

And rye whiskey? It’s a whiskey that uses a rye mash or a rye and malt mash. In the United States, regulations stipulate that the mash must be at least 51% rye in order for it to be called rye whiskey. In Canada, regulations do not specify a minimum percentage of rye.

Any whiskey aficionado will be able to tell you that there are more factors and nuances than what we’ve mentioned above, such as what water was used to make the spirit or how long the mash is heated, various blendings, etc. This is an admittedly concise, yet hopefully helpful, primer.

20210827 – Ireland and The Wild Atlantic Way







Friday

Set off after teatime to the ferry in Liverpool. To avoid too many roadworks on the motorways I take the route through Liverpool. What a depressing start to our holiday as we drive through shuttered, graffitied areas of Liverpool. Looks like a war torn hell hole.

Boarding of the ferry went fairly smooth, only a 30-minute wait. Our deluxe cabin is very swish with a double bed, TV, fridge, lounge area and sea view as well as a door onto a shared balcony at the blunt end of the ship / boat. Bit of a waste really as Noddy has gone past Big Ears so we just go to bed, but it was the only cabin available.
 

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Grateful that we don’t live in downtown Liverpool.

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I see the 6th century ragheads from the religion of pieces and permanent offence have been busy today slaughtering not only Americans but 60 of their own brethren. When will we realise that this pernicious ideology masquerading as a religion of peace is just an evil threat to civilized democracies and seeks world domination.

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At last some hope of common sense and my wrists will be saved from repetative strain injury (RSI) as those ridiculous “Accept Cookie” requests may finally be banned. If there was ever any reason to leave the Evil Union then getting rid of that nonsensical and pointless GDPR was just one of them.

Internet users will be spared “pointless” cookie alerts from websites as part of data law reforms that could put ministers on a collision path with the EU. Ministers have said they want to move “quickly and creatively” to devise new rules after Brexit. Oliver Dowden, the culture secretary, said that data laws should be based on “common sense, not box-ticking”. The measures will include cutting down on the number of alerts sent to computer users seeking consent for cookies — text files stored on a computer by websites that are visited.

Under Whitehall’s plans, the UK will diverge from some parts of the EU’s general data protection regulation (GDPR), which came into effect in Britain three years ago. It has been criticised for being too complex as many businesses struggle to understand the details and impose unnecessarily strict regimes out of fear of non-compliance.

A spokesman for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said ministers were concerned that too many “pop-up” cookie alerts can “spoil people’s enjoyment of the internet”.


Saturday

Dark Hedges car park – empty.

Arrive in Belfast at 06:30 so by 08:00 we arrive at our first stop, the Dark Hedges of Game of Thrones fame.

Then it’s onto the 2nd stop, The Giants Causeway – see Trivia write up. The National Trust visitors centre is closed and you have to book for their car park and tour well in advance, £13 each. Glad we couldn’t get on the tour. There’s something pretentious and stuck up about the NT, a bit like the Caravan Club, with their notices everywhere. Found a local car park and walked down to the causeway, cost me all of £5.

Dark Hedges

Drive along the Causeway route to the Rope Bridge but you can’t go on it so abandoned that. Really craving for a coffee so we drive down to the cafe at Ballintoy harbour, another Game Of Thrones scene that we’ve visited before. Alas, car park is ram jammed with damn tourists.

Abandon that and drive to Bushmills, free parking and at last some brown water masquerading as coffee. Spot a chippy selling Battered haggis, how tempting is that, must get to try some.

Drive onto Dunluce castle. £7 to go in but it’s shrouded in mist so we give that a miss.

What’s with the gangs of Orangemen getting ready with their regalia, are they off on a march? Lovely to see the Union flag and even the cross of Saint George proudly flying in most places. What a pity we don’t take the same pride in England, can you imagine the backlash from the woke snowflakes. I think I’ll get a Saint George flag when we get home.

Carry on along the Causeway route to Derry. We did intend to walk the walls but it looked such a depressing place in the mist and grey cloud. Drive onto our hotel at Letterkenny, a somewhat overpriced, over-starred, 4-star Raddison Blue – supposedly a 4 star but I think one star had gone over the event horizon and been consumed by a black hole. Room and decor was great and comfortable but after two of those yuppie nespro machines we give up – whoever designed them and can make such a dog’s breakfast of brewing a coffee needs shooting to save gene pool pollution.

Dunluce Castle

Meal in the hotel restaraunt with all the ambience, noise, and screaming of a sports bar full of football fans was nothing special. Fortunately, end a great day with a bottle of Carmenera in our room. With such an early start it’s been a long hard day, 8 hours driving around and stopping off, but worth it.

I’ll let the photos tell the story.


 

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The Dark Hedges, awesome and beautiful, especially at 08:00 with no one around. One of the benefits of such an early docking. Just ponder the forethought and wisdom of James Stuart who planted the hedges and yet could not have possibly lived long enough to see them in all their glory. I wonder how amazed he would be to see how popular and beautiful they have become. Sadly such a pity that the usual scrots have been allowed anywhere near, having carved their initials into some of the tree trunks.

