The Giants Causeway
The Giant’s Causeway is a geological phenomenon and Northern Ireland’s premier natural tourist attraction. Made up of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns legend has it that it was created by Giants, hence its name. The story goes that Irish giant Finn MacCool was challenged by Scottish Giant Benandonner to a fight. Finn accepted the challenge and decided to build a causeway across to Scotland. Finn quickly realises that Benandonner was much bigger than he expected so he runs home where his wife disguises him as a baby. Benandonner sees the size of the ‘‘baby’’ and is terrified by how big the father must be so he legs it and destroys the causeway as he leaves to make sure nobody can follow him.
If you are a bit more of a realist and don’t buy that story don’t worry I also have a scientific explanation. 50 – 60 million years ago the area was experiencing intense volcanic activity and this forced tectonic plates to stretch and break, spewing magma up from below the earth and onto the surface as lava. As soon as it hit the surface it began to cool rapidly and this caused a hardened crust to form on top of the lava however the lava below still took many years to cool. While the temperature falls the lava dries out and the drying causes solidifying lava to crack and form the pillars. The size of each pillar is related to the speed at which it cools so the larger the pillars the longer it took to cool. The Giants Causeway is situated on the beautiful Antrim coast and the visitors centre provides a bus from the visitors centre down to the Causeway. A much more scenic way to get down however is to take the coastal walk from the Causeway to Carrick-a-Reade Rope Bridge. You can walk a small part of this route to descend down along the cliffs onto the Causeway. Taking this route also provides an eagle eye view of the area and on a clear day you can see Donegal on Ireland’s North Western coast.
Some structures in the area have been subjected to millions of years of weathering and now resemble objects such as The Giant’s Boot which resembles; you guessed it, a Giant’s boot. The visitors centre features an interactive exhibition that shows how the causeway was formed along with local food, gifts and audio guides.
Join Our Giants Causeway tour