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Giant's Causeway

Travel Guide Europe United Kingdom Northern Ireland Giant's Causeway

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Introduction

Giants Causeway

Giants Causeway

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The Giant's Causeway and Causeway coast is the only site in Northern Ireland placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List and is one of the main highlights of the country.

The scenery around the Giant's Causeway and on the North Antrim coast can indeed be classed as some of the most majestic that you are likely to find anywhere in the world. There are not just awe inspiring cliffs sweeping down to coves and bays but also the relics of ruins such as that of Dunluce Castle (which is indeed another site to be visited in its own right). Tiny harbour and fishing villages show that the area was indeed reliant on the coast as a form of income and food - Port Ballintray and Ballintoy being two fine examples.

Whilst the coast line is indeed majestic - it was also dangerous, many ships floundered and indeed fell battered and destroyed against these coast lines. The most infamous being the Girona from The Spanish Armada - where many Spaniards lost their lives back in October 1588.

Visitors pour to the Antrim coastline to wander around and over the basalt columns of which there are an estimated 40 000. The National Trust now looks after the location and runs a visitor centre at the site.

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History and Folklore

The basalt columns occurred from lava outflows dating back some 62-65 million years ago. The hexagonal patterns seemingly were formed due to the accelerated cooling when the lava comes into immediate contact with water

Local folklore has another story though as to how the causeway was formed in the the story of Finn McCool - McCool a warrior and giant was supposedly going about his daily chores when his Scottish adversary Benandonner started shouting personal insults at our Finn. Finn - Irish and so fiery tempered - immediately lifted a clump of earth and threw it at the Scot challenging him. Another rock was fired over from Scotland with a threat that if they met McCool would never fight again but unfortunately Benandonner couldn't swim the channel to carry out his threat!

Giant's Causeway

Giant's Causeway

© All Rights Reserved Hien

Finn took umbrage at this, tore down 2 cliffs and began work on a causeway to get across to Scotland. Once finished he called on his enemy to carry out his threat. Obviously male pride and land was at stake here so the Scottish Giant had no choice but to head over and carry out his threat. McCool however was shattered. He had been up all week building the causeway and had no sleep, so he came up with a quick plan to buy himself more time. He disguised himself as a large baby in a cot and waited.

Benandonner turned up as expected shouting for the coward McCool to show himself. Mrs McCool came out and said she didn't know where her hubby was, but invited the Scot to sit and have some tea and scones (which she had baked in stones). Benandonner broke his teeth on these scones - but was impressed Finn McCool must be hard to eat scones like this! But he continued eating and breaking teeth not wanting to show himself up!

He then saw the baby sleeping - a huge Giant baby and he couldn't believe his eyes - if the baby was this huge what size was his father!? He reached out to touch the sleeping baby - who was Finn - and had the tip of his finger bitten off! Again a shocked Benandonner felt if a babe could do this what would his father do when he turned up! Out of fear for his life he took to his heels and ran all the way back to Scotland - breaking up the causeway as he ran - never to return!

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Opening Hours

The Giant's Causeway is not an enclosed area, and thus there are no opening and closing times.

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Cost

Organ Pipes at Giant's Causeway

Organ Pipes at Giant's Causeway

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Free admission.
The local council charges a nominal fee for parking at the site.

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Getting There

By Train

The Giant's Causeway & Bushmills Railway operates a 3.2-kilometre (2 miles) long narrow gauge heritage railway between Bushmills and Giant's Causeway.

By Car

Giant's Causeway is located at Causeway Road (B146), 3.2 kilometres (2 miles) northeast of Bushmills in County Antrim.

By Bus

  • Ulsterbus Route 252 (Belfast - Giant's Causeway)

For time tables and other routes, use the Translink Journey Planner.

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Sleep

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This is version 11. Last edited at 13:29 on Aug 5, 13 by Utrecht. 4 articles link to this page.

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