The Dark Hedges is an avenue of beech trees along Bregagh Road between Armoy and Stranocum in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The trees form an atmospheric tunnel that has been used as a location in HBO’s popular television series Game of Thrones.

In about 1775 James Stuart built a new house, named Gracehill House after his wife Grace Lynd. Over 150 beech trees were planted along the entrance road to the estate, to create an imposing approach.

Legend

According to legend, the hedges are visited by a ghost called the Grey Lady, who travels the road and flits across it from tree to tree. She is claimed to be either the spirit of James Stuart’s daughter (named “Cross Peggy”) or one of the house’s maids who died mysteriously or a spirit from an abandoned graveyard beneath the fields, who on Halloween is joined on her visitation by other spirits from the graveyard.

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Now I’ve always had a bit of time for Boris, but his latest antic of going shoping in M&S without a mask on proves he is an absolute idiot. He is the one who has removed mandatory mask-wearing indoors but relied upon common sense, well good luck with that. Even he can’t set an example, just another member of the new SS (Stupid and selfish – all the evidence shows that masks not only protect you but also protects others). Then we wonder why we have some of the highest case rates in the World – bring back mandatory indoor masks and stop these stupid super spreader events, we don’t need them.

How many thousands have died because of his gross negligent, stupid policies.

Our Donkey leader, leading by example and demonstrating applied common sense.

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2016 survey for Channel 4 documentary finds 23% of muslims want sharia law

Nearly a quarter (23%) supported the introduction of sharia law in some areas of Britain, and 39% agreed that “wives should always obey their husbands”

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/apr/11/british-muslims-strong-sense-of-belonging-poll-homosexuality-sharia-law

Well it seems that they can now get their wish if they emigrate to Afghanistan they can enjoy sharia in all its glory.

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A great article on making the unvaccinated pay out for their deadly decisions

https://apple.news/ALZHCaaMiSeGpX6SM-BvDGA

You know it makes sense.


Sunday

Breakfast with style in the hotel – Milk bottle on the table a sin when I was a kid.


Early start as we’ve got the Northern most part of the Wild Atlantic Way on our plans for the day – see photos that document our day. Sadly it’s grey and overcast and not very warm, but at least no rain.

Another long day especially as we finally have to drive over tortuous roller-coaster roads across Glenveagh National Park to get to Mary Doaltys Cottage near Begbun. It’s remote, so remote that Apple maps are clueless, it took us 20 minutes down dirt tracks to find it. But as you can see it’s very spacious and comfortable – 5 bedrooms for just the two of us for 4 nights.

Subway for tea and the rest of that Carmenera. We’ve earned it, another hard day. Need to start relaxing we’re on holiday.

Malin Head.



Our VRBO for the next 4 days.


 

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Just in awe of all the nice houses around here. All freshly painted with manicured gardens. Is there some sort of EU grant scheme fiddle – just like the Irish border homing pigs of yester year – to get your house painted and your garden manicured? What beautiful hedgerows around here full of red (dancing Ladies) and orange flowers.

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Monday

Bunbeg harbour

A lazy start and then it’s off to do a shop. Now I’m not a religious person, so the concept of purgatory has no real meaning, but a hour’s shopping in Aldi with Wendy is my idea of purgatory, enough to make any god fearing sole follow the preachings of the bible to the letter.

On the way to Dunglow we spot Mrs brown (of “Mrs Browns Boys” fame) in rollers and slippers on her way out. Only in Ireland, oh and of course Walmart in America.

Back home for lunch and then we have a short drive down the Wild Atlantic Way, learning some common sense. At least the suns come out.

I’ll let the photos tell the story.

Our lounge



 

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Pleased to say Ireland both north and south take Covid much more seriously than we do. Every one wears masks indoors. What a pity we don’t in the UK.

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I wonder how many deaths and serious accident have been caused by Werthers original toffees. They’re a nightmare to open, especially when driving.


Tuesday

What a disaster of a day. Try to book a VRBO in Annecy. Date routine is totally screwed up and then payment gets rejected. Three failed and frustraing attempts, each with 4 software SNAFU’s, as you can imagine the air was blue. As a result of this I left my wallet on the coffee table, so what you may say?

Set off up the Wild Atlantice way. More stunning scenery and beautiful homes. I’ll let the photos tell the story.

Get to Horn Head and Wendy has lunch and then we take a walk. Near the end of the walk panic sets in as I can’t find my wallet – being a nerd it’s always in the same zipped-up pocket. Has it come out by accident as I retrieve my iPhone? Retrace my 1-mile route among the heather. No luck. Spitting feathers by now, along with a few choice words of recrimination, as I’m not sure whether it’s still at home or has dropped out with we abandon the rest of the trip – not too bad as we probably wouldn’t have wanted to go that much further on. Then retrace our car journey. Of course, I don’t find it at any of the stop-off points because it’s on the damn coffee table – oh to be a geriatric.

