The Giant’s Causeway

This is something that I have been visiting since I could walk, but still enjoy a trip to this beauty every now and then. Situated in County Antrim in Northern Ireland it is a result of a volcanic eruption which formed thousands of basalt columns from Ireland all the way to scotland. Named the fourth natural wonder in the Uk it is definitely worth a visit.

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A drawing from my visit

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If you are going to visit the Giant’s Causeway I would suggest picking a milder day (sometimes limited in Ireland!). I say this as the rocks run all the way down from an impressive cliff edge into the turbulent Irish sea. If you do visit on a rainy/cold day however not to worry, because as well as being very atmospheric there is a bus that runs from the top to bottom. Do remember to wrap up thoroughly though! Can’t stress that enough!

The Legend Behind the Causeway:

According to legend, the columns are the remains of a causeway built by a giant. The story goes that the Irish giant Fionn mac Cumhaill, from Gaelic mythology, was challenged to a fight by the Scottish giant Benandonner. Fionn accepted the challenge and built the causeway across the North Channel so that the two giants could meet. In one version of the story, Fionn defeats Benandonner. In another, Fionn hides from Benandonner when he realises that his foe is much bigger than he. Fionn’s wife, Oonagh, disguises Fionn as a baby and tucks him in a cradle. When Benandonner sees the size of the ‘baby’, he reckons that its father, Fionn, must be a giant among giants. He flees back to Scotland in fright, destroying the causeway behind him so that Fionn could not follow. As mentioned above, there are identical basalt columns across in Scotland  at Fingal’s Cave on the Scottish isle of Staffa, and it is possible that the story was influenced by this.

Giant’s Boot:

This is a rock formation that was apparently the boot lost by Finn as he fled from the wrath of Scottish giant, Benandonner, the boot is reputed to be a size 93.5! No Cinderella’s slipper!

The Wishing Chair:

An essential stop on any visit to the causeway, the Wishing Chair is a natural throne formed from a perfectly arranged set of columns. It has been sat on so often, the basalt stones are shiny, smooth and very comfortable!

 

Shepherd’s Steps:

Made up of 167 steep steps, the Shepherd’s Steps are not for the faint of heart. They are best experienced descending from the Red Trail along the clifftop.

 

Facilities:

Owned by the National Trust, there is a visitor centre that offers a cafe, information centre, shop and toilet facilities. This has been recently refurbished so is much more inviting then the small hut when I was younger!

Nearby Attractions:

Another famous attraction near by is the Bushmills Disterally. A very popular attraction with American tourists, this is the home of the Bushmills whisky. So if you like whisky it is just round the corner!

Even if the distillery isn’t for you then the Town of Bushmills is a quaint and lovely little place to visit. With plenty of pubs, cafes, art galleries, hotels/hostels, etc. it offers the experience all you could expect from a Northern Irish town.

So if you love the outdoors, natural beauty/heritage and history this is worth a visit! Even if not then this is one of the main attractions in Northern Ireland so isn’t something to miss. As a unique formation, yes it may be a bunch of rocks but even after years of visiting it still doesn’t cease to surprise me!

Would love to hear if you get to visit!

Liv x

 

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