Next up was the Giant's Causeway, the reason we were staying in the Portrush area in the first place. The Giant's Causeway is an impressive geological formation of almost identical rock hexagons. There are estimated to be 40,000 of them and most geologists believe they were formed 65 million years ago. The coolest part is the pattern which is most likely formed as a result of rock crystallization under conditions of accelerated cooling, occurring when molten lava comes into immediate contact with water. I had heard about these and seen some pictures online but I was unprepared for how amazing a sight it is when you are there in person. It really is quite amazing the power of Mother Nature. And really, the entire country kinda makes me want to go back to school to become a geology student so I could do an entire thesis on the geological wonders of Ireland. We climbed around the stones, making a wish at the wishing chair stone and taking a ton of pictures. One of my favorite things was a wall on the back side where people have placed coins into cracks in the rocks. The wind and the rain have caused the coins to bend. It is said that it is good luck to place a coin in the wall, and for some reason, this felt like something I had to do. So I did. Hopefully my wish comes true!
After a failed attempt to see Bushmills Distillery, the oldest whiskey producer in the world, we ate dinner and headed out to see a row of trees that forms a beautifully creepy hedge leading up to an estate. It has been featured in The Game Of Thrones, which a lot of people I know watch, so I figured it would be worth seeing. We found it, but honestly were unimpressed. Sure it was neat, but not what I thought it was going to be. I was able to get some pretty great pictures out there and it actually was the site of one of the funniest moments of the trip.
Most cars in Ireland are stick shift so that meant that Dearsley and I did all the driving since Beth didn't know how to drive. We were on this quiet back road taking pictures and Beth asked to try her hand at manual transmission. Now the shifter is on the left, you have to drive on the left, so not only did she have to learn how to use the clutch, she had to shift with her left and remember to stay left. She actually did really well, so well that I was a tad disappointed. We got to the intersection where the other 3 girls were standing and Beth freaked out. She was laughing, crying and screaming "GET OUT OF THE WAY." We told her she was clear to go but she waited. She finally started, drifted back and squealed the tires as she peeled through the stop sign. It was funny for all of us, but became truly hilarious when we saw the video. There is a long pause as Beth waits, she drifts back out of frame then peels out. We watched the video over and over again, laughing until we were all crying. Anyone who has ever learned how to drive stick will understand how hysterical it was, since every single one of us has done exactly that. It was such an unexpected moment, but such a highlight of the trip for sure.
It is crazy that the trip is nearing it's end. Only one more day in Ireland and then it is all basically travel back home. I usually don't like being a typical tourist and prefer off the beaten path scenery, but today was worth putting up with the crowds. It gave me a renewed sense of awe for the planet, for geology and a love of laughing until you cry, cough and double over from joy. Five months ago I hardly knew these women I was with and yet I have such a feeling of love for them and that makes me happy in a way I really needed. Maybe it is the luck of the Irish, all the green or the stories of magic and fairies, but this trip is truly magical for me.