Tales of the Giant’s Causeway, with Paddy and Plunkett

Hello everyone! Well, last week I promised you a visit to one of County Antrim’s most famous landmarks… And here we are! Plunkett is especially excited – this attraction does have a very geological slant.
Plunkett Spots the Giant's Causeway - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesHe’s just spotted it there in the distance… The Giant’s Causeway! Time to rush over for a closer peek.

“Look at these basalt columns, Paddy! Incredible!”
Plunkett Up Close with the Giant's Causeway - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesNormally Paddy is left stony-faced by Plunkett’s enthusiasm for rocks, but even he has to admit that this is pretty cool.
Paddy at the Giant's Causeway - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesEven more so when he hears about how they got here. Volcanoes are always awesome, even if they happened 60 million years ago! And this is just the beginning.

Giant's Causeway Stones - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
As you get closer to the sea, the grass and plants disappear and you can see the hexagonal stone columns all the more clearly. The Giant’s Causeway is made up of more than 40,000 of these hexagons, neatly stacked together!

And while Plunkett admires the stones, Paddy has been learning about how this place got its name. It turns out there are lots of myths and legends about the Giant’s Causeway! Early people apparently had a lot of fun figuring out how the stones came to look this way.
Hexagonal Rocks at The Giant's Causeway - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

The most popular story, and the one I learned as a child, is that local giant Finn McCool (Fionn mac Cumhaill in Irish, and you’ll come across lots of alternative spellings that fall somewhere in between the two as well) had an ongoing rivalry with another giant who lived across the water in Scotland. After a few rounds of long distance name-calling and threats, Finn decided to kick things up a gear, and he built a series of stepping stones – the Giant’s Causeway – so he could cross the sea and challenge Benandonner, the Scottish giant, to a physical fight.

The Causeway and the Sea - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

Unfortunately, the downside of exchanging insults across a stretch of ocean is that it makes it tricky to gauge the size and strength of your opponent. Once in Scotland, Finn discovered that Benandonner was a good bit bigger than he’d expected. Oh well, never mind. There was still time to leg it back across the causeway, breaking it up on the way so that Benandonner couldn’t follow him. Right?


Benandonner spotted Finn, and started chasing him home. And Finn would have taken a giant-sized beating, had he not been married to a smart lady called Oonagh. She had the genius idea of wrapping her big-mouth husband in blankets, and popping him in an oversized crib – which she’d apparently been keeping in the house for just this sort of eventuality. When Benandonner showed up at the door, she invited him in, and introduced him to her sweet little baby boy. Thinking that Finn in disguise was his rival’s son, and in that case that he was the one who would most likely come up short in a fight, Benandonner turned tail and ran. Nice one, Oonagh!

Fortunately, the boys didn’t see any warring giants on the day they visited.
Paddy and Plunkett at the Giant's Causeway - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd yes, you are allowed to walk on the stones! The lads took full advantage of that.
Nearly there, Plunkett! H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

“Nearly there, Plunkett!”
Paddy and Plunkett on the rocks - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Aaaaah! It’s actually quite comfortable up here.”

Then there was just time to grab a couple more photos…
Beasties at the Giant's Causeway - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties… Before heading off.
Leaving the Giant's Causeway - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Come on Paddy, we don’t want to miss our train home!”

Made it! And with seconds to spare!
Paddy Catches the Train - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesSee you all next time!

Beastie Travel Guide

Access to the Giant’s Causeway World Heritage Site is free, as long as you arrive on foot. If you drive there, expect to pay a hefty fee to park your car in the Visitor Centre car park! The Giant’s Causeway & Bushmills Railway train takes about half an hour to travel from Bushmills to near the Causeway. That means you can sit back and enjoy the scenery… And sneakily avoid paying for parking by using their free car park at the Bushmills station.


Paddy and Plunkett at Castlerock Beach - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

Bushmills Beasties

Hello everyone! We’re coming in a little bit later than usual this week, but rest assured that Paddy and Plunkett are very keen to share their latest holiday adventure with you all. This week, we’ll be swinging by the small town of Bushmills and taking a stroll on one of County Antrim’s famous sandy beaches.

