A while ago, some friends and I took a day trip into Northern Ireland. Our first stop was Carrick-a-Rede, a tiny island connected to the mainland by a 100-foot high rope bridge that swayed ominously. The sun was surprisingly visible, the water was absurdly blue, and from the cliffs we could see an island used as a filming location for Game of Thrones and the dim outline of Scotland.
Then it was on to the real reason I went on the trip: the Giant’s Causeway! Depending on who you ask, this is either the remains of a road built by an Irish giant to fight a Scottish one, or the result of an ancient lava flow. The Causeway is made up of tens of thousands of interlocking basalt columns, mostly hexagonal and in some places so perfect they look paving stones. You can (and trust me, I did) clamber all over them, though the sea spray makes footing near the edge precarious.
On the way back, we made a brief stop in Belfast, and the tour guide’s patter included significant sniper apartment blocks from the Troubles as well as the City Hall and Titanic museum. We went up in the massive glass dome of the Victoria Square Shopping Centre to look out over the city and read the Michael Longley poem etched on one glass panel: “Pegasus, winged horse of our imagination, / Has drunk from the fountain in Victoria Square.”
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">My name is Bea Gantzer, and I am a junior English major at Washington University in St. Louis. I'm a distance runner, baker, and Minnesotan. This will be my first time out of the United States, and I look forward to experiencing a new culture, soaking up Dublin's rich history, and getting little-kid excited over seeing buildings older than the U.S. itself.</span></p>