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I’ve teamed up with Tinggly to show you how great giving the gift of travel and adventure can be. Because, honestly, who needs more THINGS when you could explore more instead?!
So when Tinggly gifted me a travel experience I chose to explore more of what my homeland has to offer. I booked myself and a friend a day trip to Belfast, the Giants Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede from Dublin.
Sure, I’ve been to Northern Ireland and seen the highlights a couple of times before but the magic of Northern Ireland never wears off for me. Plus, Discover Northern Ireland had just unveiled their “Glass of Thrones” free-standing stained glass windows in Belfast, so it was a chance for me to catch a glimpse of those too.
Here’s the full low down on my Tinggly travel experience and everything that you can expect from a day trip to Northern Ireland from Dublin.
Belfast and Giants Causeway Tour From Dublin – Everything You Need to Know
So, let’s talk about Tinggly. It’s essentially a gift experience company. You choose the occasion or type of gift box you’d like to order and then whoever you gift it to can go onto the Tinggly website and book themselves a travel experience in one of over 100 countries. They’ll be given a voucher and all the details they need for their trip/experience via email.
You can choose from Bucketlist, Time Together, Dream Wedding, Premium, Just Married, Gap Year Collection, Christmas and more. There is something for everyone. Gift experiences range from €20 to €409 and include things like my Northern Ireland day trip, hot air balloon rides in France, whale watching in Madeira and plenty more.
My favourite thing about Tinggly is that every gift have a great attitude towards sustainability and caring for the environment. Every gift box is made from recycled materials and Tinggly will offset the carbon footprint of every experience booked by 200%. They do this by working with Climate Care UK. Also, everytime a Tinggly gift is purchased Tinggly removes 33lbs/15kg of plastic from the ocean/waterways in the Philippines, Indonesia and Haiti.
You can read more about Tinggly on their site – HERE.
Itinerary – Northern Ireland Day Trip from Dublin
7am – Pick up at Starbucks College Green (which opens at 6.30am so you can grab a quick coffee/snack first). Board the bus.
Approx 8.15am – Stop at services for bathroom break/pick up snacks.
9.40am – Arrive at Belfast and choose between Black Cab political tour or Titanic Museum.
11.15am – Back on the bus and head to the Causeway.
12.35pm – Quick stop to take photos of Dunluce castle (can’t get off the bus).
12.50pm – Arrive at Giant’s Causeway. Have hot lunch (not included in price).
2.50pm – Back on the bus and head to the rope bridge.
3.15pm – Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge.
4.45pm – Back on the bus and head back to Dublin.
6.45pm – Service stop for bathroom break/snacks.
8-8.30pm – Final drop off at Dublin O’Connell Street.
All of the above times are appoximate and vary depending on day, time of year, weather conditions and traffic. But it gives you a good idea of what to expect!
Side note, our tour bus had Wi-Fi and USB ports on each row, which was very handy for such a long day.
Stop 1 – Belfast
Belfast is one of my favourite cities. It may be small but it has a lot to offer. Check out my guide to 48hrs in Belfast for all the info on Northern Ireland’s capital.
On this tour I could choose between a black cab political tour of the city or the Titanic museum. I’ve done both before but I LOVE the Titanic Museum so there was never any doubt that it would be my choice.
If you were interested in the black cab political tour make sure that you’re prepared for lots of opinions, some controversial, as well as a bit of colourful language and stories that can be hard to hear. Oh, speaking of which, the North Irish accent can be a bit hard to understand, especially if English isn’t your first language. So bear that in mind when you make your choice.
The Titanic Museum is one of my all time favourite museums in the world. It’s extremely interactive and full of wonderful exhibits. It takes you through the construction of the Titanic right through to its tragic ending. There’s even a little ride halfway through. It can be very moving too. I always tear up when I read the final radio transmissions from Titanic to other ships in the area, asking for help.
