Getaway to the Giant's Causeway
Did Finn MacCool, (Fionn mac Cumhaill) Ireland’s legendary giant, really carve out the Giant’s Causeway by tearing chunks from the mountains to make stepping stones across an ocean, to fight a Scottish giant? Or did geology play its part in creating this stunning Unesco World Heritage Site?
Geologists will tell you that the hexagonal basalt columns rocks of the Giant’s Causeway, which resemble honeycomb, were formed during the Paleogene period when volcanic activity caused molten basalt to flow and create a plateau. When the basalt cooled, it contracted to form these impressive columns. But when you’re in Ireland, myths and legends tend to be just as important as anything a scientist ever tells you! We prefer the mystical story of Finn MacCool and the magic it entails!
Whichever version you opt for, there’s no doubt you’re in for a spectacular view when you see the Giant’s Causeway for real. It’s a majestic spot worthy of battle of giants of long ago. More recently, the Causeway lent a majestic backdrop to the scenery in the successful series Game of Thrones. If you’ve not seen it before, it’s well worth a visit. If you have been there on a previous occasion, it will still take your breath away. Areas of raw beauty like this never stop creating a sense of awe and wonder at the splendour of the natural world.
TOUR THE CAUSEWAY COASTAL ROUTE
Join with us on a tour of the Causeway Coast, where Good Food Ireland members dotted along the journey will make life a gourmet paradise as well as a scenic one. Our Six Night Causeway Gourmet Getaway begins in Dublin and travels to from the capital to the Giant’s Causeway via the Nine Glens of Antrim, famous for potato production. On this journey, you’ll visit boutique hotels, stately homes and cosy inns, enjoying an array of local produce along the way. Members who are providing superlative accommodations and lunches on this fully planned 6 night tour are ready and waiting to welcome you.
Brooks Hotel is a boutique hotel in Drury Street, very close to all central Dublin sights and the shopping haunts of Grafton Street. Head Chef Patrick McLarnon will wow with his food, from breakfast through to an intimate dinner in Francesca’s Restaurant. Try a few samples from the hotel’s Whiskey bar as a lovely nightcap.
Tankardstown House, Co. Meath is the next stop. Only a short drive from Dublin, this magnificent period house stands on its own private 80 acre estate. Tankardstown has a wealth of history, dating back to 17th Century when the estate was formed in Cromwellian times by merging confiscated lands which had large private houses as the central point. In 1710, the Coddington family of Oldbridge House on the Battle of the Boyne site became owners of Tankardstown.
Later in the 18th Century it was owned by Brabazon Morris, when it was mortgaged, then eventually bought out in 1815 by the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, Francis Blackburne. In the years afterwards, Tankardstown fell into complete disrepair. Until 2002, when it was bought as a family home, and began to be restored to its former glory. Head Chef Adrian Cassidy creates lunch and dinner menus with the lightest of touches, using fresh seasonal produce from the house’s gardens and best of Irish meats and fish.
Culloden Estate and Spa
The former home of the Bishops of Belfast is now a five star hotel with spa on its own estate. Overlooking Belfast Lough in the distance from Culloden’s imposing position on the hills of Holywood, the views from the dining room are spectacular. Bedrooms are luxuriously furnished with every convenience and the special little touches that come with this level of stay.
The Mitre Restaurant, run by Executive Head Chef Paul McKnight lays on a stunning breakfast buffet and cooked to order dishes each morning. Dinner is a suave affair with the backdrop of the view in an elegant dining room. Paul McKnight serves up a local flavour with exquisite cooking that has the critics all excited!
Very close to the Giant’s Causeway is The Bushmills Inn, in Bushmills village, home of the famous Bushmills Whiskey Distillery. Situated in an original house and stables dating back to 1608, The Bushmills Inn has retained charming period character, married with the best hospitality facilities. When you think of an Inn, you think of a warm and welcoming bolthole that will cocoon you in comfort. That’s just what you get here.
Whilst this ‘Inn’ may be slightly bigger than the description conjures, Bushmills has all of the intimacy you’d expect in the traditional sense. Sample the delights of the restaurant or enjoy a tipple of Bushmills in the Gas Bar which takes its name from the old gas lights used for lighting.
After touring the Causeway Coast, Rathmullan House in Donegal is a wonderful overnight stop overlooking Lough Swilly on the Wild Atlantic Way. The house and gardens leads down to the sandy beach of the Lough, where you can walk off a stupendous dinner served in The Cook and Gardener Restaurant. This links Rathmullan’s Head Chef with the produce of the house’s walled garden.
Fantastic selection of seasonal produce to feast on, plus a beautiful wine list to match the dishes. Rooms are cosy and comfortable, some with outdoor terraces. A divine spot.
Back in Dublin after your Causeway adventure, Dylan Hotel is a unique boutique accommodation close to the city but in a quiet residential area on the edge of Ballsbridge. All rooms here are individually designed using one off pieces in furnishings and quirky interior design. In the kitchen at Tavern at Dylan, Head Chef Mark Bodie uses the best of Irish for an ultra stylish and flavoursome menu of stylish dishes. Outside, the large terrace at the front of the hotel provides outdoor dining space and a great spot to have a glass of wine or tipple of choice while watching the world go by.
Outside, the large terrace at the front of the hotel provides outdoor dining space and a great spot to have a glass of wine or tipple of choice while watching the world go by.
OTHER PLACES TO EAT AND STAY IN THE CAUSEWAY COASTAL ROUTE AREA
Along the Antrim Coast on the Causeway Coastal Route, Ballygally Castle Hotel has a ghost in residence and a wonderful location right by the sea. Have a bracing walk before or after a meal in The Garden Room Restaurant and if you’re staying here, brave it out with a bedroom in the Ghost Tower!
Beech Hill Country House
In the suburbs of Historical Derry City, Beech Hill Country House makes a good spot to tour the Causeway Coastal Route in reverse or embark on the route of the Wild Atlantic Way down the western seaboard, which begins Muff in Co. Donegal. A country house with a long history, Beech Hill is beautifully decorated and features a restaurant using produce from its own walled garden.