Spinning Yarns Festival Part 1… the Causeway Coast!

I’m so happy to bring you this blog post… photos and memories from a hugely inspiring and absolutely wonderful day visiting the Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland.

I’d been invited to speak at the Spinning Yarns Festival on Sunday 6th September (I’ll share another blog post next week about the yarn festival itself) and I travelled together with my husband and teenage daughter for a 48 hour whirlwind trip! 😃

We flew from London Gatwick to Belfast

My blankets came with me so I could showcase them at the festival and I really had to squeeze them into that case!

And I felt ever so slightly nervous when they left my sight at the airport baggage drop-off!

It had been over two years since we’d been on a plane and those views above the clouds still amaze me…

And I even managed a little airplane crochet… yay! 😃

That’s my Autumn Horizons Shawl coming in a new colourway soon! 😄💙🧡

We flew out on the Friday evening. The yarn festival was on the Sunday so we had the Saturday to ourselves.

What to do with one day in Northern Ireland? A new destination for us all… We decided to hire a car and drive the ‘Causeway Coastal Route’ stopping off at various places along the way. And what a brilliant day it was… 💚

I’ve created a video about the weekend which I’ll also share with you next week. In the meantime here are some of our photos and memories… enjoy! 💙

We started at Cushendall Beach. This was where we got our first glimpse of the sea and we went for a little stroll…

We weren’t expecting to enjoy a serious session of sea glass hunting but we soon discovered that this was in fact an amazing beach for finding seaglass!

Seaglass hunting in action!

Every step led to more sea glass finds in so many different colours… it was fabulous.

Finding a blue piece was just perfect! That’s always special… 💙

And a green heart shaped piece too… 💚

Finding all this sea glass made me want to get my tiny crochet hooks out and cover the bigger pieces. That’s something I’ve done in the past but not recently… so already I was starting to feel all creative and inspired!

And here are some pieces I’ve already crocheted around since being home…

I’m hoping to get some new patterns written up that I can share with you all here on my blog soon. In the meantime here’s the link to ones I did back in 2017: https://coastalcrochet.com/2017/08/15/crocheting-around-seaglass/

What a wonderful start to the day on that sea glass beach it had been but we knew we had to get going because there was so much more we wanted to see and we only had the one day.

Next stop was just a little further north up the coast in a beautiful coastal village called Cushendun…

I’ve never watched the TV series ‘Game of Thrones’ but we soon discovered that a lot of filming took place in various parts of Northern Ireland. And the locations were obviously all chosen for their dramatic beauty, meaning regardless of whether you watched the show or not, these filming spots were worth a visit! And the Cushendun Caves certainly were…

They were impressive and so very atmospheric, we really enjoyed exploring those caves by the sea…

Back in the car and we drove further north heading to Torr Head. We took the ‘Torr Head Scenic Route’ where the drive became really special with spectacular scenery and twisting, winding roads…

It’s at this point that Northern Ireland is at its closest to Scotland across the water… only 12 miles! And we had beautiful hazy views over to the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland…

The coast here is beautifully rugged…

Gorgeous heathers!

After eating our picnic lunch which we’d bought from a shop in Cushendun, we got back in the car and rejoined the ‘Causeway Coastal Route’ heading to Ballintoy Harbour. We stopped en route at ‘Portaneevy Car Park & Viewpoint’ and could see across to the amazing ‘Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge’ that was sadly temporarily closed due to Covid.

Onwards to Ballintoy harbour and this is another ‘Game of Thrones’ filming location.

The sun came out for us here and oh that water was so sparkling, blue and clear… just beautiful! It was at this point that I knew I’d fallen in love with this ‘Causeway Coast’!

I thought this was a good opportunity for a photo shoot with my original ‘Seaside Stash Busting Blanket’…

And we enjoyed walking along the natural harbour and the dramatic scenery continued…

…but our next stop surpassed that drama even more! 😃

The famous UNESCO World Heritage site, the ‘Giants Causeway’ was simply stunning! This has long been on my wish list of places I’ve wanted to visit.

