First of all, this weekend was a huge bargain! We flew with Ryanair for 2p RETURN!! By far the cheapest flights ever!
We flew from Stanstead Airport and it didn't take long for us to land at Belfast City George Best Airport. I'd booked us into a really nice hotel which was described as near to the airport so I thought, great! We got in a taxi and asked him to take us to our hotel. The taxi driver looked at us and said "oh! You realise this is quite far away don't you" (In an Irish accent of cause) and I said "Well it said it was near the airport?" the taxi driver then replied "Yes well it is very near the airport but not this one.
...It's near the International Airport"
Doh! Oh well, first lesson learnt...There are TWO airports in Belfast.
After arriving at the hotel £25 down we figured it didn't matter that we'd had to pay so much on the taxi because our flight was only 2p! We settled in at the Dunnadry Country Club hotel (posh but we got it for a bargain price) and it wasn't long before the spa and pool was calling us so off we went. We had the whole pool and hot tub to ourselves so it was lovely.
After getting out we realised we'd worked up quite an appetite so headed back to get ready to go out. Luckily there was a nice pub over the road and Ali wasn't willing to wait around any longer for her first Guinness in Northern Ireland so we just went there.
The food was awesome! We thought it was quite expensive (£13 for a main course) but it was worth ever penny! We both had lamb and it was beautiful, it was a topic of conversation for the whole trip. After we'd eaten we headed back to the hotel bar, where a wedding was taking place so we crashed it and enjoyed a good hour or two of people watching and looking at some of the wardrobe disasters and some of the beautiful dresses the guests were wearing. Here I had my first taste of Guinness. I don't ever drink alcohol but on this occasion I thought, I can't visit Ireland without at least having a taste! As I expected, I didn't like it so that was my Guinness experience over!
The next day we had to be up really early to get into the centre of Belfast to get on our trip to see Giant's Causeway, the Carrig-a-rede rope bridge and the Bushmills Distillery.
We met up with our tour and met the really nice bus driver who we realised could talk for England....well Ireland! All the way on the coach he gave us a running commentary of where we were and what all the places were famous for, he was brilliant. Our first stop was the Carrig-a-rede rope bridge. Ali thought I was mad but I was really excited about walking over it and when we got there we were lucky enough for the weather to be great and it wasn't too windy so the bridge was open. We walked for about 20 minutes to get to the bridge and the scenery was beautiful. The sea reminded me of something you would see in Thailand, but obviously if you had a swim in there you would probably freeze to death!
We got to the bridge and Ali found herself a nice bench to sit on while I diced with death on the Carrig-a-rede rope bridge.
I asked a really friendly guy to take my picture while I was on it, and it proved just how windy it was up there as my hair resembles Marge Simpson ever so slightly. It's fine walking over the bridge when there is only you on it but as soon as someone steps on it behind you it begins to bounce and I will be honest in saying that I was happy when my feet hit solid ground....I just had to worry about going back over it to get back now!
Start of Giant's Causeway
I spent about 15 minutes looking about the small island which I was now on and took a few pictures. Again the views were stunning and I could see the Mul of Kintyre (Think that’s how it's spelt) in Scotland. After a while I decided to be brave ad walk back over and then I could happily say I had walked over the Carrig-a rede rope bridge and I even got a certificate to prove it!!!
Next stop was the Bushmills Distillery.
Ali's favourite stop. We headed straight to the bar so Ali could taste some of the famous whiskey. When we got there we found out that it was actually the Distillery's 400th Birthday that exact day so we were quite lucky. A few whiskey's later it was time for us to go, Ali was feeling the effects of two whiskeys and hardly any breakfast so as soon as we got to Giant's Causeway we headed to the pub for some dinner. We sat with a couple who lived in London and chatted to them all while we had our meals. We shocked them at how much food we could eat which was quite funny, they'd obviously never seen northern girls eat before! After they'd left we finished our drinks and asked for the bill, the waitress came over and not only bought our bill but there’s as well. We explained that we weren't with them and we weren't going to be paying their bill as it appeared they had done a runner without paying! The waitress wasn't impressed but we left having just paid our own bill.
Ali on the Beach
After lunch we headed down to the Causeway.
It was amazing! One of the best things I have ever seen. A nice tour guide showed us where the Giant supposedly lives and also showed us his Organ and also where his Camel (which he rode) had been set in stone. Amazingly there was a stone which really looked like a sleeping camel! We had a walk around and were really lucky to be able to enjoy the sun. On the way back up the hill we spotted a tiny patch of sand so we had to have our photos taken just to say we'd been on a beach while on holiday!
Me on the beach
We got back on the bus ready to go back to Belfast and it wasn't long before both of us were asleep again.
We arrived back into Belfast and chose the closest pub to go and have a drink in, it turned out to be a really famous pub called the Crown Bar Liquor Saloon.
It was so cool inside with little booths where you could shut yourselves in and was really bright and colourful. After one drink we decided to explore Belfast a bit more and find some more pubs. After walking around for a bit things got a little bizarre and we ended up taking a blind man to the theatre, he was really sweet but we felt a bit guilty as we didn't know where we were going either, but after a while we made it to the theatre and took him inside. Feeling like our places in heaven were secured we decided to go back on the hunt for a pub, which didn't take long. But then disaster, it was 9pm when we went in and were informed straight away it was last orders! WHAT??? Its 9pm? But we didn't think about the fact that it was a Sunday and although us English are used to drinking every day, in Ireland Sundays are still seen as the day of rest and many pubs and shops don't open. Oh well, back to the hotel for a few in the hotel bar.
Ali at Giant's Causeway
The next day we checked out of the hotel as late as we could as the previous day had completely tired us out.
We took the bus into Belfast and then started to explore. We went around the shops and I made my pilgrimage to Primark as always. Weird though, they call it Premark! We found a pub for lunch and although they didn't serve food they were more than happy to give us some of their Irish Stew which was immense! After, we walked along the famous Sandy Row, the front line of all Northern Ireland's troubles in the past. We saw some of the paintings which were quite unnerving but worth a look. I would have liked to have seen more but unfortunately we ran out of time and it was soon time to head to the Airport.
Our weekend in Northern Ireland was brilliant. The people are some of the friendliest I have ever met, they will go out of the way to help you and everyone is up for a laugh.
I would definitely recommend a weekend here to anyone...especially if you can get 2p flights.