Posted by: lifeonislandtime | August 11, 2015

Northern Ireland

The Giant’s Causeway
The Giant’s Causeway is a World Heritage site in Northern Ireland. It was created by lava pushing up though the earth’s crust and hardening into octagonal pillars. The sea then breaks and weathers these into stepping stone size, and it creates a wonderful effect.
Ireland Heritage has lately come up with a brilliant idea: construct a £10 million visitors center on the ridge above the site, and charge parking to off-set the cost of building the visitor’s center in the first place. The Visitor’s center tells of how the stones were made, the legends surrounding them, and that’s about it. The information about how the stones came to be is available on the sign posts along the path. The legends of the stones is available on Wikipedia. If I pay £9 per person to go in a visitor’s center, I feel compelled to look at the exhibits and read their boards.
Adrian, our host in Belfast, understands that the visitor’s center is a tourist trap, and had this sage advice for us, that I’m now passing along to you: “They can’t charge you to see the stones. They’ve been there for 65 million years and are world heritage. The stones are free. They’re going to try to charge you £9 a person to park and go to their visitor’s center. Don’t do it. Tell the parking Nazi you’re just going to the hotel (who has free parking, mind) for coffee and to use the toilet. Then, go around the back of the hotel to see the stones.” 
That’s exactly what we did. The parking nazi told us to keep our receipt otherwise we’d be charged the fee (though it’s the hotel’s lot, so I’m not sure how that works). We used the bathroom at the hotel (lovely place, very nice people. Understanding of people who want to dodge a tourist trap), walked around the back, and down to the stones we went. The stones are spectacular; Had a bunch of fun at them. 
Where you come up from the beach and walking out on the stones, the paved World Heritage path ends at a bus turnaround. Ulster bus has also gotten in on the tourist attraction. They offer bus service from the top of the hill to the bottom, and back again. For £1, you can ride in one direction. The benefit to this is that the stones are also now disability-accessible. This is a good thing. 
The busses going down were mostly empty. Going back up was another story, however. Ulster bus must be making a killing transporting tourists up the hill. We paid our £1 each (gladly) and rode back up to the hotel. We went into the cafe just as cherry scones were coming out of the oven. Don’t mind if we do, thank you! Still the best scone we had on the trip. So good.
We got in our car to leave, receipt in hand, and the parking nazi had been replaced. They waved us on our way with a smile, wishing us well and thanking us for visiting the stones. 
I fell for one tourist trap that day. That £1 on the bus was money well-spent.

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Responses

  1. I am LOVING your stories!  This was my fav so far!  xoxo j From: Living Life on Island Time To: jimjoannriant@yahoo.com Sent: Tuesday, August 11, 2015 12:25 PM Subject: [New post] Northern Ireland #yiv6563032995 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv6563032995 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv6563032995 a.yiv6563032995primaryactionlink:link, #yiv6563032995 a.yiv6563032995primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv6563032995 a.yiv6563032995primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv6563032995 a.yiv6563032995primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv6563032995 WordPress.com | lifeonislandtime posted: “The Giant’s CausewayThe Giant’s Causeway is a World Heritage site in Northern Ireland. It was created by lava pushing up though the earth’s crust and hardening into octagonal pillars. The sea then breaks and weathers these into stepping stone size, and i” | |


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