White Park Bay, Northern Ireland
Right off the Coastal Causeway route most infamous for the Giant's Causeway, is a beautiful white sandy beach nestled between two headlands on the North Antrim coast forming a white arc in a very secluded location. My first visit was obsessed with ideas of coming back to this spot and settling into the youth hostel that overlooks this bay, and finding solitude to write and write. Even on busy days, this beach is quoted to be spacious and quiet. Backed by ancien dunes providing rich habitats for animal and bird life, it is a piece of hidden paradise. It is managed by the National Trust and donated by the Youth Hostel Association of Northern Ireland in 1938. It is one of North Ireland's most painted and photographed beaches. Can be reached by train service from Belfast or Londonderry to Coleraine. By bus - Ulsterbus #218 from Belfast to Portstewart. By cycle or car via the NCN route 93 that runs past the strand. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.
Bushmills is a small town at the north end of the island of Ireland. It's famous for its old whiskey industry, but it's also the town closest to the Giant's Causeway, one of the most beautiful coastal places I've ever been to. The northern coast of Northern Ireland was formed from lava, and due to specific conditions at the time of formation, many columnar basalt formations appeared. As you can sort of see from the photo, the ground is made up up hexagonal columns of black basalt. It's really fascinating when you look at all these rocks that are in the shape of a perfect hexagon. It's all to do with chemistry and chemical bonds and things like that, but it does look kind of surreal. The columns jut out of the ocean and make for amazing photos.
The rest of the area is set upon high, magical looking bluffs that you can hike up to and walk along. It's a fascinating place to explore as a day trip. On the bus trip there, you will pass an old abandoned castle on the way and below, there is a sandy beach. You can walk to this beach from the Visitor's center by walking down the street a bit and going through some farmers' lands. A nice walk that leads to the less touristy and more secluded beach.
To get there, take the train from Belfast (at Great Victoria Street station in the city center) to Portrush, which is the last stop on the coastal train. The bus station is about 3 blocks away, and you can get the bus there to Giant's Causeway. It's about a 2 hour trip each way from Belfast, but definitely worth the effort.
"Note on Bushmills"
I happened to be reading Rick Steve's travel section of the newspaper today, which was about Northern Ireland and The Troubles. According to him, Bushmills is the mother of all Protestant Union-Jack waving towns in Northern Ireland. I don't really remember it that way, but I didn't spend much time there, choosing to go on to the Causeway instead.