The Adventures of Jazzy: The Road Trip....

As the summer school holidays roll on, and on, and on, I actively pursue my Summer Bucket List, in a desperate effort to be inventive in getting us out and about when possible.

Be assured though, dear readers, I haven't fallen off the edge of the earth, or the blogosphere. You'd be forgiven for thinking that I had. Instead I took us on a road trip, to almost the very tip of Ireland.

At the beginning of the school holidays I asked Teen Boy was there anything in particular he'd like to do this year and he mentioned the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland. Now, me not being one to deny a child his interest in geography and geology I put that trip at the very  top of my list. In order to also encourage his love of history I threw in a visit to the Titanic Experience in Belfast for good measure, and I organised some company for us both. This educational stuff is all very admirable and all that but there's nothing wrong in ensuring I have company  to share a much needed glass of wine with at the end of a busy day touring now is there? He of course was delighted with the trip and the companionship of his friend.

It was a wonderful trip with stunning views, but as it involved me it couldn't go perfectly smoothly now could it? You'd be disappointed if I didn't have a drama or two to share, now wouldn't you? Go on, be honest!

Oh yes, it all started with the night before the road trip. The sleepless night before the road trip that was to require 5 hours of driving. Despite trying numerous methods to get myself to sleep I lay awake the whole night long. I even tweeted some #SleeplessInDublin tweets to amuse myself but nobody kept me company. All normal people with minds that have an off-switch were asleep you see.

We were up bright and early the next morning, I donned my 'can-do' attitude, had a fortifying breakfast of porridge and Red Bull and took to the long, long road up north. With my Teen Boy, who had a full night's sleep it must be said, snoring on his pillow for the 2 hours it took to get to Belfast!

The Titanic Experience was well worth the Red Bull fuelled trip, which saw me get only slightly lost once. Don't worry though, I more than made up for that later on.

The exhibition is housed in a very impressive building in the beautifully scenic Docklands area, on the slipways where the Titanic was built, and has 9 'rooms'  to wander through.

It's not just the story of the Titanic, it includes the lifestyles of the times too and the workers who helped build the iconic ship. I particularly loved the backdrop scenes of old Belfast with the silhouettes of passers-by - very effective - and the mock up of the rooms and the china used on board the ship .

 The accounts of the sinking, recorded by actors, and the tales of the aftermath were interesting too. Well worth a visit.

After some lunch it was time to undertake the supposed hour and a half's drive to the lovely seaside town of Portrush, with the boys deciding to travel in one car - which left me alone in mine. No bother at all....

And that's where it all went horribly hilariously wrong!

Although I managed to get out of Belfast okay I went disastrously wrong shortly thereafter, simply because I didn't trust the directions. I knew when I saw the signs for the George Best Airport that I had gone very wrong indeed! How on earth did I end up anywhere near there??!! I made my first of what was to be many stops for directions. If the very helpful guy in the Tesco garage only knew how close the crazy calm  lady desperately gently asking for directions was to falling apart and wailing like a 2 year old, who'd lost all members of her family and was left abandoned on the side of a motorway! Or maybe he did and that's why he was so nice....

Anyway, I eventually got back on the right road, going in the right direction, and all was well for a while. Until I hit not one, but two detours which saw me take a very unplanned and protracted, scenic tour of Northern Ireland, doubling the travel time.

Can't you just picture it? There I was - #SleeplessInDublin, #AbandonedInBelfast and #UtterlyLostInUlster, trailing around the many lonely by-roads. A woman, driving alone. In Ulster. In a Dublin registered car!

There was a time, not so long ago, when that would have been quite a problem. But not that day. I met some very nice helpful people on my solo journey that day and eventually happened upon the Portrush roundabout. If it were at all possible to hug a roundabout I would have stopped to do so.

The others had a similar experience on their journey, which us two mums laughed about that night over a well deserved glass of wine. I just knew that inviting company was a good idea ;-)

The next day we had the pleasure of visiting the absolutely stunning World Heritage Site that is the Giant's Causeway. I highly recommend going via the Visitors Centre (see previous link) as the £21 family entrance fee includes a guided walking tour which was very informative and enjoyable.

Oh, it was amazing ... stunning....

After going back the long way, climbing 162 steps, we then headed off to climb even more steps before braving the Carrick-a Rede rope bridge. Which, as you can see, was well worth the climb and the panic-inducing risking of  life and limb for the stunning views....

It was truly an amazing trip, we were so very glad that we did it.

We arrived home a couple of days later tired and in awe, with highly toned thigh and calf muscles and with firm resolutions to go see a tentative Irish World Heritage Site next year ;-)

I am already  fiercely studying road maps in preparation....



  1. Wow, very cool! Two places I have been wanting to go to! Nigel is a Titanic enthusiast, and I promised to take him there hopefully in the not-too-distant future. And I've always thought the Giant's Causeway looked fascinating. So glad you got to experience it and had a good trip (all things considered)! xo

  2. @Tanya @ TeenAutism: Oh you'd both love it! The Causeway is truly fascinating, an area of such natural beauty...

    Thanks for your comment :-)

    xx Jazzy

  3. It sounds like a wonderful road trip (apart from the getting lost bit). I have many to do but seem to be running out of time.

  4. @magnumlady: It really was memorable. Fair play to you, I am done for a while. My advice? PACK A ROAD MAP!! Sigh.....

    Thanks for your comment :-)

    xx Jazzy

  5. Amazing! We saw the Titanic Experience here several years ago, and I still think about it. Your summer sounds like it's been terrific!

  6. Well.... it sounds like it was really worth it in the end!!!! Good you had a friend with you.... I take it you didn't have a satnav :o). X

  7. Oh noooo... Can't believe you got lost! :D Apart from that, it all sounds amazing. Having been to Ireland many times, I have yet to make it to Northern Ireland. One day! :)

  8. @Shelly: It's fantastic isn't it? My boy wants to go back!
    Our summer has been a protracted mixed affair, made intermittantly wonderful with some well-planned trips/visits ;-)

    @Older Mum: Yes, it really was! I only recount it here for posterity and 'cos it was funny too! Nope, no satnav. My husband is a human satnav but he wasn't with us...hence the disaster!

    @BavarianSojourn: I can! Doesn't usually bother me, down South, but I really didn't know where I was most of the time up North - but we got there:-) If you do visit Northern Ireland you have got to put The Titanic Experienc, The Giant's Causeway and The rope brigde (only 7 miles from the Causeway) on your 'must visit' list. Well, well worth it. Amazing.

    Thank you all for your comments, both here and on facebook. Very much appreciated :-)

    xx Jazzy

  9. There were lots and lots of fabulous things about this post - the pictures, the misadventures, the way you both brought friends along for the ride. Just like anyone else would do, wonderful to read xx

  10. @Looking for Blue Sky: Thank you so much. I 'get' your comment and believe me your sentiments didn't pass me by ;-)

    xx Jazzy

  11. Try Google maps on your iPhone Jazzy! Although with roaming it might be wise to slip in a local sim (I use Orange up North)
    The App has vocal directions and the nice google lady talks you through each turn so you don't even need to wear glasses.

    Glad you had fun xx

  12. @Lisamaree Dom: of course, that is precisely what I should have done before I left home. After all, I had the whole sleepless night beforehand to figure it out and set it up!

    Thanks for your comment and yes, we did indeed have fun :-)

    xx Jazzy


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