And it did not disappoint! We arrived after 5pm when a lot of coach tours were heading in the opposite direction coming away from the famous rock formations. It’s about a 20 minute walk from the car park down to the causeway and I’m told it can get very busy at certain times which obviously has an impact on a place like this. But we were so fortunate to have it relatively quiet and therefore some amazing photos were possible…

My daughter gazing out to sea… 💙

Here’s a little more about these spectacular natural rock formations taken directly from the UNESCO website: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/369/

The Giant’s Causeway lies at the foot of the basalt cliffs along the sea coast on the edge of the Antrim plateau in Northern Ireland. It is made up of some 40,000 massive black basalt columns sticking out of the sea. The dramatic sight has inspired legends of giants striding over the sea to Scotland. Geological studies of these formations over the last 300 years have greatly contributed to the development of the earth sciences, and show that this striking landscape was caused by volcanic activity, some 50–60 million years ago.

I found it truly awe inspiring…

And I’m glad I took my blanket with me for some really unique photo opportunities…

Further up the cliffs, this rock formation is known as the organ pipes for obvious reasons… it really did look like a giant had placed an organ right there in the cliff face ready to play on!!

We could have stayed for hours! It was really special. But we had two more stops which we really wanted to squeeze in and time (and daylight) was running out!

Connections with fellow crocheters on social media is a huge part of ‘Coastal Crochet’! Sharing and connecting with so many of you here on my blog and over on my Instagram and on Facebook too is what is always special.

Ruth from ‘Labours of Love Crochet’ and I have followed each other over on Instagram for a few years. Ruth made my Seaside Stash Busting Blanket and has also made many of my ‘Autumn Seas’ wrist warmers. So when Ruth heard I was coming to Northern Ireland for the Spinning Yarns Festival she got in touch to say she sadly couldn’t get to the festival but as we were staying so close to where she lives, would love to meet on a local beach on the Saturday!

And that’s what we did… enjoying some yummy s’mores together too!

But first, as we parked the car, we actually saw some dolphins (or porpoise) out at sea in the bay!! You can just about see one in this photo…

Dolphins spotted! Could this day get any better?! 💙😄

Meeting Ruth and her family (and puppy) was really lovely. Chatting about crochet, amongst many other things, on that gorgeous beach was fabulous. And of course we had to get a photo of our blankets together!

The sun was starting to get lower in the sky…. we’d nearly run out of time… there are more places further along the coast that we’ll just have to come back to see another day in the future!

But there was just one more place that we were going to try and see before it got dark… it was a short detour on the way back to our Bed & Breakfast and it was a race against time to get there just as daylight was fading…

These are the ‘The Dark Hedges’! Another famous ‘Game of Thrones’ filming location. It’s an avenue of old beech trees planted in the eighteenth century along a road which led to a private residence. All these years later and they’re still standing and looking so impressive…

The Dark Hedges in the dark!

We were exhausted! How much had we packed into that one day?! It’s one of those days that will stay with us forever… seeing and appreciating so much… but also knowing that we had only started to scratch the surface of this wonderful place that we would love to return to.

I’ve certainly left a piece of my heart on the Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland.

The next day was the ‘Spinning Yarns Festival’ and I’ll share more about that next week!

In the meantime, Happy Crocheting Everyone! 🙂 🙂

56 comments

  1. Thanks Eleonora. I enjoyed this guided tour and now I want to go too. Beautiful pictures. Looking forward to the next instalment about the festival too.

  2. What a lovely tour of the coast of Northern Ireland. Loved reading and seeing all of the amazing sites. How cool you were able to connect with a Coastal Crochet follower! Thank you for sharing this with us!

  3. I am so glad you enjoyed our lovely part of Northern Ireland,I live in Co Armagh. Met you at the spinning yarn festival enjoyed your talk. I have crochet seven of your beautiful blankets.

  4. wow Eleonora that was one fantastic journey to go on with you. I had been to Belfast once in 2019 and enjoyed so much. Really need to explore Ireland some more. If only it was not such long flights.

