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Trip Report a small slice of Northern Ireland -- Giant's Causeway, Belfast, etc.

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For perhaps our last Bank holiday weekend, we decided to venture out a little farther than normal and visit Northern Ireland. Our past bank holiday weekends have been to N. Wales (2x), Lake District, Bath/Stonehenge, and Canterbury/Dover which are all about 3 hrs or so drive from our Derby base.

Photos and commentary: http://ukfrey.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/northern-ireland.html

Family of 4: DD14, DS11

We took an extra day off work and made it a 4 night / 3 day trip. Flights were conveniently from little East Midlands to Belfast City. We headed straight to the northern coast in our "hired" (rental) car.

Flights: £100 pp with 2 check bags (total) on Flybe

Car: £128 for 72 hrs, Hertz Premium class, auto (we returned it on our Belfast day)

Accommodations: 3 nights at the wonderful Valley View B&B outside of Bushmills (£260 for the family room for 3 nights).

http://www.valleyviewbushmills.com/

plus one night in Belfast as the Premier Inn, Alfred Street (£29/nt on offer -- sweet)

http://www.premierinn.com/en/hotel/BELFAS/belfast-city-centre-alfred-street

Day 1:
Giant's Causeway (NT)
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge (NT)
Dark Hedges drive through
Bushmills Distillery visit (but no tour)

Day 2:
walk from Giant's Causeway to Dunseverick Castle along the cliffs and coast (4.5 miles)
drive along coast to Cushendall and then Glenariff
2.5 mile walk in Glenariff Forest Park

Day 3:
Drive to Belfast
Black Cab tour
lunch at Crown Liquor Saloon
self-walking tour to City Hall, Albert Clock, Belfast Cathedral & Titanic Quarter

Contemplated visiting the newish Titanic Exhibit but decided on a city overview instead -- tough call.

Belfast was interesting. Glad we got a little insight into the Troubles but know we just scratched the service there (and perhaps didn't get a very well rounded view). The city itself, for what we could tell in one day, didn't grab us like say, Liverpool, did.

We love walking the countryside so the 2 days in the country were great. Glad we got to visit the Causeway and walk the cliffs. We could have visited more towns/cities along the coast but we liked the slow pace in our small slice around the NW coast.

Restaurants:

Really enjoyed the Bushmills Inn restaurant. Outstanding food and service. Expensive but fairly priced (£100 for the family with 3 courses and 1.5 rounds of drinks).

http://www.bushmillsinn.com/restaurant.aspx

The Nook outside the causeway wasn't very good but our other options were booked.

Sakura in Belfast was okay Japanese.

We really enjoyed the atmosphere (and surprisingly the food) at the Crown Liquor Saloon.

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/crown-bar/

Two other ex-pat families made similar trips (and we actually ran into a third) which enticed us to go. I didn't see too many queries about the area on this forum so it perhaps doesn't rank very high on priority lists. Perhaps this will help . . .

. . . or not.

Enjoy.

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