Our day in Belfast seemed to go from bad to worse upon arrival. First the bad, the ship was subject to tidal flows, which meant that we could not arrive in the Port of Belfast until 10:00am, even though we departed Dublin, which was just a few hours away by boat the previous evening. This mean that instead of a leisurely arrival with everyone sauntering off the ship at their own schedule, passengers started queuing up early to disembark as soon as possible in order to make the most of their day in Northern Ireland. Then it got worse. I had booked a custom tour for our group that was supposed to include the Titanic Museum and then a straight drive up the motor way to the Giant’s Causeway.
When I found our tour buses, I introduced myself to the guide and asked him which we wold be doing first? The Titanic Museum or the Giant’s Causeway. When he looked at me like I had three heads, I knew something got lost in the communication. It was what it was, and we all got 1/2 of our money back when we got home from the cruise.
But I am glad to say that things got much better from there on. After I explained to my group about the mix up, I assured them that the tour we were going to take, along the scenic Antrim Coast was going to be wonderful despite it not being exactly what we booked.
Our tour guide was a former history teacher and knew his local history very well, though he was not up at all on Pop Culture and couldn’t tell us anything about the local areas that were used as filming locations for the world wide hit HBO Game of Thrones show. We drove by and old quarry and all he knew was that it was the set for “the wall”.
Our journey took us along the scenic coast where we passed two or three other areas that I later researched and found to be utilized for Game of Throne for their striking scenery and the way that meshed with the fantasy world that exists the show.
One beautiful little harbor we stopped as was used for the scene where Arya Stark emerges from the water after being stabbed by the waif. If you have never watched GOT, that means nothing to you, but we actually only started watching the show because much of it was filmed in Iceland and Ireland. A little plaque shows where the scene was filmed.
Again, we headed further up the coast and stopped at some scenic cliffs where we could make out some of the land mass of Scotland. Then we headed on to the Giant’s Causeway. A beautiful area where volcanic basalt formed in geometric patterns looking as if a giant had begun a causeway there. We were, of course, greeted by “Irish Sunshine” for most of the day so a rain coat and umbrella came in handy. Our final stop was a brief look at Castle Dunluce, another Game of Thrones location where it doubled as Castle Pyke with the help of some CGI. That castle also overlooked the golf course where the upcoming 2019 British Open golf tournament was to be held.
In all we were very impressed the beauty of this area of the UK and though our tour was not what we had at all planned, it turned out to be a delightful day full of striking scenery and quaint port villages.