The giant' path - Northern Ireland
In September we had another interesting photographic trip, that went a bit in the shadow of the long planned trip to China. We spent a week on the coast in Northern Ireland: the Giant’s path.Was it enough? Not really. Northern Ireland is that kind of place that you can visit many times and get totally different feeling and images due to highly volatile weather conditions.
Did we follow the Game of Thrones route? Not at all. We are not fans of the famous TV show. Therefore, we were not aware that many of the locations are on the bucket list of die hard GOT fans.
Northern Ireland is special due to its glorious history. But we haven’t focused on the history, but more on the landscape in Antrim coast.
Antrim is one of the most photogenic area in Northern Ireland and there is a lot for every taste. Rugged coastline, old castle ruins, charming harbors and above all, Giant Causeway, the UNESCO World Heritage site that is making the Irish people so proud. And a weather that changes so frequently that you don’t have too much time to plan. Now you are soaked wet, cold to the bones, one hour later the sun is drying your clothes, covering everything in a beautiful warm light.
Game of Thrones Filming Locations we visited during our trip:
1. The Dark Hedges
This is probably one of the most photographed landmarks on the Game of Thrones Map. Although, it’s quite hidden away, this place is really packed with tourists. It looks amazing in the morning light or in a foggy day.
This small town is the most northerly point of the Antrim Coast and Glens coastline which is an area of outstanding natural beauty. It defiantly worth visiting it.
The giant’s path – Northern Ireland Itinerary
As for the itinerary, we started the trip in Ballycastle, the “town of the castle” probably due to its proximity to Kinbane castle. We tried our best to photograph Dark Hedges, so famous and full of tourist after featuring in Game of Thrones. And we had the Kinbane Castle almost for ourselves, but with a pretty bad low tide, calm sea and an even worse light.
Then, we next moved few miles away, to Ballintoy, simply to photograph the harbor. Here we got soaked wet for the first time, but we captured the last sun rays after a crazy run from the hotel when the rained stopped. The second day, we photographed the strong waves hitting the stones and leaving beautiful traces on the beach near by.
The next days we spent 2 sunsets and one sunrise at Giant Causeway, struggling to find a spot in the multitude of photographers. And, of course, waiting for the glorious light that finally arrived the second evening.
We soaked with the beauty of those 40,000 basalt columns with their irregular height and special hexagonal shape. And we understood why this is the most popular attraction of Northern Ireland. It’s actually due to the blend of natural beauty and interesting stories about the basalt columns. The legend says giant Fionn mac Cumhaill built a causeway to meet and fight the Scottish giant Benandonner. Knowing that the other side of the channel there are similar columns at Fingal’s Cave on the Scottish isle of Staffa, you would almost believe it.
We ended our trip in the land of giants visiting the small city of Portrush where we had two attempts to photograph Dunluce castle. Both ended up with a pretty large amount of rain absorbed by our clothes and some frustration realizing that the way to the beach next to the castle is closed for reparations.
We photographed the very nice White Rock beach, in a morning when the weather was trying to make fun of our long exposure calculations by covering and revealing the sun every 2-3 minutes.
Dublin and Ireland:
Before flying back home we spent two days in Dublin with the sole purpose of visiting the Guinness factory and tasting our favorite beer directly from the source.
Tired of the hiking in not so favorable weather before, we changed the already booked hotel for a more central one. So we ended up paying over the odds for a pretty bad hotel in the middle of Temple District and having really horrible night sleep.
On our way back to Copenhagen, we had over 4 hours delay, ending back home after midnight, exhausted but with a strong desire to explore the rugged nature of Ireland and Northern Ireland in a future trip.
See few of our posts after the trip in China here