But first, let’s catch up with the boys where we left them last week – at Antrim Castle Gardens. And it looks like they’ve made another friend!
Paddy, Plunkett and the Hound - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThis fearsome-looking beast is the Massereene Wolfhound, and he was a handy pooch to have around back in the days when wolves still roamed free on the island of Ireland. In life, the hound saved Lady Marion Clotworthy when she was cornered by a pack of wolves on the shores of Antrim Bay. And having got a taste for heroics, he subsequently alerted the castle’s residents to an advancing party of human attackers, allowing them to mount defences and save themselves and their home.

His stone counterpart, seen here with the Beasties, dates back to the early 17th century, and for nearly 300 years he kept watch from the castle battlements. Unfortunately, his talents didn’t extend to protecting the building from fire, and the old castle burned down in 1922.

But you can still trace its outline in the granite-paved paths that wind through the gardens.

“Do we have time to walk the old castle walls, Paddy?”

“Eeek! No – our lift is leaving! RUN!!”

Looks like we’re on the road again. And where is this rather beautiful place? It looks exactly like Plunkett’s kinda town.
Plunkett at the Bushmills Mill - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Aaaah, lovely. Welcome to Bushmills, Beastie friends!”

You can understand why it’s called Bushmills. This small town used to have 11 waterpowered mills working away along the riverbanks! Today, only this one is left. Bonner Mill has been here since the early 19th century – although the building in the picture, with its cheerful red door, only dates back to about 1850. It’s now a private house, but Bonner Mill did actually keep working up until the 1950s.

So, that’s the mills taken care of… And Paddy’s found the origins of the other half of the town’s name.
River Bush, Bushmills - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThat’d be the River Bush, supposedly one of the best salmon fishing rivers in Ireland.

“Hang on, Plunkett! I’ll see if I can catch us some lunch!”

Well, you could… Or you could just head over to the Bushmills Inn.
Bushmills Inn - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesIt’s one of over 80 listed buildings in the town, although I reckon the boys’ interests are more gastronomic than architectural. They tell me it does a very good Sunday carvery lunch, and then there’s that very tempting garden.

Time for a nice refreshing Beastie beer in the sunshine? I think so!

And then… Let’s round off our visit with a trip to the oldest distillery in the world.
Old Bushmills Distillery - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThe Old Bushmills Distillery opened its doors in 1608 – I’m sure they’ve made a whole lot of whiskey in that time!

Clearly the boys were very excited about seeing it, because they could barely stand still for the camera.
Paddy & Plunkett Old Bushmills Distillery - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesFortunately, they didn’t consume too many free samples, and they were able to round off their day with a nice stroll along Castlerock Beach. Just as well, because this is a big beach! You can’t tell as you approach it over the dunes…
Paddy and Plunkett at Castlerock Beach - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties… But it’s really huge!
Beach Time! H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesAntrim’s north coast is famous for its beautiful sandy beaches, and like Downhill Beach…

Which we visited a couple of years ago!”
Beach Beasties Frame 3 - CrawCrafts Beasties… Humans can bring their cars right down onto the sand.

However you get there, it’s still a great place to enjoy a sunset.
Sunset at Castlerock Beach - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd that unusual little building on the headland? That’s Mussenden Temple, a private library built by the 4th Earl of Bristol in memory of his cousin. Am I the only one would would LOVE a private library with a view like this?

But that’s more than enough monster activity for one day. I think the boys are “bushed” after their day in and around Bushmills!
Paddy & Plunkett Say Goodnight - Bushmills - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesNight night, lads!

P&P at Antrim Castle - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

Paddy and Plunkett – Escape to Antrim!

It’s been a while since we heard from the boys, hasn’t it? But don’t worry, they’ve just been getting away from it all (locally) again! Now they’re back and ready to share their latest adventure – in Antrim!

Ireland Showing Antrim
Map borrowed from Wikipedia

Of course, at first they didn’t know they were going to Antrim. When Beasties travel, the luck of the draw prevails! This is how they planned their trip.
Paddy and Plunkett plan a trip - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Look, Plunkett! I think there might be another staycation in the pipeline. Shall we?”
“Hmmm… Maybe. Where are they going, do you think?”
“Does it matter? Come on!”