  5. It looks gorgeous. I’m now very tempted to go myself. Will show hubby and put it on our retirement to do list. Thanks for the lovely tour

  6. Loved reading your blog about your trip there really are so many beautiful places to stop along the North Coast! It was an absolute delight to actually meet you and your family x

  7. I’m so glad I just subscribed to your blog! This is exactly the kind of journey I love to take, and the crochet work the kind I like to make with the unexpected colors and use of leftover (“found object”) yarn.
    The scenes and the blanket are not just beautiful, but inspiring. They inspire me to crochet organic shapes if I choose, or straightforward ripples when that feels right. I’m also inspired to start my own blog sometime soon, so I can show the varied woods and coastal areas of Massachusetts U.S.A. where I live. Greetings to all you UK and Irish crocheters, separated from me by an ocean, but close in our culture and love of looping threads.

  8. What a wonderful blog! I really enjoyed reading about your Irish adventure! Thanks so much for sharing, both the narrative and the amazing photos!

  9. What memories you have brought to me. I live in NZ and we visited those places in 2013. We got to walk over that swing bridge, no covid back then, and I found it a real challange as I don’t like heights but so glad to do it. The giants causeway is amazing I agree. Totally loved our time over there. I have crochet so much more over the years especially now as I have so much more time, but I also knit, quilt and garden and grandchildren so my life is pretty full. Thank you for sharing your day trip, I just loved revisiting it all.

  10. I enjoyed your trip round my weekend homeland, Runkerry has the most amazing walk around the cliff face from the beach. Glad you left a little piece of your heart here. Thanks for sharing your day trip. So lovely meeting you, Steve and your family in person.

  11. What a wonderful blog post, Eleonora! I felt like I was right there beside you and your lovely family as you toured Northern Ireland. Thank you so much for including so many glorious pictures to share with us. It’s like getting a mini vacation from my cozy chair here in Missouri, USA 🙂

  12. THANK YOU for sharing your photos with the Crochet World . I enjoy traveling thru others’ eyes. Wonderful clear photos to travel with you. I feel I was at your side….again THANK YOU.

  13. Thank you for the memories of my trip to England, Scotland and Ireland. Your trip must have been fantastic it sure looks like it

  14. Thanks Eleanora for sharing these amazing photos from Ireland, I’m a Gold Coaster from Queensland Australia and have long wanted to see these amazing geographical features. So thanks for sharing. Most Australians from English descent have Irish in us. My husband is a Stringer whose family come from County Antrim. On my bucket list to be in Ireland one day 🥰💐

  15. Loved reading about your wonderful day. Brought back memories of my visit in 2019. I was able to walk across the rope bridge and it was breathtaking. Thank you for sharing.

  16. What a great pictures of a wonderful day. We did visit the coast of Cornwall a few years ago. It was do beautiful, but this Northern Ireland coast looks more dramatically and beautiful in one. Together with your seaside blanket it looks great. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

  17. That looks such a fantastic trip – thanks for sharing it with us. Your blanket was perfect for the photoshoot, all those colours against the dark grey causeway.

  18. I’m sure the Irish Tourist Board would congratulate you on your amazing photos and enthusiastic descriptions of all you saw that day. I have really enjoyed looking and reading this blog, thank you Eleanora. Xx

  19. Dear Eleanor, thank you so much for our travels around Ireland. Beautiful scenery and beaches. I can’t believe all the beautiful sea-glass you found.such a beautiful blanket too. Love both colourways. Janey xx

  20. Eleonora, thank you for sharing your awesome photos from your trip. I’m amazed by those rock formations! I had never seen or heard of them before. They are fascinating and beautiful! The Dark Hedges look familiar from TV or movies, but it’s really cool seeing your photos of them. I suppose I didn’t know they were a real place, before. Impressive! Glad that you had a fun time!

    Janell Niemeyer

  21. Hi Eleonora! I loved reading about your whistle-stop tour of the beautiful NI north coast. We had a holiday there many years ago and felt like we only ‘scratched the surface’! Your blanket looks spectacular in that setting! And I have major ‘sea glass envy’!!
    Thank you for all your inspirational work and photos; keep doing what you’re doing!

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