Since I’ve been back in Ireland a lot of you have asked me about the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. To be honest, I’d never even heard of it until one of my readers mentioned it to me. But, after a quick Google session I knew I needed to see it. I mean, a rope bridge between a picturesque island and the gorgeous coast of County Antrim, how could I resist?! I LOVE heights and a bit of adrenaline. I was sold. Now all I needed to do was figure how to get there and what else to see along the way. When I found out that I could see the Giants Causeway on the same trip, even better!
Who are Finn McCools?
Finn McCools, named after the giant from Irish legends, are a new tour company operating out of Dublin and Belfast. There is absolutely NOTHING that would indicate that they are the new kids on the block. In fact, everything runs so smoothly it seems like they’ve been doing this for years. They offer day trips to the Cliffs of Moher, Giants Causeway and Game of Thrones locations. They can also provide custom tours for groups. Their drivers are fun, friendly and passionate about Ireland.
Where Do You Go?
The trip I went on was the Giants Causeway / Carrick-a-Rede trip day trip from Dublin. Here are the stops included.
1) Belfast City: This is a quick stop. You have half an hour to wander around the streets of the Capital. You can snap a few pics at the town hall, or just stroll through the shopping district like I did. This is also an opportunity for a bathroom stop. I recommend the Victoria square shopping centre!
2) The Dark Hedges: This is basically just a road that leads up to an old house. However, it is lined with some beautiful trees and was used as a filming location for Game of Thrones. It’s a short photo stop, but that’s all you need.
3) Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge: OK, so this is basically an old style rope bridge connecting an old fishing island to the mainland. It’s located near Ballintoy in County Antrim. It’s a 1.5 hour stop, so you have plenty of time.But make sure you head straight for the bridge as queues can build up pretty fast. The views are spectacular. This stop was my favourite by far. However, the bridge is NOT suitable for anyone that is seriously afraid of heights.
4)LUNCH: You get half an hour here. The food is all ordered ahead by your wonderful guides so just sit back and enjoy.
5) Giants Causeway : This is the legendary stretch of around 40,000 interlocking basalt columns in county Antrim. Is it the result of a volcanic eruption OR the work of Fionn MacCumhaill, the legendary giant? You decide! I couldn’t BELIEVE that I’d never visited this iconic spot. You get 1.5hrs here and will love it. The Giants Causeway is an iconic landmark in Ireland.
6)Bushmill’s Distillery: This is a 20 minute stop. You really just get to browse the gift shop. HOWEVER, there is always time to stop by the bar and ask them for a quick taster 😉
7)Dunluce Castle: Your final stop. This is just a photo stop, but it is gorgeous. This castle is said to be the inspiration for Cair Paravel in C.S Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. It is right on the edge of a cliff and really does make for a wonderful photo.
Ok, so what does the trip actually include? First of all, and something that is VERY different from other tours, is that lunch is included. Yep, that’s right folks, FREE FOOD and good food at that! I got the choice of fish and chips or beef with chips. However, as I am a vegetarian, I was given a third option which was vegetarian lasagne. It was AMAZING!
All of your transport from Dublin up to Northern Ireland and back is also included, along with your wonderful driver and tour guide. I had the two Johns. They were delightfully Irish and full of local knowledge. They gave us all the low down on why the visitor’s centre at the Giants Causeway wasn’t worth paying for. Another bonus is that your ticket to cross the Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge is also included which means you don’t have to queue up upon arrival.
Give Me The Details.
OK, so what do you need to know? WELL, first things first, the day trip costs 65euro. The pick up is at 6.45am from 3 Westmorland street outside the Fexco money exchange. You arrive back in Dublin at around 8pm, so make sure you don’t make any early dinner reservations. I highly recommend you bring snacks. It’s not 100% necessary as there are plenty of stops along the way. But the only food included in your trip is lunch so if you want to keep cost down, bring your own snacks. You can eat and drink on the bus, no problem as long as it doesn’t smell strongly. There are plenty of toilet breaks on this trip so it’s not something to worry about.
I personally would recommend that you bring a raincoat just in case. Irish weather in unpredictable and notoriously wet. There is no wifi on buses, I’m afraid you’ll have to use 3G OR just enjoy the moment without looking at your phone. For me, I needed to bring an extra battery to charge my phone because I took so many pictures and it was such a long day. So if you have one of these, bring it. In Northern Ireland they use £s. Soooo if you have any lying around, bring it. If you don’t, use your card for purchases across the border as if will offer the better exchange rate. A lot of places will accept euro, but the exchange rate will be terrible.
What Did I Think?
So finally, I guess you’ll want to know what I thought. Well the truth is that I LOVED it. By far the best day trip I’ve done in Ireland. The Giants Causeway and the Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge are incredible. This day trip is also SO convenient for people only visiting Dublin for a couple of days. The locations were STUNNING and the price was affordable. The buses were comfortable and the guides were great fun. I could not recommend this trip enough. My family and friends are planning on booking a trip already after all the wonderful photos I’ve shown them! It’s suitable for ALL ages and you’ll meet lots of great people. SO GET BOOKING!