Ever the opportunist, Paddy knows exactly where the best seats in the house are.
Getting Away From it All - Antrim - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“If we climb into the knitting bag, we’ll get to travel in the car, not the boot. Then we can look out the window all the way to our destination… Wherever that might be!”

However, Plunkett needs a little more convincing.
“Are you sure that’s a good idea, Paddy? That bag says ‘Colditz’ on it. Do you not remember the film we watched last Wednesday?”
“Ahhhh, it’ll be grand. Hop in!”

Well, he makes a compelling argument.
Destination - Colditz? H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“If we end up in an escape-proof prisoner of war camp, Paddy, I’m holding you responsible!”

It looks like young Paddy might have made the right call, though.
Travelling in Style - Paddy and Plunkett in Antrim - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“There! What did I tell you? Floor-to-ceiling windows, soft carpeting under our paws… And the humans will never spot us back here!”

But when the car stops…
A Castle - Antrim - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“… Is this a castle?”

Well yes, it is. But fortunately, it’s Antrim Castle – not Colditz.
We're at Antrim Castle! H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesYou wouldn’t mind being locked in here though. Look at these beautiful gardens!
Antrim Castle Gardens - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThe locals seem friendly too… And it looks like there might be a happy event in the not-too-distant future!
Scarecrow Family at Antrim Castle - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesHuh. I always wondered where new scarecrows came from – I guess we know now!

More from the boys next week. In the meantime, stay safe wherever you are!


I should probably mention that the lads took this trip before the latest round of coronavirus-inspired restrictions came into effect on both sides of the Irish border! If you find yourself in a similarly Covid-ey place, please let the Beasties do your travelling for you, and enjoy their adventures from the comfort of your own couch 🙂

Cliff Climbs and Fun Times

It’s been a while since Explorer Beastie got out anywhere, hasn’t it? So, when we were offered the chance to get away for a day and see The Gobbins Cliff Path in beautiful Co. Antrim, we were both pretty excited! We’d heard a lot about this place from other people… and from other Beasties, too. BeastieBlog long-timers might remember Paddy and Plunkett paying the place a visit in its early days, back in 2015! The path has recently reopened after being closed for repairs and upgrades for a lot of last year, and we were champing at the bit to see this unusual attraction for ourselves.

But first – safety! Even adventurous Explorer Beastie was a tad unsettled when he read this…
Safety First! CrawCrafts Beasties
“Arduous?! I thought this was supposed to be fun!”
But a quick look around the exhibition perked him up again…
In the Gobbins Visitor Centre - CrawCrafts Beasties
…Especially when he found this part of the original walk named after a certain tangerine-hued world leader!
Trump Cave - CrawCrafts BeastiesGood spooky picture, too! So, it wasn’t long before Explorer Beastie was back to his usual carefree self.
No Climbing, Explorer Beastie! CrawCrafts Beasties
But let’s get on with the main event, shall we? We met our guide and hopped into the minibus, which brought us to the beginning of the trail. We were really lucky with the weather, and as we headed down towards the shore, it was so clear that we were able to see Scotland in the distance. Closer to home, we caught a glimpse of the Copeland Islands, which are just off the coast of Co. Down. Can you see them? They’re the three dark grey lines on the horizon in this photo:
The View From the Top - CrawCrafts Beasties
I spent some happy summer days there when I was younger… but what I didn’t know is that they were the inspiration for Laputa, the floating island in Gulliver’s Travels! Thanks to a trick of the light, it often looks like they’re hovering slightly above the surface of the sea.

Before beginning the cliff walk itself, we were able to take advantage of one of the newest additions to the Gobbins – a viewing platform that looks out over the sea, and gives you a bird’s-eye view of the starting point. It was amazing… but don’t look down!
At the Gobbins Viewing Platform - CrawCrafts Beasties
As we approached the entrance, we walked past hedgerows and cliffsides just bursting with beautiful wild flowers. This place isn’t merely a novelty attraction – it’s also an area of special scientific interest, with a huge variety of resident flora and fauna.
Cliffside Meadows at the Gobbins - CrawCrafts Beasties
And look, here we are at the entrance!
At Wise's Eye, The Gobbins - CrawCrafts Beasties
This is Wise’s Eye, the gateway to the Gobbins. The gap in the rock behind me was the official entrance back in the walkway’s turn-of-the-century heyday, and I would have had to pay sixpence to get inside! It’s named after Berkeley Deane Wise, the man who designed and created the pathway. He was an Irish railway engineer who, in order to get people to make better use of the rail networks, created numerous attractions and resorts around Co. Antrim that they would want to visit. The Gobbins Path was the most ambitious of these – a series of bridges, steps and tunnels cut out of the cliff face itself. Cut out by hand, I should probably add – which is perhaps why Wise’s Eye is so narrow!

