This morning found us in Bushmills, in Northern Ireland, eating a satisfying breakfast in a friendly dining room. We were the only guests at the B&B, so we had the undivided attention of our hosts. “Isn’t the weather fine this mornin’?” our hostess asked. “We’re keeping our fingers crossed.” I looked out the window at the street glistening in the gentle rain. I agreed with her wholeheartedly, both because I enjoy a gentle rain, and I assumed I would like any alternative less.
Our hostess had the traits I’ve come to associate with the people of this land: the gift of gab, a friendly demeanor, and a distrust of the cities. We heard about the rising cost of real estate, the driving habits of the locals (along with the details of a tragic accident), and a host of other topics. Somewhere in all that she asked us what our plans were for the day. We told her we were going to the Giant’s Causeway, and she approved of the decision. Since the causeway is the biggest attraction for miles around, I can’t imagine she was too surprised, but it did steer the conversation onto the subject of runaway development.
We escaped the pleasant conversation and headed the short distance to coast and causeway.
I suppose it’s about time I told you what the Giant’s Causeway is. A long, long time ago, a volcano erupted and filled a basin with lava. This lava cooled and contracted, and cracks formed in the basalt. The cooling was steady enough that the cracks formed in a regular pattern, and now the sea is eroding the formation, revealing hexagonal columns of stone.
On the coast the wind was brisk and chilly, and we taught MaK the word “blustery”. Loaded up with cameras (four between the three of us), bundled against the bracing December air, we set out to explore the cliffs on the northern end of the island.
[I’ll put some pictures here, I promise. Just not right now.]
This I will say: Of all the places to go in the off-season, this is a no-brainer. Time after time we have been faced disappointment because things are closed for the off-season. At the Giant’s Causeway pL didn’t park very close to the car next to us because their doors were open. “That’s got to be good enough for this time of year,” he said. I agreed. After all, we were three of perhaps fifteen tourists in Ireland.
Wrong. There were a lot of people there. I don’t blame them, either; that place is pretty damn cool. I can’t imagine what things are like in the summer. Well, actually I can imagine, and it’s not pretty. At some point the person/rock ratio gets tilted too far and I, at least, would start to think more about the other people there than the attraction itself. We rambled, got our shoes muddy, hopped across rocks, stacked a rock or two, then tramped along the cliff top for a ways. Between us, we took many, many pictures, which will tell the story from here on out. At least they will, once I sort through them and delete most of them.