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Dublin to Belfast to Coastal Causeway - return route?

Dublin to Belfast to Coastal Causeway - return route?

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Posted Sat 3 Aug 2019 7:12 PM
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Hi,
My daughter and I are driving on our first trip to Ireland. I'm driving myself crazy trying to decide where to go. We finally decided on Belfast & Costal Causeway. We have 13 full days in total. Arriving and departing from Dublin. Arrive on 26th of December and leave on 8th of January. I need and would like to make the trip as stress-free/casual  as I can. No driving to see everything in a day and then onto the next. We love history and beer. We also like staying for a few days so we get to know a town a bit. It's the best way to really explore anything.

Here's my itinerary so far. We arrive in Dublin on the morning, 26 December. We pick up our car on 29 December. Drive to Belfast in a day? Is that realistic? Costal Causeway - if anyone has ideas on B&Bs let me know. Thanks!

MAIN THING! I need to get back to Dublin. One idea is to skip things one way and do the rest on our way back. Maybe you have a better route through the middle? 

Thank you!

Jennifer
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Posted Sun 4 Aug 2019 10:52 AM
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Hello Jennifer, 

It is so exciting that you and your daughter will be exploring the Emerald Isle for 13 whole days this winter! :) I'd love to help you make this trip as relaxed and stress-free as possible. 

It's great that you're arriving in Dublin in the morning, as you'll have lots of time to pick up your rental car and drive towards Belfast. This drive takes only 2,5 hours, so it's very realistic. Are there any things you'd like to see on the way to Northern Ireland? Make sure to mention to your car rental company that you will be travelling between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland as well. 

You'll be arriving on Boxing Day in Belfast. Are you planning on staying in the city for a while, or would you like to travel straight on to the Causeway Coast

Since you are fond of history and beer, I definitely recommend exploring Belfast, as it has beautiful pubs with local craft beers and ales, as well as a lot of (Titanic) history. I totally agree that staying in a city of town for a few days really helps to get to know the place, so if you have the time, it's definitely a good idea! 

From Belfast you can easily find your way to the Causeway Coastal Route. What is on your list for this part of the trip? Take a look at the available B&B's along the way on this page. You can select the type of accommodation, and where you would like to stay, and all of the available options will pop up. Another super handy way to find a B&B is by using the official B&B Locator from B&B Ireland. 

I also recommend the Gobbins Cliffpath on Islandmagee, which is about a 40 minute drive away from Belfast city centre.

I'd love to hear more about your plans and ideas. Are you thinking of staying along the Causeway Coast, or would going even further up north to the beginning of the Wild Atlantic Way be an option as well? :) 

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Posted Sun 4 Aug 2019 10:51 PM
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Thank you for your ideas. I'll check out everything. The Gobbins is a "must do". I need to figure out how much I can do without things getting overwhelming. We can always come back. I want a leisurely trip. I'm not planning on one night in every town - see the main sights - on to the next town - overdo everything and get overwhelmed - then get sick - spend a week at home sleeping. :-)
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Posted Mon 5 Aug 2019 9:29 AM
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Hi Jennifer,

We can understand completely about not wanting to rush your time with us!

The Gobbins is a super place to visit but will, unfortunately, close for the season ahead of your visit, a definite for the next time you make it over to see us.

The Causeway Coastal Route is a lovely drive with plenty of places to stop and see the many sights including some of the Game of Thrones filming locations too. Portrush is a lovely seaside town with excellent road links to most of the coast attractions and easy access point for Derry~Londonderry too if you fancy some excellent history with the 400-year anniversary of the walls this year.

We hope you settle on a plan that fills your time with us but leaves you with a desire to see more of our wonderful island. :)

Speak soon,

Martin 
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Posted Mon 5 Aug 2019 11:00 AM
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Heartbroken! I looked at The Gobbins and was sure it was open. I guess I was wrong. Derry looks great It seems like The Costal Causeway will be a drive. with no stops. I loved Game of Thrones, but am not a crazy fan, and my daughter hasn't watched it. Moan moan.

