Giant’s Causeway is popular attraction in N. Ireland

Giant's CausewayOne of natural wonders of the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Giant’s Causeway, a spectacular area of 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, is Northern Ireland’s most popular tourist attraction.  Situated on the northern coast by the towering cliffs of Antrim, the spires jut up and
out toward the Atlantic Ocean. These geometrically precise columns, some up to 500 feet high, were formed 60 million years ago from a volcanic eruption.Giant's Causeway

The site was first documented in 1693, and realistic sketches were published in 1740.  Visitors marvel at the thousands of hexagonal columns which form stepping stones that disappear downwards into the sea.  My husband Larry and I walked about 15 minutes along a paved path to the giant rocks because we arrived after 6:00 p.m., too late for the last tram which transports visitors to the site. We walked on, around, and among the columns during a chilly, windy day (being careful to watch our footing on the damp rocks), but the weather didn’t dampen our sense
of experiencing a truly unique landscape.

The columns stand on a thick base of medium-grained basalt, in places 300 feet deep.  Soft red rock lies in between layers of volcanic rock formed during a subtropical period, and geologists
still study the area to learn more about the Tertiary period of Earth’s evolution.

The geology and history of the area are important, but the Irish love to share the legend of Giant’s Causeway.  One version says the Ulster hero Finn McCool built the columns as a walk way to Scotland to fight the giant Benandonner. Finn fell asleep and woke to find the Scottish giant coming toward him. His wife disguised Finn as a baby curled up in a huge cradle, and when the
giant saw the “child” he wondered how large the father would be, which scared him away.

The cliff-like edge of the plateau of Giant’s Causeway and the various structures and colors of rock
and soil along the 18-mile Causeway Coast have produced some of the most spectacular scenery I’ve ever seen.
Photos by Beverly Burmeier

Read more travel stories at Going on Adventures and Austin Adventure Travel






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