Back home for a late afternoon tea and then we drive down to explore Bunbeg beach. I really fancy a Guiness after todays screwup. There’s a famous Irish music pub near the beach according to Apple maps. Wrong, turns out it’s on the main road. It’s closed and may open in a hour or maybe two according to the landlord – it is Ireland, what can you expect.

Console myself with a bottle of Zinfandell.

*Horn Head – picture from the Internet



 

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Wednesday

A really lazy start. Off down to see the spectacular cliffs at Slieve League, reckoned to be the best coastline in the whole of Europe. Pretty impressive, even if it’s a mile walk to see them after being fleeced of £5 to park. Then a drive back up the Wild Atlantic Way. Another long day. After 6 hours on the road, I’m desparate for a pint of Guiness and yet not a pub in sight. Finally we come across a remote pub, and yes they do sell Guinness, and even though the landlord doesn’t know what a barrel glass is he manages to ferret one out for me. Somehow a pint, of no matter what, always tastes better in a barrel glass rather than a girly flower vase. As my Dad used to say “you should never drink half pints, you’ll catch a cold”.

I’ll let the photos tell the story of our day. Well worth the effort.

Back home for 19:30 for pizza and the rest of that Zinfandell.


 

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The view of cliffs of Slieve League and Malin Head. Not forgetting a pint of Guiness in a barrel glass.

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Our Donkey leader.

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Well, it seems like we’ve found the traffic light centre of Ireland, just south of Dunglow, 7 sets of temporary traffic lights in just 4 miles. The other joy of these remote Irish roads, the Wild Atlantic Way is nearly all on singletrack or narrow roads. Hardly any traffic on them but they seem obsessed with frequent “Traffic Calming measures”, which makes the roads even narrower.


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The Giant’s Causeway is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic fissure eruption.[3][4] It is located in County Antrim on the north coast of Northern Ireland, about three miles (5 km) northeast of the town of Bushmills.
It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986 and a national nature reserve in 1987 by the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland. In a 2005 poll of Radio Times readers, the Giant’s Causeway was named the fourth greatest natural wonder in the United Kingdom.[5] The tops of the columns form stepping stones that lead from the cliff foot and disappear under the sea. Most of the columns are hexagonal, although there are also some with four, five, seven or eight sides.[6] The tallest are about 12 metres (39 ft) high, and the solidified lava in the cliffs is 28 metres (92 ft) thick in places.

Giants Causeway

Much of the Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast World Heritage Site is owned and managed by the National Trust. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Northern Ireland,[7] receiving over 998,000 visitors in 2019.[8] Access to the Giant’s Causeway is free of charge: it is not necessary to go via the visitor centre, which charges a fee.[9] The remainder of the site is owned by the Crown Estate and several private landowners.

Around 50 to 60 million years ago,[3] during the Paleocene Epoch, Antrim was subject to intense volcanic activity, when highly fluid molten basalt intruded through chalk beds to form an extensive volcanic plateau. As the lava cooled, contraction occurred. Horizontal contraction fractured in a similar way to drying mud, with the cracks propagating down as the mass cooled, leaving pillarlike structures, which also fractured horizontally into “biscuits”. In many cases, the horizontal fracture resulted in a bottom face that is convex, while the upper face of the lower segment is concave, producing what are called “ball and socket” joints. The size of the columns was primarily determined by the speed at which lava cooled.[10] The extensive fracture network produced the distinctive columns seen today. The basalts were originally part of a great volcanic plateau called the Thulean Plateau, which formed during the Paleocene.

According to legend, the columns are the remains of a causeway built by a giant. The story goes that the Irish giant Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn MacCool), from the Fenian Cycle of Gaelic mythology, was challenged to a fight by the Scottish giant Benandonner. Fionn accepted the challenge and built the causeway across the North Channel so that the two giants could meet. In one version of the story, Fionn defeats Benandonner.[12] In another, Fionn hides from Benandonner when he realises that his foe is much bigger than he is. Fionn’s wife, Sadhbh, disguises Fionn as a baby and tucks him in a cradle. When Benandonner sees the size of the “baby”, he reckons that its father, Fionn, must be a giant among giants. He flees back to Scotland in fright, destroying the causeway behind him so that Fionn would be unable to chase him down.[13] Across the sea, there are identical basalt columns (a part of the same ancient lava flow) at Fingal’s Cave on the Scottish isle of Staffa, and it is possible that the story was influenced by this.[14]
In overall Irish mythology, Fionn mac Cumhaill is not a giant but a hero with supernatural abilities, contrary to what this particular legend may suggest. In Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry (1888), it is noted that, over time, “the pagan gods of Ireland […] grew smaller and smaller in the popular imagination, until they turned into the fairies; the pagan heroes grew bigger and bigger, until they turned into the giants”.[15] There are no surviving pre-Christian stories about the Giant’s Causeway, but it may have originally been associated with the Fomorians (Fomhóraigh);[16] the Irish name Clochán na bhFomhóraigh or Clochán na bhFomhórach means “stepping stones of the Fomhóraigh”. The Fomhóraigh are a race of supernatural beings in Irish mythology who were sometimes described as giants and who may have originally been part of a pre-Christian pantheon.