Our first stop on our road trip was Lough Neagh – the largest lake in the UK and Ireland. We sat at a picnic table and stretched our legs after a five hour drive. The weather had picked up somewhat but there was a fog still lingering in the distance. At the lake’s shore seagulls and ducks sat basking in the warmth whilst children played at a nearby playground.
I really love being by the water, and this was the beauty of this trip – explore the coast of the west of Ireland and see things from different places, different perspectives, and connect with nature. The sound of the lake was instantly calming. It was a beautifully calm start that set the tone for the rest of the trip. We sat gazing out at the horizon and could see County Antrim in the distance. It was so peaceful. I had brought my DSLR camera and took it out for the first time and started to take a few photos of our surroundings. In hindsight, I can see a huge development in the quality of photos from day 1 to our last day – it is clearly a hobby that needs regular practice!
We got back into the car and went to find our accommodation. We were staying in an Air BnB just outside Bushmills in a cabin. It was my first time ever using Air BnB but it was perfect. Check out the dotey little cabin we had for the night! We had our own private patio area with a table and chairs and a fire pit too. By the time we got back to the cabin that night the weather had picked up drastically and, much to my dismay, it was far too warm for a fire pit! Anyone who’d like to stay here can book it here through Air BnB.
After we had dropped our belongings to the cabin, we embarked on a Game of Thrones filming location tour. Our first stop was The Dark Hedges, then we went on to Torr Hill, Cushendun Caves, and a few other spots.
The Dark Hedges was really beautiful. The trees are essentially an avenue of beech trees that were planted with the intention to impress visitors on their arrival to an 18th century mansion – and they are definitely impressive! They were used as a filming location for King’s Road in GOT and the trees can appear to be a bit of an optical illusion; it can look like they are intertwined on top.
The walk along the road was lovely. The place was full of people, old and young, talking about characters and scenes from GOT. It felt truly magical walking beneath the trees that twisted and turned into one another overhead.
Our next stop was Torr Hill and this was a truly breath taking spot. The photos genuinely do not capture the vastness of the place, nor the depth of it’s beauty. The road down the hill wound around steeply, like the trail of a slithering snake. We drove to the bottom and admired the hill towering over us. As we walked the path we could hear the trickling of waterfalls, the laughter of children, and the gentle kiss of waves on rocks. I was struck by the purity of the place. Usually, if I find myself stressed or unable to sleep, I’ll turn on the Calm app and listen to some nature sounds to help me relax; but nothing compares to these sounds in real life. The place was simply perfect.
The last site we visited was Cushendun Caves. We were after a long day of driving and had driven a lot of the northern coast of Antrim. These caves were pretty unique in their colouring, something unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. You could walk through the caves and the views from there were spectacular.
When we were finished with the caves we went back to our Air BnB with a takeaway pizza and a few glasses of vino. It was the perfect first day. We slept like logs after such a long day and were looking forward to what the next day would bring.