There is a lovely coffee shop in the museum as well as a gift shop and bathrooms too. If you fly through the museum (like I did because it was my 3rd visit) then you might have a bit of time to walk around the Titanic Quarter and find a couple of the #GlassofThrones stained glass windows.
Obviously there is a lot more to see of Belfast and I would encourage anyone visiting Ireland to spend a couple of days in the city. You can read more about Belfast – HERE.
Stop 2 – Giant’s Causeway
Next stop, THE GIANT’S CAUSEWAY!! For most people this is the main event, what they came here to see. For me it’s nice but I’m always fed up with the crowds. Luckily, as it was the end of October when I visited the crowds weren’t too bad.
The Giants causeway is essentially a columnar basalt rock formation caused my molten lava cooling rapidly when it hits the cold sea. It’s been a long while since Ireland has had any lava flows. In fact, the causway was formed 50-60 million years ago. Of course, there is a tale of giants associated with the Giants Causeway as well, which you can find out more about at the visitors centre.
We had 2hrs at the site, which was plenty of time to walk to the causeway, have a look around, take some photos, explore the visitors centre (included in your experience price) and grab some hot lunch (not included). If you’re vegetarian like me the visitors centre cafe/restaurant has some great veggie options.
When you arrive at the causeway you have the option to have a guided tour, use an audio guide or just go it alone. I chose to go it alone because I’ve done both of the other options previously. However, having a local guide is a great option as they are so knowledgeable and will be able to answer any questions you might have.
If anyone has mobility issues or gets tired easily there is a small bus that will take you down to the causeway from the visitors centre (and back up if you choose) for a small fee which can be paid in £ or €.
You can read more about the Giant’s Causeway HERE.
Stop 3 – Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
This is by far my favourite stop on the day tour. The views as you walk to the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge are spectacular. My top tip is to save taking photos until the walk back from the bridge because it’s best to get in line for the bridge as early as possible. There won’t always be a long line, but if there is, you want to be at the front of it.
The rope bridge connects the mainland to the extremely small island of Carrick-a-Rede. A rope bridge has been in place there for over 350 years (don’t worry, they’ve updated it since then) as fishermen would use the island for salmon fishing. Unfortunately there is no salmon fishing there today, but the bridge still lives on.
Crossing the bridge can be a bit nerve-wracking as it is 100ft high, though it is a VERY short walk. Don’t worry too much though, they close the bridge when the winds are too high, so if the bridge is open it’s completely safe to cross. If you aren’t good with heights I suggest not trying to take any photos, holding on with both hands and not looking down at all.
There’s a lovely little coffee shop by the carpark where you can grab a hot drink and a slice of cake. They had a lime and gin cake when I was there that sounded interesting. There are also bathrooms beside the coffee shop.
You can read more about the
Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge – HERE.
What to Bring
OK, here’s my list of essentials to take with you on a day trip from Dublin to Belfast and the Giants Causeway.
- Rain coat. Irish weather is notoriously unpredictable so a rain coat is always best.
- Snacks/water. You never want to go hungry on a day trip. Sure you can pick up snacks on the road but it’s always good to have a few in your bag just in case and water is always an essential.
- Money. While it’s not essential to have £ with you, as pretty much everywhere takes card, it won’t hurt if you have a few coins.
- Camera. This is one seriously photogenic day trip so you’ll want to have your phone or camera close at hand.
- Walking boots/ non-slip and waterproof shoes. The causeway stones can be very slippy. You don’t want to be wearing heeled boots or sandals. Also, the weather is unpredictable so you could end up splashing through puddles to get to the rope bridge.
Let’s Wrap it up
So, overall I had a fantastic time on my day trip from Dublin to Belfast and the Giants Causeway. It’s a great way to see a lot in a short space of time. My experience using my Tinggly experience voucher was great too. There were so many options that it was hard to choose which experience to try, but once I had made my choice everything was extremely simple.
I’d definitely recommend a Tinggly gift experience for any addicts in your life.
Disclaimer – This post was sponsored by Tinggly. However, all opinions and views expressed in this article are,
as always, my own.