Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Tuesday, September 25, 2018 10:07:34 AM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

In Northern Ireland, time stops still for you to take in some stunning landscapes and rich history

Northern Ireland offers everything from conflict sites and postcard-worthy villages to pubs and museums. But the one thing that will stretch your mind and make you believe in every single travel cliché is the Giant\'s Causeway

Northern Ireland offers everything from conflict sites and postcard-worthy villages to pubs and museums. But the one thing that will stretch your mind and make you believe in every single travel cliché is the Giant\'s Causeway
photo by

Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Susmita Saha  :
Just ahead of me, a line of bikes flies down a public road. Straddling the fierce 1200 cc motorcycles are leather-clad bikers, all with their visors down. The road racers are revving up on an epic track that sidles along the turbulent Atlantic coast and loops past cliff faces and glens. Often labelled a death cult, for its frequent tragic outcomes, motorbike racing is still wildly popular on this idyllic coastline.
I am on Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coastal Route that stretches for 120 miles, connecting Belfast with Derry-Londonderry. Zigzagging through County Antrim, the Coastal Route has effervescently green hamlets, lighthouses, castles and other tourist spoils. This is Liam Neeson country, my licensed Blue Badge driver and tour guide tells me, and jokes that I am free to imagine him as Neeson's facsimile, minus the actor's drop-dead looks.
Tracing the water's edge, we drive along a wind-whipped terrain to land up in Carrickfergus Castle, a Norman Irish castle, on the northern shore of the sea inlet, Belfast Lough. Owing to its proximity to the sea, the castle has been stamped with Scottish, Irish, English and French invasions. An unexpected historical find for mainstream tourists, this medieval structure, which once functioned as a strategic garrison, was built in 1177 and boasts of a small bailey or castle courtyard, a high polygonal curtain wall and other structures that take hours to appreciate.
As I explore the military legacy of some of Europe’s strongest imperialist forces, I am hurled back into history. Carrickfergus Castle was also the first stepping stone in Ireland for King William III, widely known as William of Orange, monarch of England, Ireland and Scotland. He chalked his name on the list of the fort’s powerful occupants in 1690. A statue of William of Orange, in full military regalia, is now stationed atop a rock right outside the castle.
Very soon, we wind our way to Glenarm Village, the first of nine glens moored along the Antrim Coast Road. Arguably the oldest chartered town in Ulster, the village has retained its historic street pattern and boasts of The Glenarm Conservation Area with over 50 listed buildings. The village’s most famous house, of course, is the Glenarm Castle, a Jacobean style mansion that’s home to Viscount and Viscountess Dunluce and their family.
To witness the walled garden inside Glenarm Castle is to be swept up in the currents of Northern Ireland’s history. It was a time when lush gardens existed as magical spaces inside expansive estates, thriving from the early 1800s until the beginning of the 20th century. From a spiral-shaped mound inside Glenarm Castle’s walled garden, I take in the view.
In front of me, the grounds stretch out like a series of interlinking rooms. On one side are herb, fruit and flower gardens with giant tulips, and beyond the tulips are blooming cherry trees.
If one is lolling about in this corner of Europe, it is difficult to forget that a majority of the filming locations of HBO's wildly popular Game of Thrones, lies here.
A few hours later, I arrive at the Carrick-a- Rede Rope Bridge, a tiny speck fusing the mainland with Carrickarede island across a 30m-deep gorge. The story goes that local fisherfolk used to erect a rudimentary rope bridge with the aim of crossing over to the island to inspect their salmon nets. Things have changed since then. The dangerously frail walkway of yore has been replaced by a double hand-railed rope bridge, operated by the National Trust these days.
County Antrim definitely helps imagine worlds you have never seen. One of its major highlights is the Cushendun Caves, which took shape over a piffling period of 400 million years, when extreme weather conditions and coastal erosion joined hands. These caves - pebbles embedded in old red sandstone rock - have also been the site of a crucial Game of Thrones sequence.
Northern Ireland offers everything from conflict sites and postcard-worthy villages to pubs and museums. But the one thing that will stretch your mind and make you believe in every single travel cliché is the Giant’s Causeway, which spreads across six km of the northern coast of Northern Ireland. The country’s flagship offering to the tourism world, Giant's Causeway is actually row upon row of hexagonal basalt columns brought to life by a geological accident. Estimated to be over 60 million years old, these stone pillars took shape when molten lava rapidly solidified upon sudden contact with water.
But, as with most geographical wonders, the folk tales surrounding them are way more colourful than cold, hard facts. Giant’s Causeway, too, has the magic fable of a giant, Finn McCool, as its narrative backbone. When Finn picked up a fight with the Scottish giant Benandonner who lived across the sea, he hurled pieces of the Antrim coast into the water. The hexagonal walkway thus created, offered Finn the perfect excuse to cross over to Scotland and invite Benandonner for a slugfest. Upon reaching his Scottish opponent’s hideout, Finn realised how grossly he had underestimated Benandonner's size and retraced his steps immediately.
The Scot followed him back to Antrim, but not before Finn’s wife disguised him as a baby. Once Benandonner took a look at the giant child, he beat a hasty retreat, thinking about the invincibility of the father.
Stories like these elevate even the most routine travel experiences in Northern Ireland. It is as easy to be seduced here by the stunning prehistoric landscapes as it is to get lost in ancient castles where time slows down to a delicious crawl.

Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

Maldives' people reject authoritarian rule and voted for democracy

MALDIVES strongman President Yameen Abdul Gayoom conceded that he lost Sunday's election to his challenger Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, in a speech broadcast live on television Monday, according to the international media. Mr Yameen congratulated Solih and said, "I know I have to step down now."  The Election Commission said voter ...

Cricket »

'Rashid is best but not unplayable' says Mahmudullah

Mahmudullah Riyad sorted out a vigorous 74 against Afghanistan rescuing Bangladesh from a plausible downfall.Mahmudullah Riyad and Imrul Kayes stood tall in the middle when the team was languishing losing all five in the top order in a score of 87 on the board. The duo added 128 runs in ...

International »

Thousands attend funeral for Iran attack dead

AFP :Tens of thousands of mourners attended a funeral on Monday in the southwestern Iranian city of Ahvaz for soldiers and civilians killed in an attack on a military parade.Four militants attacked the Saturday parade marking the start of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, spraying the crowd with gunfire and killing ...

International »

Hong Kong pro-independence party formally outlawed in first such move since handover

Reuters, Hong Kong  :Hong Kong authorities formally banned on Monday a group promoting independence from China - the first outlawing of a political organization since Britain handed its former colony back to Chinese rule in 1997.The city's Secretary for Security John Lee announced the ban on the Hong Kong National ...

City »

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina addressing a reception accorded to her by the expatriate Bangladeshis at a hotel in New York on Sunday.

Entertainment »

Mehazabien, Apurba in Puja special play

Sheikh Arif Bulbon :Popular pair of the small screen of present time Mehazabien Chowdhury and Ziaul Faruk Apurba worked together in a special play of Durga Puja for the first time. Title of the play is Priyo Tumi. Directed by Mahmudur Rahman Himi story of the play is written by ...

Editorial »

Attack on Iran`s elite guards

IRANIAN Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused US-backed Gulf Arab states of carrying out a shooting attack on a military parade that killed 25 people, almost half of them members of the country's elite Revolutionary Guards. Khamenei ordered security forces to bring to justice those responsible for one of the ...

Sports »

Bertens defeats Tomljanovic to secure Korea Open win

AFP, Seoul :Kiki Bertens defeated Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic in the Korea Open final on Sunday, securing her third WTA Tour singles title of the season to continue her career-best year.The second-seeded Bertens came back from break down in the deciding set to defeat the Australian in two hours and 22 ...

International »

World leaders gather at UN under threat from unilateralism

AP, United Nations :With rising unilateralism challenging its very existence, the United Nations convenes its annual meeting of world leaders Monday and will try once more to tackle problems together as a community of nations, addressing threats ranging from Mideast conflicts to the effects of global warming - and also ...

City »

National Professor Anisuzzaman seen among others at the cover unveiling ceremony of a book marking the 80th birthday of eminent writer Hasan Azizul Haq organised by Bangladesh Culture at Jatiya Press Club yesterday.

Entertainment »

Nazira Mou to debut in film with Indraneil

Sheikh Arif Bulbon :Viewers’ choice popular actress Nazira Mou has been acting in small screen for many days. She got many offers for acting in big screen. But she did not agree to act due to disliking stories and her roles in those works. When Mou got the proposal from ...

Editorial »

CPJ reveals weakness of journalists by appealing to President

THE Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in a letter to the Bangladesh President has expressed deep concern about the Digital Security Act 2018, which was passed by the Parliament on September 18, and urged him to return it to Parliament for a review afresh.   If this legislation was allowed to ...

International »

Modi faces calls for resignation over French jet deal

Reuters, New delhi :Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi faced calls for his resignation over allegations of corruption in a military jet deal with France after former French president Francois Hollande was quoted as saying New Delhi had influenced the choice of a local partner.Indian political parties have been gunning for ...

International »

US official in Russia probe suggested taping Trump: Report

Reuters, Washington: The US official who oversees the federal investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 U.S. election suggested secretly recording President Donald Trump last year and recruiting Cabinet members to invoke a constitutional amendment to remove him from the White House, the New York Times reported on Friday.Deputy Attorney ...

Football »

Tabarez renews with Uruguay until Qatar World Cup

AFP, Montevideo :Despite failing health the veteran coach Oscar Tabarez has signed a four-year contract extension to remain at the Uruguay helm until the end of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the South American country's football federation said on Friday.Tabarez, who suffers from a nerve disorder that forces him ...

Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Write a comment to this news