One of the features that appealed to the first tourists to visit this area was the “unusual landforms” along this stretch of coast… Like this stony face that greets you as you round the corner from Wise’s Eye! Can you see it?
The Face in the Cliffs - CrawCrafts Beasties
Although most of the original pathways are actually still in use today, the bridges that were here when the Gobbins first opened all needed to be replaced. The new bridges have been designed to withstand the worst that the local climate can throw at them, and weather in such a way that they’ll gradually blend in with the landscape.
The Bridges at the Gobbins - CrawCrafts Beasties
Further along, the high cliff walls separate you from the rest of the land, so you feel completely surrounded by the smell and sound of the sea.
Between the Cliffs and the Sea - CrawCrafts Beasties
The water looks quite inviting, doesn’t it?

Another cool thing about this area is its geology. Here, we’re not so far from the world-famous Giant’s Causeway, and you can actually see similar (but smaller and less regular) columns of basalt rock in the cliffs!
Gobbins Geology - CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd what’s Explorer Beastie looking at so intensely in the second picture? Well, he’s trying to find Gobbinsite, a mineral that was discovered right here in this very area. Deposits have subsquently popped up all over the globe, but it still retains the name of the place where it was seen first. What someone should probably tell Explorer Beastie is that Gobbinsite is one of a group of minerals that all look very similar, and can only be differentiated by looking at the crystals under a microscope… But the promise of poking around some Beastie-sized caves should probably distract him nicely from that small technicality!
Beastie-Sized Caves - CrawCrafts Beasties
There are human-size caves here as well, although we weren’t able to access them this time around. Apparently they were once used by smugglers, and I read that they were a popular destination for picnics and tea parties back in the day too!
The Old Path and Sandy Cave - CrawCrafts BeastiesIn the picture on the top right, you can also see the remains of part of the old path, which hugged the cliff line much more closely than the current one. But the most striking part of the walk is just around the next corner – the impressive Tubular Bridge!
Walking the Tubular Bridge - CrawCrafts Beasties
This is a reconstruction of the bridge that occupied this stretch of the original walk, and which quickly became the trademark of the Gobbins path. The updated version is twice as wide as its predecessor, but thanks to the fact that it’s made from stainless steel rather than wrought iron, it actually weighs less… And it no longer needs to be repainted every winter to protect it from the elements!

Unfortunately, ongoing maintenance works meant that the Tubular Bridge marked journey’s end for us this time around. Perhaps just as well, since a certain little woolly monster was starting to fall behind the rest of the tour group…
Getting Tired - CrawCrafts Beasties
Still, when you’re so small, it’s easy to hitch a ride home. And that leaves you perfectly refreshed to pose cheerfully with the sign on the way out…
Posing with the Sign - CrawCrafts Beasties
… And play on the beach for the rest of the afternoon!
On the Beach - CrawCrafts Beasties
We had such a great time exploring The Gobbins last week, and Mark, our guide, was friendly and super-knowledgeable! There are only a few days left in the current tour season, but the full path is due to reopen in the Spring, so be sure to book your tickets if you’re heading to this part of the world! Oh, and Game of Thrones fans will probably be interested to learn that the bus trip back to the centre takes you within Jon-Snow-stalking distance of Castle Black… Just sayin’!

Has anyone else headed to the Gobbins this summer? What did you think? Let us know in the comments! And we’ll have more monster fun for you next Tuesday, so we’ll see you then!

Paddy leads the way - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

Paddy and Plunkett – The Boys in Green!

Hello from Gleno!
Paddy and Plunkett head North to Gleno! H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
Last week, I promised you greenery galore, in celebration of the lush, verdant delights of the Irish summer!

