Northern Ireland's Giant’s Causeway, IMG Cred: Chris Osburn

The Giant’s Causeway


The only UNESCO World Heritage site in Northern Ireland, the Giant’s Causeway is a massive rock formation made up of tens of thousands of eerily shaped basalt columns jutting dramatically out from the sea.

The fascinating and otherworldly rock formation is the result of a volcanic eruption that happened about 60 million years ago.

But, the Causeway’s bizarrely shaped columns seem too purposely aesthetic and designed to just be the stuff of natural causes – no matter how extraordinary. So, shrouded in myth and legend … and being situated in the storytelling land of the Emerald Isle, the origin of Giant’s Causeway has be the subject of much supernaturally inspired discussion. The reigning “theory” of how the Causeway got there is that a mighty giant named Finn McCool, tore pieces off a nearby cliff and tossed them into the sea trying to form a bridge that reached Scotland.

There are a few versions of this theory; one tells that McCool built his causeway in order to fight his enemy, another giant named Benandonner. When McCool reached halfway of the causeway, he fell asleep and his wife Oonag covered him with a blanket to pretend he was their son when Benandonner came out looking for him at the causeway. Another version suggests that Finn was terrified and fled when he realized Benandonner was much bigger than him. He then asked his wife to wrap him using a blanket. When Benandonner saw the size of the baby, he got terrified and ran back to Scotland, tearing the cause way as he ran along to prevent McCool from following.

The Giant’s Causeway has been drawing head-scratching and jaw-dropped visitors for centuries and is still the number one attraction in Northern Ireland today. And the site has never been as accessible as it is today.

When you visit the Giant’s Causeway, your first stop is the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Center complex. Here you can learn more about the Causeway’s myths and legends and its geography. Just opened this summer, a new eco and carbon footprint-friendly centre is located along the Causeway Coastal Route. Mostly underground with an accessible grass roof which blends seamlessly into the environment, the centre offers stunning views as well as a range of activities and information about the area. From the centre, you can either choose to walk along the paved road leading to the Causeway for a leisurely hike through the rock formations or to take the path through the cliffs where you can enjoy the amazing panoramic view of this scenic wonderland. There are tourist “trains” as well for visitors preferring not to walk.

More details about visiting the Giant’s Causeway are available at a dedicated National Trust webpage.

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photo: Chris Osburn

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