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Bushmills, Traveling Around Northern Ireland

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The drive to Bushmills was an adventure in itself. Technology failed me, and on some level, I also failed myself by not setting up enough back up plans. My last major trip was to Japan and I had enough information stored on my iPad, laptop, and phone for every scenario. So I can’t even figure out why I did not think to download an offline map on Google maps, along with a written down direction to the hostel. Lesson learned. Let’s not even get into how Sygic, an offline gps app that I paid too much for, was just plain useless.

It took me about 5 hours to find the hostel I booked, and it was even luck that stood with me when the front desk staff opened the door for me. Thank you Finn McCool Causeway Hostel! I arrived over 2 hours after they close for the night. With great thanks, I went off to my assigned bed and slept my tired bones away.

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Day 2 in Bushmills –

Nonstop flurry of activities is the best way I can describe my only full day in Northern Ireland. I am not the biggest fan of castles or similar, so I dedicated my time to taking in the natural beauty of Northern Ireland by driving to a good number of scenic spots without rushing through it. For the places that I found myself captivated by, I spent a good chunk of my time perched on the stones and simply taking in the scene.

Nigeria can be quite overwhelming and while we do have some quiet places in the country to visit, it is nice to be able to fully remove myself from everything Nigerian for a short amount of time. I love my country and all, but mehn, I can’t even start lamenting about how stressful life is in any given second in the country.

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Anyway, when I asked a few friends about the best site to visit in Northern Ireland, most people recommended The Giant’s Causeway bay…but Ballintoy may have won it for me. Ballintoy stole my heart. If I had more time to give, I would have sat there for hours curled around a good book with a glass of wine. It was an oddly serene place for me.

I got way too comfortable there that I almost missed my appointment at the Old Bushmills Distillery for some whisky tasting and a tour of the facilities. Sadly, pictures are not allowed inside and my camera’s battery clonked on me as soon I drove into the compound anyway. Ah well, they were kind enough to send me some pictures, and I have a few from my phone’s camera too. Prior to this tasting, I’d never tried Bushmills Whisky before and I reckon that if I had tried it a couple of years ago that I would have fallen in love. I found the 12 year old batch good enough, but it was the 21 year old bottle that made more sense to me.

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On first sniff, I knew I was going to really like it and then spicy burst of flavor that I got from the first sip sealed deal. This was my biggest splurge all through my trip in Ireland. So worth it.

After sipping some whisky at Old Bushmills, I jumped back in my car and rode off to the Dark Hedges…Game of Thrones fan may find the picture below familiar. Remember the scene where Arya was running from King’s landing post the chop of her dad’s head? Gorry stuff eh?

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