Our summer here is, well, a little temperamental. On any given day, you could head out with an umbrella, a woolly jumper and sunglasses, and odds are you’ll have the chance to use all of them before you get back home. The upside of this is that, unless something really weird (like a fortnight of hot, dry weather) happens, the countryside is awash with greens all summer long. But don’t take my word for it! Paddy and Plunkett – who themselves sport rather fetching moss-coloured complexions – have gone to the ends of the earth the island to bring you some quality leafy goodness today!

They’re starting out in the pretty little village of Gleno (sometimes written as Glenoe) in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Although the glen and waterfall at Gleno lie a little south of the bigger, more famous Glens of Antrim,  they’re really beautiful, especially at this time of year – plus they’re a bit removed from the crowds of visitors who head to the Causeway Coast during tourist season! But before we head off for a look, let’s check out those houses, which are also pleasantly in keeping with our chosen colour palette!
Cottages at Gleno - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
The street here is pretty steep, but the houses work with it…
Gleno Cottages Climbing the Hill - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
…And the boys even got to meet this very chilled-out local resident as they puffed their way up the hill!
Meeting the Locals at Gleno - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
Oh, and just in case you thought this place was a folk park or film set…
Gleno - A Real Place! H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
Nope! Just a regular street full of regular cars!

But let’s press on to the Glen, shall we? The boys were pretty excited to visit the waterfall… Especially Paddy, who had seen this sign on the way up!
Paddy wants to climb the waterfall - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
For those of you reading this on a teeny phone screen, he’s spotted an ad for a canyoning tour of the glen with Climb NI. Paddy is, of course, sold.
“Plunkett! PLUUUUUUNKEEEEEETT! We can climb on the waterfall!”

Unfortunately, I’d need to kit the lads out with the proper gear before they’ll be allowed to dive into this particular adventure. So paws stayed dry this time around – did anyone else just hear Plunkett heave an audible sigh of relief? And although he really would rather have been scrabbling over mossy rocks to reach the top (or imitating his favourite shampoo commercials in the plunge pool at the bottom), Paddy was still pretty happy with a view of the waterfall from further back.
The Lads at Gleno Waterfall - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
It’s also worth taking a closer look at the water in this river…
Peaty Water! H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
Yes, it’s brown! This is a common enough sight in Co. Antrim, thanks to runoff from peat bogs in the mountains upstream. But the colour had Plunkett thinking about stopping for a nice cup of tea. Quick, distract him with…
The Sideways Beech Tree - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
… A tree growing sideways!

This beech tree took a tumble many years ago, but it’s still alive and thriving… Albeit from a horizontal position. And then Paddy made a discovery…
Paddy leads the way - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“You’ll want to see what’s on the other side of this hill, Plunkett!”
He was right… Finding a quaint little church tucked away in the trees a little further along absolutely made Plunkett’s day!
Plunkett and the church in the woods - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThen, on the walk back through the glen, it seemed like even the sunlight was coming through green…
Paddy and Plunkett, among the greenery - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesSee you again soon, lads!Beasties of the Forest! H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
We’ll be back next week with more monster fun! In the meantime, did you see the new-look BeastieBlog yet? If you came here from an email or through the Reader, you can still take a sneaky peek from here! I’d love to know what you think, so don’t be shy – have your say in the comments below!

Paddy at Ballintoy Harbour - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

Paddy and Plunkett, Home Again… (Almost!)

