THE STENA LINE TRIP
This tale begins in Scotland, in the small village of Cairnryan in Dumfries and Galloway. Our Instagrammers took the Cairnryan to Belfast route on Stena Superfast VII. With a journey time of just over two hours, there was plenty to explore onboard (including a spa, restaurant and chilled living room area), and the sweeping ocean vistas were breath-taking, both outwards and en route home to Scotland – as Ruairidh explained, “Highly recommend heading across on the ferry. Try and coincide the timing with sunset, pretty great views heading across the channel.” And these “pretty great views” were just a taster of things yet to come – as the boys were about to discover…
Ruairidh and James took the Causeway Coastal Route, driving all the way from Belfast to Downpatrick Head, County Mayo. Here are some of the journey’s highlights, as told by James:
“Whilst driving from Ballintoy, County Antrim to the Giant’s Causeway, we caught sight of some dramatic ruins at the edge of the North Atlantic, and we stopped to explore. It turned out to be the gate lodge for the destroyed Dunseverick Castle.
“After speaking with some people during sunset at the Giant’s Causeway, we decided the best time to see the Dark Hedges, near Ballymoney in County Antrim was early in the morning. We rose before dawn and drove across to arrive just as the sun was hitting the tops of the trees. The avenue of trees is absolutely mind-blowing, and the atmosphere of the place is constantly changing. The morning mist glides across the fields, through the trees and then burns off. In the space of 30 minutes it went from a bleak, spooky place to a beautiful array of colours and shadows. I would recommend getting there well before dawn and just watching the light unfold its mystery for an hour.
“Another good place to explore is Mullaghmore head, County Sligo. We had driven down there in search of a view of Benbulbin. The clouds rolling off the mountain foiled that plan, but it turned out to be a blessing.
“We met up with Conor and Allan in Killala, County Mayo. As we explored the working harbour looking for photographs to take, Allan noticed a fishing boat that matched the colours of our VW camper vans. With a bit of shouting and shuffling of vans, he art-directed the campers into a composition that seemed right!
“Later that day, as the sun was going down, we drove along to Downpatrick Head. The sheer sense of exposure was incredible. You can feel the full force of the North Atlantic battering against the cliffs and hear the roar of the ocean waves through the giant blowhole. The sea stack, Dún Briste, and its exposed geology gives a sense of scale to it all. It’s a place to sit and ponder.”