Day Five – Donegal and Derry/Londonderry
Donegal needs an entire tour unto itself, but we had to move on. Leaving the B&B early, we hit the road for the Glenveagh National Park, Derry and ultimately our last hotel in Coleraine.
After a very short drive towards the petrol station I insisted that we stop to take pictures of Mount Errigal. Ireland does not have much in the way of mountains, so seeing this lonely quartzite mound is a lovely change in terrain.
It was wet again. For some reason the photos do not show just how damp it was throughout Donegal.
We all agreed to take the little bus from the Glenveagh National Park carpark to the castle. There were two other small groups other than ourselves which was quite the contrast to being there in June. The staff were very good and played us some videos about the property, but it really was a long way just to visit the tea shop!
Oh yes, I remember, then there was that second that the sun came out and we were all fooled into taking a stroll in the gardens!
We moved from food to food really on Day Five. After leaving Glenveagh, we drove to Letterkenny. I will always remember the horrible little chicken place that refused to serve my brother a kid sized meal because he was over 12 years old. What if I only want to eat a little bit, eh? You’re telling me I have to pay full price? Get out of town. I suppose the moral of the story is that chicken fried in batter is very rarely a good idea.
Dawdling along, we landed in Derry about sunset time and Tiernan took us on a walking tour of the murals then along the walls of the old city.
I really love the walls. Derry is the only town in Ireland to have them still intact. I really like how steep they are over the top of the gates and the way all the buildings are packed into them.
The city hall also looked great all lit up! That stone is a fabulous colour!
Day Six – The Giant’s Causeway
I chose to park us up in Coleraine because it would save a little time on the morning of Day Six. We graced the gloriously corporate Premiere Inn for one night, ate in the attached pub, and did a circuit of the retail park to stretch our legs.
Mum and Dad were introduced to the wonders of purchasing at Argos. You look things up in a catalogue before purchasing at a machine – there are few actual goods on the shop floor. It’s a place that has provided almost all our small appliances. Including a 10ltr dehumidifier after the mould crisis of 2016, which is now well into remission.
It’s hard to say if the retail park stood out more than the Giant’s Causeway for this portion of the trip. I love the North Coast, but the day we visited was just as wet and miserable as every other day. When the Causeway is dry and bright, it’s glorious. My workmates and I were there recently for training. The day was blue and crisp. We even went for a brisk stroll after our education.
No such luck for my family! Still, the wild coastline of Ireland is what the tourists come to see. There were still hardy souls around; clambering over the stones looking for the recently viral giant. We actually missed most of the rain. It came in thick and fast as we were walking back up the hill to leave.
With the bus beginning to smell a bit like a swamp, we decided to take a quick look at Ballintoy Harbour as a Game of Thrones homage. I really fell off the photo taking wagon here. Rain spiking out extremities did not inspire me to take out the camera… sorry.
This was our last day on the road officially. We crawled in to Belfast in the early afternoon and stacked 7 people into our two-bed home near the Outer Ring (which always makes me think of Star Wars. Outer Rim. Outer Ring. The Outer Ring territories).
In my opinion, Mum and Dad did not get to spend enough time up here, experiencing our daily expat life. But we did manage to visit the Festival of Light at Mount Stewart. And the all important IKEA near George Best Airport. And the Belfast Harlequins Rugby Club.
You know. All the important sights.