It’s been quite a summer for Paddy and Plunkett! They’ve spent a glorious couple of months seeing all there is to see in Sussex and Kent, from white cliffs and lighthouses
Paddy and Plunkett Reach Beachy Head - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties… To fantastic castles!
Paddy, Plunkett and Dover Castle - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesBut it’s hard to get out of the way of travelling once you get started, so after the briefest of stopovers at home, they were back on the road again! This time, their wandering paws took them somewhere a little closer to home…
Paddy at Ballintoy Harbour - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesFirst stop, Ballintoy Harbour! This picturesque little town, situated a bit east of the famous Giant’s Causeway, may not ring a bell with all of you, but fans of “Game of Thrones” may find this place more than a little familiar. Careful, Paddy and Plunkett… You’ve ended up on the Iron Islands! And look, here come some of the locals!
Plunkett and the Iron-Born - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesWell, it turns out that only a couple of them were bona fide Iron-Born… the rest are visitors to the area, taking one of the many “Game of Thrones”-themed tours that have sprung up in the wake of the HBO series’ success. The use of out-of-the-way places in Northern Ireland as locations for Game of Thrones has been a huge lift to tourism in these places… and in the country as a whole. For the first time, people are getting out and exploring the natural beauty of Northern Ireland, rather than focusing on our troubled past… and I reckon that’s something to celebrate!
Game of Thrones Tour - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesHere’s Paddy posing with some of that spectacular coastline, to give you a taster…
Paddy on the North Coast - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties…And check out this amazing natural stone arch!
Paddy with the Stone Arch - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesBack in Ballintoy, Plunkett’s well-publicised love of unusual architecture led him to seek out a local landmark!
Bendhu House, BallintoyThis is Bendhu House, and it was the lifelong project of Newton Penprase, a lecturer from the Belfast College of Art. He started it in 1936, and he continued to add to it over the next few decades, earning the building a reputation locally as “the house that was never finished”. The fact that he taught fine art has really left its mark – each window perfectly frames a view, and apparently Penprase brought his students up here to teach them about composition. He was also responsible for the sculptures you can see on the exterior, which add to its unique look!
Sculptures at Bendhu House - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesPenprase died in 1978, and his house was sold and subsequently fell into disrepair. However, in the early 90s, it was bought by its present owners, who have made it their mission to sympathetically restore this incredible, one-of-a-kind home.

And speaking of home, Paddy and Plunkett are off to put their paws up for a while! I think they’ve earned some down-time, don’t you? Of course, please feel free to share your own weekend plans in the comments – you might just inspire them to start planning their next day away!

So, Where Are Paddy and Plunkett This Week?

Paddy and Plunkett's Mystery Destination! H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
We left them here last week… but what on earth is that in the background?

(If anyone guessed correctly, I’ll be super impressed!)

This unusal-looking bridge is part of the newly revamped and reopened Gobbins Cliff Path, which is about half an hour’s journey outside Belfast, on the County Antrim coast! The original Gobbins path opened in 1902, as the expansion of Northern Ireland’s railways helped to open up parts of the province which had been difficult to reach before. The Gobbins was a genuine old-school tourist attraction, purpose-built by the Chief Engineer of the Belfast and Northern Counties Railway Company to encourage people to visit this part of the country, and to show off the area’s spectacular coastline!
Paddy at The Gobbins Visitor Centre - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

However, the Depression in the 1930s and the growing popularity of cars meant that the railway company could no longer afford to maintain the system of bridges and walkways that made up the path. And when the Second World War broke out, finding people to look after The Gobbins was hardly a priority! It started to fall into disrepair, and a partial reopening of the path in the early 1950s was scuppered by a landfall shortly afterwards. The Gobbins closed in 1954, and was fully abandoned seven years later. Since then, there have been a couple of attempts to reopen the attraction, but nothing came of them… until now! Thanks to a combined effort (and some all-important funds) from the local council, the EU and the Ulster Garden Villages charity, a full restoration started in 2014… And now it’s open for business!

Hey, it looks like the boys are ready to start the tour!
Paddy at the Entrance to The Gobbins - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesHere we go! It was a bit breezy, so they had to hitch a ride with some of the human visitors…
Plunkett at The Gobbins - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesPaddy on one of the Bridges at The Gobbins - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

…But not the whole way! Here’s Plunkett posing with the restored Tubular Bridge, the most distinctive part of the path.

Plunkett at the Tubular Bridge, The Gobbins - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
And again, at Sandy Cave. Apparently, this spot was popular with Victorian picnic parties… and smugglers! My Secret Seven-reading 8-year-old self would have loved this place!
Plunkett at the Sandy Cave, The Gobbins - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
The path carries on for nearly a mile and a half, and includes five bridges and a narrow cave tunnel! Check out some of the highlights…

But even walking on little short Beastie legs, the tour was over all too soon… Time to get the train home, lads!

Paddy and Plunkett wait for the Train - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
We’ll see Paddy and Plunkett again soon, I’m sure… And if you’re in the neighbourhood, why not take a trip to The Gobbins yourself? You can find out more about booking here.

See you next time!