Giant’s Causeway: an area of over 38,000 interlocking basalt columns
The Giant’s Causeway is Northern Ireland’s main attraction. Over 38,000 hexagonal basalt columns protrude from the windswept sea. The Giant’s Causeway is undoubtedly the most remarkable assemblage of basaltic columns known to exist and the most attractive object around the entire seaboard of Northern Ireland. It was formed sixty million years ago when volcanic activity caused the earlier chalk landscape to be covered by layers of lava. This surface began to weather, creating a layer of soil which now shows as a red seam. Another layer of lava came on top which lost its heat slowly and evenly, creating regular cracks like drying mud, and crackling vertically too, to produce polygonal columns that now look so strange and man-made.
Visitors who expect the Giant’s Causeway to be gigantic are sometimes a little disappointed because, in reality, it is walkable for many miles as footpaths.
The Giant in question is Finn McCool (Fionn MacCumhaill) and legend says that the 38,000 or so enormous hexagonal basalt columns are his handiwork. Finn McCool built the Causeway to walk his way to Scotland in order to reach his enemy, a fierce Scottish giant called Benandonner who lived on an island just off the Scottish coast.
In many places, the organ-pipe like rock formations provide a wonderful continuous accompaniment.
It is good to know that not more than two miles from the Causeway is the town of Bushmills, world-famous for its distinctive and distinguished distillation.
The Giant’s Causeway and Visitor Centre is located on the B147 Causeway road. It is 2 miles from Bushmills village, 11 miles from Coleraine and 13 miles from Ballycastle. Onsite parking is reserved for visitors admitted through the Visitor Centre.