Driving along the coastal highway of Northern Ireland

Cushendall Travel Blog

 › entry 5 of 7 › view all entries
From Slane it was my turn to drive, the first time I have driven in two and a half years (and the first time in more than six years that I have driven a significant distance). I was rather relieved to find that it wasn't difficult at all to get back into the drivers seat (odd too, that despite living in the US for more than two years it still felt natural to drive on the left).

The plan was to head up to Belfast, see the political murals of West Belfast and then drive further onwards along the coastal road to Cushendall. The Irish countryside is very pleasant to drive through, lots of sheep and rolling green hills. Once we crossed the border into Northern Ireland (there is now no actual border crossing) it changed from sleepy little agricultural towns to more industrial and modern towns.
It was getting later than we had planned, so instead of stopping in Belfast we decided to just drive through it. Thanks to the complete lack of adequate signage, navigation was almost impossible without a detailed map - roads were not labelled, and when they were they used different names from the one on our basic road map. Eventually we managed to muddle our way out of Belfast, but not without cost to our congeniality.

The coast of Northern Ireland was stunning. We got to enjoy the long slow sunset and pink light over the Irish ocean, views of the mountains of Scotland in the far distance, and the smell of salt water. The towns we passed through were all quite cute, but from a gastronomic point of view strangely barren. We had given up hope of finding any food at all when we reached Glenariff which (oddly) had two late night Chinese take-aways open. The food was horrific, but it let us reach our hostel inland from Cushendall. At the hostel were no other tourists, just locals from Ballymena who came here on the weekend out of boredom. We shared a few beers and Baileys with them, try to stifle rolling our eyes at this one drunk girl and got some helpful advice on our following day.
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Cushendall
photo by: Adrian_Liston