I thought to post a request for information on a neighborhood app and got a great response. I'm  meeting with a couple of people who've lived in Ireland. I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner. I live in Fells Point, a 300 year old neighborhood in Baltimore that's filled with pubs. A lot of them claim to be Irish. I think I'll have some good luck with a different route this time around.

Thank you so much for all your help. 
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Posted Mon 5 Aug 2019 11:40 AM
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Hi Jennifer,

I'm delighted to hear that you and your daughter are planning your first trip to Ireland and Northern Ireland over Christmas, you won't be disappointed! 

As Melin has mentioned, the drive from Dublin to Belfast takes about 2.5 hours.  From Belfast, heading north, take the well signposted Causeway Coastal Route (A2).  This road follows the stunning coastline of the North Antrim Coast which is studded with gems such as historic castles, quaint harbours, glens and long sandy beaches.  

Attractions along the way include, Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge, which is a suspended bridge over a ravine.  The bridge operates on a ticketed basis and you can purchase these in advance from any of the Visitor Information Centres in the area. Travelling about 5 miles west you will come to the Giant's Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where there's a great visitor centre, with a cafe, shop and information area.  Experienced local guides lead tours to explore the unique formations of the Causeway.  You can also walk for miles along the cliff path there.  Again, driving west, approximately 5 miles along the A2, you encounter Dunluce Castle, a well preserved ruin perched on a cliff looming over the Atlantic Ocean. 

The Causeway Coastal Route extends to the City of Derry in the west and from there you could link onto the Wild Atlantic Way.  

There are plenty of accommodation options in the Causeway Coast and Glens.  If you require further information on accommodation, please get in contact with Coleraine Visitor Information Centre and we will be happy to help.  For example, you could base yourselves in Ballycastle or Portrush and explore the various attractions at a leisurely pace.

For further information on any of the above, take a look at our website: https://www.visitcausewaycoastandglens.com/

I wish you an enjoyable trip!

Alison 
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Posted Mon 5 Aug 2019 1:18 PM
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Thank you for the advice on the Costal Causeway. I was really excited about it. However, the Gobbins and the Giant's Causeway are closed.
I was really looking forward to both. That leaves the rope bridge. Derry looks great and the castle along the way would be fun. I'm meeting with someone today who's lived in Ireland. He's going to see if he can help narrow things down a bit.  Thanks again!
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Posted Mon 5 Aug 2019 1:34 PM
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Hi Jennifer,

Just to let you know, you can still access the stones and the cliff-top pathway at the Causeway even if the Visitor Centre is closed, although for the full experience you could plan to visit when it is open.

A couple of other castle (ruins) suggestions along the route are Kinbane Castle, just outside Ballycastle and Dunseverick Castle, just before the Giant's Causeway.

Good luck with planning the rest of your trip!

Best Wishes 
Alison
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Posted Mon 5 Aug 2019 1:47 PM
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Thank you for additional suggestions. We'd really like to see the northern part of the island.

We can rebook our trip for the early spring, but my daughter visits me for Christmas and we usually take a trip. We both fell in love with Ireland. Everyone on trip advisor just talked about the daylight hours. I spent last Christmas in Alston, England and had the best Christmas ever. I'm hoping I can make this work out, but as I said we can always postpone and go in the early spring to beat the other tourists. 

Thanks again for the added items to our list. It's a big help.


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Posted Tue 6 Aug 2019 10:27 AM
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Hello again, Jennifer! 

What a lovely idea to meet up with a few people who have lived on the Emerald Isle! You'll get some wonderful and helpful tips that way. :) 

I'm so happy to hear that you fell in love with Ireland, and visiting around this time of year really has such a festive feel to it. As Alison mentions above, the Giant's Causeway is always open to visitors, and only the visitor centre will be closed during Christmas, so you will be able to see the stones. 

Just about next to the Giant's Causeway you can find Dunluce Castle, which is a great area to explore while you're here. The castle can be visited between 10:00 and 16:00 every day, except during Christmas. 

Another wonderful outdoors activity is a walk through Tollymore Forest Park, which is located about an hour from Belfast on the way to Dublin. The forest is amazing all year round, and you could visit on the way back to the airport. :)

Keep us posted on your meeting with the locals, I'd love to hear more about their recommendations! 

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