It seems like I brought some of Ireland home with me. 24 hours after landing at LAX, it’s raining like crazy here in Los Angeles, which is making the transition from a nice, damp climate to an arid desert easier to make.

I got damp during the taking of these pictures, as there was an occasional spray of water as we boarded a bus for County Antrim, home of the Giant’s Causeway. I’ll write more about the Causeway (which coincidentally makes an appearance in Hellboy II, the other film set I was visiting in Europe) when I get to my text pieces about the trip, but be warned that my crappy point and shoot photos in no way captures the beauty of this place. Not only is the Causeway set in a dramatic Irish coastline, it’s made up of astounding rock formations, including a series of hexagonal columns that lead from the base of a cliff out to the ocean. You may recognize this formation from the cover of Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy album; the day I was there we saw fewer naked children than Zep did. If you want to really see the Causeway at its best, and to see what made this part of the trip among the highlights of my life, do a Google Image search.

The next set of photos takes me to Dublin, where I took a zillion pictures of touristy things. After that, Budapest, the least documented portion of the trip, since I spent most of it on a mindblowing movie set… that was built inside a cave.

Pictures Part 1
Pictures Part 2

A view of the rocks leading out to the sea. I took this standing on a giant hill of hexagonal columns, where I was constantly buffeted by the wind and in fear for my life.

The black beach in front, with more Causeway stones on the hillside. For a sense of scale, the white dots on the green just below where the stone starts are people taking a hike.

One of the many rock formation at the Causeway. This is The Chimney; I didn’t get to make it up there, so here’s yet another item for my next Ireland itinerary.

The basalt stones of the Causeway.

Another rock formation, The Wishing Chair. It’s important to note that none of these rocks on the ground are loose – they’re all the tops of massive columns of cooled lava.

One happy fat bastard. And without a beer, even!

Me with a Houses of the Holy extra. In the background is the cliff overlooking the Causeway; you can opt to go down to the shore or up to the top and see the whole panorama. Time was tight, and I think we made the right choice going down to the shore.

I was trying to get my picture taken in this gate, which was hewn from the rocks of the Causeway and looked very Lord of the Rings, when this woman decided she wanted in the picture. ‘Hello from Holland!’ she yelled. As you can see, I loled.

Journalists and publicists, united by the beauty of the Causeway!

We ate dinner at the Bushmill’s Distillery Inn, which is in the lovely little town of Bushmill. Every small Irish town and village I saw filled me with an urge to move there as soon as possible. And even the smallest ones seemed to have three or four pubs.

After the Causeway we headed back to Belfast along the coast. On the way we saw this sight – the white dot in the center of that island is the real home of a fisherman, which is connected to the mainland by a rope bridge on the left. As someone on the trip said, ‘This guy really wants to be left alone.’

See that dark thing in the middle of the fog, right where it meets the sea? Yeah, that’s Scotland, as seen from the Irish coast.

The Irish countryside offered one remarkable vista after another.

The journalists, minus some lambs who stayed behind. On the right is Mark, our bus driver, who gave us incredible tours and bits of history. We loved him!