Wednesday, Nov. 17
The Irish countryside looks just like it does in the movies.
The rolling hills are bright emerald green, full of crooked fences and funny little sheep that are marked with red and blue paint for breeding.
We took an eight-hour tour through the backcountry today, hitting tons of attractions along the way.
Because it was a typical, blistery Irish day, the group was very small.
Therefore, the tour guide opted for a cramped family van.
On the down side, it was uncomfortable and nauseating. On the plus side, we travelled down some amazing roads that were only accessibly by a smaller vehicle.
The first half of the day was hammering with rain.
According to our guide, who had a wicked sense of humour, it’s only considered rain in Ireland if it’s coming down sideways. Otherwise, it’s just liquid sunshine.
We spent most of the tour drenched from head to toe.
We visited two castles, a number of tiny Irish villages, a scenic rope bridge at Carrick A Rede and the Bushmills Distillery.
By the time we reached the highlight of the day, the Giant’s Causeway, everyone was dry.
The Giant’s Causeway is the fourth greatest natural wonder in the United Kingdom and is an official UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The area is home to 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, leading out to the Irish Sea.
According to our tour guide, there are two stories explaining its creation.
The first – a volcanic eruption formed the hexagonal stepping-stones and the cliff foot.
The second involves two giants at battle.
According to legend, Irish warrior, Finn McCool, built the causeway with his own two hands.
He was the biggest and strongest giant in all of Ireland.
He was constantly bickering across the sea with his Scottish counterpart, Benadonner.
Ready to put the arguing to rest, Finn built a pathway with thousands of rocks, leading from Ireland to Scotland.
He invited Benadonner to cross the causeway, if he dared, to fight to the death.
Finn’s wife, Oonagh, was nervous. She had heard Benadonner was twice Finn’s size. So before the battle, she slipped a sleeping potion into her husband’s beer.
She covered him with a blanket and put him into a crib, making Finn look like a baby boy.
When Benadonner arrived at Finn’s house, ready to fight, he saw the size of the infant.
He concluded that Finn would be too large to defeat, and ran back to Scotland, destroying the causeway as he fled, so Finn could never find him.
Matt and I are stumped. They are both great arguments.
Whatever the truth – the Giant’s Causeway is a beautiful sight.