Seven Mazda MX-5’s have been on a 5 day mini tour of Northern Ireland in June this year. Some of these cars are customers of ours, so it’s been exciting to see what they and their owners have been enjoying.The mix of cars included a year 2000 Mk2 Icon, a MK3 Sport Black (in Spirited green), a MK3 2.0L Sport, a MK3 25th Anniversary edition, a MK4 30th Anniversary edition, a Mk4 GT Sport Nav plus and a MK4 Recaro.
The tour began after taking the overnight ferry from Liverpool to Belfast. With fine weather and tops down, the cars took the scenic Causeway Coastal Route north from Belfast along the eastern shore of Co Antrim. This road is very picturesque with views of the Antrim glens and sleepy seaside villages. The first main stop was Glenarm castle where the cars were displayed while owners enjoyed the RHS walled gardens.
The day continued with stops in Carnlough harbour (a Game of Thrones location) and Cushendun beach for a walk and paddle in the sea. This was followed by taking the Torr Head road to Ballycastle. This road offers opportunity to experience the full range of an MX-5’s character and capabilities. Torr Head is the closest point to Scotland: The Mull of Kintyre is only 13 miles away and the islands of Islay and Jura (approx. 35 miles) were also clearly visible in the bright sunshine.
The second day began with brilliant sunshine and more of the Causeway Costal route to the Giants Causeway via Ballintoy harbour (another Games of Thrones location). The Causeway is a World Heritage site, where 40,000 five, six or seven-sided Basalt crystal stones appear to form a causeway out to sea. The cars were again displayed and drew lots of attention and pictures from hundreds of tourists visiting the causeway.
Highlights of the third day included visiting Gortmore viewing point where stunning vistas of Lough Foyle, Co Donegal and the North coast of Northern Ireland were seen. Another Game of Thrones location (the Dark Hedges) was visited before travelling via excellent B roads and motorways to Belfast and Newtownards.
The fourth day allowed drivers and passengers to enjoy the sights of Belfast without cars. Locations visited included The Titanic exhibition, The City Hall, The Crown Liquor Saloon (one of the oldest Belfast pubs) and of course shops.
Day five began with dark clouds and threatening rain. Undeterred, the cars set off from Newtownards towards Portaferry along the shoreline of Strangford lough. This picturesque road offers stunning views of the lough with the Mourne mountains in the distance. After visiting the Exploris Aquarium the cars boarded the Strangford lough ferry to the village to Strangford. From there the cars drove via the coast road to Castlewellan Castle. Here the cars were photographed in the castle grounds.
Next the cars took the High Mournes Scenic Route to view the mountains up close along excellent MX-5 suitable roads. Unfortunately, the weather closed in, so views were shrouded in mist and merk. However once back down at sea level the sun came out and the stormy wet weather had passed. To celebrate drivers and passengers stopped in Newcastle to enjoy Italian ice-cream before continuing on to a final stop before returning Belfast port to board the overnight ferry to Liverpool.
The final stop took the cars across a causeway onto Sketrrick Island and the ‘Daft Eddies’ restaurant. The cars were pictured against Sketrick Castle before enjoying an evening meal. The last leg of the tour took the cars past the gates of the Stormont Estate in Belfast and on to the ferry terminal.
The tour was a fantastic success, with drivers and passengers satisfied with their car’s performance and the brilliant roads and views available in the land of Saints and Scholars. All have said they will return soon for more memorable driving experiences.