We all love a good story, and the tale of the Giant’s Causeway is pure Irish blarney that will delight your friends back home after a trip to Ireland.
Romantically alluring and scientifically challenging, this natural attraction is where thousands of near-perfect hexagonal rocks rise from the sea and connect in a honeycomb of blackened footsteps to form a puzzling pavement on the rugged north coast of County Antrim. UNESCO designated it a World Heritage Site – little wonder given its fascinating 60-million-year history – while in Ireland it’s known simply as the 8th Wonder of the World.
Giants or Science?
Nature is ultimately responsible for this collection of basalt pillars, but it’s the tale of the Irish giant, Finn McCool that the locals love to tell. The stones reach across the wind-blasted Irish Sea for the coastline of Scotland and – according to legend – it was McCool who laid them as a bridge to face up to his Scottish rival, the ferocious Benandonner. It was not his best idea. For when McCool saw how massive Benandonner was, he turned on his heels and beat a retreat as fast as a giant can. It was only the quick wit of his wife that saved him, when she disguised him as a baby.
Tall tales of terrified giants add colour, but the science is no less impressive. The spectacular rock formation was born when Northern Ireland was subject to powerful volcanic activity. The earth rumbled and roared, and molten basalt blasted onto chalk beds to form a lava plateau that contracted and cracked as it cooled. The miracle Mother Nature created is the 40,000 hexagonal columns you see today, rising up to 36 feet tall like a stepping-stone puzzle designed by Goliath.
Beyond the Causeway
Now kissed by soft yellow lichen and dotted with tufted carpets of sea pinks and other wildflowers, the spectacular landscape is filled with the sweet scent of wild thyme. While the epic rocks are the star attraction of the Causeway Coastal Route, there’s plenty more for you to see and do beyond this fabled handiwork of giants.
You can look for seabirds and peregrine falcons swooping for prey; brave the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge where sharks bask and porpoises play; or experience the craic of an Irish pub as you wait patiently for a perfect pint of Guinness to be drawn. If whisky is more your tipple of choice, then warm up with a glass or two of pale gold Bushmills, produced at the oldest licensed distillery in the world. It’s a fitting place to take in some more of that Irish blarney.
To gather more stories on coastal walks and explore the historic castles and cities of Ireland, get in touch with Caroline today so that she can turn your dream trip into a reality. Call 1300 767 237 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.