Europe, Home Sweet Home, Ireland, Travel

#1 : Let’s cycle in Northern Ireland !

It’s been a long time since I wrote on the blog, but a lot happened.

Couple of weeks ago, I challenged myself and decided to cycle around Ireland. Around is a big word as I only did from Belfast to Portrush but by the Antrim coastal road.

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For someone who never cycled before, it was a real big challenge.

The thing which motivated me the most was the fact that almost anybody was believing that I could be able to do it.

So I did it, not by myself, but with my best friend, Françoise (Françoise website) and she never cycled before neither… Perfect team to plan a trip like this !

So, we arrived in Belfast on the Thursday but as every single hostel was fully booked, we just crossed the city and decided to stop there on our way back. For the first day cycling, we just did the part between Belfast and Larne, around 40 kilometers but a lot on cycling paths so the road was pretty nice and we could cycle next to each other.

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When we arrived in Larne, we couldn’t find a place to stay, everything was fully booked as well (What happened in Northern Ireland ?) we found a place right before it started to rain and it was our first nice meet of the trip. We stayed for the night to the Seaview Bed and Breakfast inn Larne (Seaview Larne website) The owner is a really kind woman who offered us to store our bikes in her own garage for the night. We met her dog, an adorable puppy who made us forgot how difficult was our first day on the bike. The room was perfect and beds were so comfy that we didn’t wanted to get up, but we did thanks to the bacon smell the owner prepared for breakfast.

The second day, we left after the massive breakfast at the Bed and Breakfast (included in the price of the room). We got a really nice morning view of the sea before starting our journey the North. At this moment, we didn’t knew how would have been our day … probably the worst day of our journey … 

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This day we did more than 65 kilometers but with 6 kilometers by walk next to the bike because the hill was really high … I forgot to mention that the bikes got around 15 kilograms of bags at the back, so it was really heavy to push and if it wasn’t enough it was raining but heavy rain and we were so wet and cold that we were thinking about giving upbeat with nothing around and no way to go back … even if you really want to give up, you cannot …  We spent 9 hours outside, freezing cold and as a bad day cannot have a happy ending, when we arrived at the Bed and Breakfast in Ballycastle, we were pretty badly welcomed … First thing the owner told us was « It’s only for one night ! We are busy you know ! » so if we were thinking about extending our stay we defo changed our mind after that ! And the morning after was almost the same, not even a « Good morning » from his wife, just a « Can I have the keys ? » So lovely ! I won’t give the address of this Bed and Breakfast as they really don’t need advertisement and maybe it was just their bad days as ours and I am not the kind of person to do a bad review on website so here is the experience we got on this lovely house.

So on the morning, we left really early as we were determined to reach Giant Causeway at the end of the day but on the way we got some stops to do.

So we stopped a couple of times on the Northern Coast, and I will do some articles on each stops as they well deserved it 🙂 We will more focus on the journey and the Irish weather on this article.

So after the bad experience in Ballycastle, we enjoyed our day by visiting Carrick-A-Rede and then we decided to cycle via the hiking trail between Ballintoy Harbour and Giant Causeway, it was definitely the worst idea ever, but the most funniest one 🙂 This hiking trail is not made for bicycle and we noticed that after hundred meters … We crossed sheep’s fields and seaweed fields as well, not really practical with bicycle, but we finished cycling along a beautiful beach and it was what we needed after all the previous obstacles.

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After the Beach, we cycled a little bit more and then, we arrived to our destination, The Giant’s Causeway. The more we approached, the more we were wondering where we will sleep. Everything was fully booked … again… We sent an email to the hostel located at 100 meters from Giant’s Causeway, and with no answer, we decided to go directly there to ask. When I passed the door, the owner was answering to my email. The answer was “fully booked”, I was desperate, and he might have noticed that in my look as he offered us to stay in a room, which was for the volunteers but as the weather was pretty changing and we were cycling, he offered us to stay in this room for the two following nights, we won’t thanks Andre enough. Thanks to him, we didn’t sleep outside and he gave us a lot of tips about the region. We met some wonderful people in this hostel, Andre, the owner and Samuel and Pamela, the two volunteers sharing the room with us.

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After two days, cycling around Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce Castle and Portrush, it was time for us to go back to Belfast to visit a little bit. It took us 3 days to cycle from Belfast to Portrush, not so bad for people who didn’t cycled before 🙂

We were so lucky to find all of those people on our way, we will never thanks them enough for what they’ve done for us.

In a next article, I will talk about all the different places we visited in Northern Ireland, especially Game of Thrones places 🙂

3 thoughts on “#1 : Let’s cycle in Northern Ireland !”

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