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Adventures in Northern Ireland: Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and Giant’s Causeway

Over the weekend, I ventured outside of Dublin for the first time since my arrival and traveled to Northern Ireland to cross the rickety Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and climb the ancient rocks of Giant’s Causeway. Braving the bone chilling winds and Ireland’s infamous rain, two other girls and I boarded a tour bus in hopes of escaping Dublin’s urban atmosphere and discovering the natural beauty of the island.

Our first stop was the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, which links the mainland to the tiny Carrick Island. Originally built by fishermen to gain access to their salmon nets, the rope bridge provides an exhilarating challenge since it sways with each gust of wind and sits 98 feet above the rocky waters. The rush I felt as the bridge shook beneath my rain boots and tilted to one side will be a feeling that I will soon not forget! After making it safely to solid ground, I was rewarded with spectacular views of Northern Ireland’s coastline and taken back by the azure shades of the North Atlantic. While the scenery of Carrick Island impressed me, the natural wonders of Giant’s Causeway served as the trip’s highlight.
 Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
 On the other side of the bridge

The bus ride from the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge to Giant’s Causeway took roughly 25 minutes and along the way we stopped for fish and chips at a neighborhood diner. The malt vinegar served with the meal and having to pay with the pound sterling offered a friendly reminder that we were in the United Kingdom. As we reached the Causeway, the weather conditions worsened, which made the walk to the site a very wet and cold trek. Giant’s Causeway, the product of an ancient volcanic eruption, consists of nearly 40,000 hexagonal rock columns that descend from the cliffs and eventually disappear beneath the ocean. As I climbed up the columns and looked out into the ocean, I found it hard to believe that the combination of hot lava and cool ocean water were responsible for such an extraordinary place. Earlier in the day the tour guide mentioned that people often report their imaginations wandering while visiting, and as I stood there, I understood the comment. The smell of the salt water, the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks, and the sight of the hexagonal stones descending into the water caused my mind to relax and forget about life’s struggles for a couple of minutes.
 Giant's Causeway
 Sitting on top of the Causeway

My day in Northern Ireland allowed me to enjoy nature’s wonders and gave me the opportunity to explore an area of the island that differed greatly from Dublin. As I finally start to feel comfortable in Dublin, I grow more excited to discover the rest of Ireland and find comfort in the country as a whole. 
Abigail Marchione is the 2014 Spring MOJO for Dublin, Ireland. She is currently a junior at DePaul University.

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