Giant Causeway Granite polygonal columns

The Giant Causeway, a world heritage site

The Giant’s Causeway is a rock deposit on the Antrim coast of Northern Ireland just outside of Bushmills and consists of roughly 40,000 basalt columns extending out to the sea. It is undoubtedly one of the best-known landmarks in Northern Ireland and a recognised World Heritage Site.  The Giant’s Causeway is the most famous tourist attraction in Northern Ireland. It is best visited when doing the walking tour of Walking Holiday Ireland.

Hiking the Causeway Coast

When hiking the causeway coast from Ballintoy and the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge the Giant Causeway is an fantastic sight to behold from the Cliff’s above. Although it is not necessary to pay for access to the causeway itself, it is worth coming back for a tour as the guides are very knowledgeable and able to tell you about the geology and mythology as well as the many other interesting sites to see surrounding the causeway itself.

Duncluce Castle on the Giant Causeway Coastal Route
Dunluce Castle on the Causeway coast hiking trail

The Legend of Fionn mac Cumhail and the Giant’s Causeway

The most famous mythical legend about the creation of the Giant’s Causeway is that of Finn McCool (Fionn mac Cumhail), an Irish Giant who lived on the Antrim headland. Finn got into an argument with the giant Benadonnar who lived across the channel in Scotland.

Finn got angry and started to build a bridge across the sea to confront him. When finally Finn made it across the sea but saw how big Benandonnar was he made a hasty retreat back to Antrim. Benandonnar followed Finn to Ireland, but Finn concealed himself as an infant in a cot.

When Benandonnar came to challenge Finn, his wife, Una said that Finn was away but told him his son was sleeping in the cradle. The Scottish giant became uneasy, for if the son was so enormous, what size would the father be?

In his haste to flee Benandonnar rushed back along the causeway Finn had built, tearing it up as he went. He is assumed to have fled to a cave on Staffa which is to this day named ‘Fingal’s Cave’.

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Giant Causeway hiking trail

How the Giant’s Causeway was formed

It is more likely the Giant’s Causeway is the result of volcanic activity. About 50 to 60 million years ago, a volcanic eruption caused molten basalt to rise and solidify rapidly thus forming the hexagonal columns.

The Giant Causeway Visitors Centre

The new Causeway Visitor Centre opened in July 2012. It has already received well over 300,000 visitors from over 150 countries, along with awards for its sensitive architecture and sustainability. You will receive a green discount when arriving on foot, bicycle or public transport. The Visitors Centre is open all year round except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. The Giant’s Causeway is accessible every day of the year.

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The Spectaculair Giant Causeway