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Automotive Traveler Magazine: 2012 04 Idling Along The Antrim Coast Page 2

In terms of actual pavement, the Causeway Coastal Route along Northern Ireland's Antrim Coast traverses just 123 miles with a driving time of about three and a half hours--almost identical in length and travel time to the stretch of U.S. 1 known as the Florida Keys Overseas Highway. And while you'd think the similarities between the Emerald Isle and America's Caribbean-style islands would end there, not so. As I learned on my road trip down U.S. 1 to Key West, traveling A-2 along Northern Ireland's Antrim Coast is as much about the journey as the destination.

Included on many lists of the most scenic drives in the world, the Causeway Coastal Route in County Antrim snakes around spectacular coastline dotted by island-studded lakes, sandy beaches, pristine hills, and valleys with countless grazing sheep. Constructed between 1832 and 1842 by civil engineer William Bald, the road was proclaimed a great engineering achievement for its day.

Don't hurry the serpentine drive along the Antrim Coast. Let the sea breeze flow through your open windows, and pause to meet local shopkeepers and citizens in their little villages and friendly pubs. Sure, you can make the trip in an afternoon, but why? Missing the stops is to forego the true nature and beauty of Northern Ireland.

I had the opportunity to travel the Causeway Coastal Route on a recent trip to Northern Ireland, opting to go