Ever wondered how the Giant’s Causeway came to be? Find out here!
What is the Giant’s Causeway?
The Causeway is located just over 60 miles from Belfast and Happy Ireland HQ in Country Antrim, only a stone’s throw from Bushmills, the Giants Causeway is an area of 40,000 columns formed out of basalt. These columns have occurred as a result of a volcanic fissure eruption many many years ago.
How was the Giant’s Causeway formed?
A volcanic fissure is when a linear crack that sometimes occurs on a volcano. Fissures can be a few meters wide and have the potential to be a few kilometres in length. Due to this lava can flood through this crack and cover the land causing formations just like the Causeway.
As a result of the atmosphere the cooling lava experiences contraction. This causes fracturing, the same way cracks appear in drying mud. Resulting, in the unique hexagonal shape you can see today.
The Legend of Finn McCool
Legend has it that there was no volcanic fissure and that a giant named Finn McCool is the man behind the wonder. If you have ever visited, I’m sure you can agree, that the placement of the columns makes it easy to believe something larger than life had a hand in its creation.
The interlocking bricks were supposedly placed to create a walkway between Northern Ireland and Scotland. So that rivals Fionn Mac Cumhaill (Finn McCool) and the Scottish giant Bennandoner who were notorious for bickering from afar could meet and settle the score. Then one day McCool built the bridge the whole way to cross the sea to challenge Bennandoner to a fight.
He ran across the Causeway from Ireland to Scotland. However, when McCool got closer to Bennandoner he got quite the shock realising he was much larger than first imagined to be. McCool was spotted and followed home across the bridge.
Being a smart man Finn McCool went to his wife for help. Fearing the impending fight he needed her help to come up with a plan, and that she did.
She dressed him as a baby and tossed him in a crib. When Bennandoner saw this giant child, he realised with a baby that big Finn McCool would be far too big to fight and win. So he then hightailed it back to Scotland, destroying the bridge as he goes, leaving only a portion both in the North Coast in Northern Ireland and Scotland’s Inner Hebrides.
Along the trail, there are several nods to this legend. From rocks shaped like marbles to boots, you can submerge yourself into the legend surrounding the Giant’s Causeway.
Top Giant’s Causeway Facts:
- It was voted as the 4th greatest natural wonder in the U.K.
- Some of the Causeways columns go to 39 feet in the air.
- Based on geology, the Giant’s Causeway formed over 50 to 60 million years ago.
The Causeway and Rope Bridge Tour
Not so far from the Causeway brave and firmly footed travellers can cross Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge – something many touring companies combine into a day trip package.
The bridge is swinging at a narrow 66-foot long-span suspended high above the usually choppy Atlantic waters. Connecting Northern Irish mainland with Carrick-a-Rede Island.
The original bridge was built by salmon fishermen over 300 years ago. Now, the bridge is much studier having been rebuilt and managed by the National Trust.
More Things To Do
Although Game of Thrones didn’t film at the Causeway, there are many sights nearby that featured in the hit show here are some of our favourites:
Dunluce Castle – Built in the 1500s the ruins of this castle were used for scenes surrounding the House of Greyjoy.
Built by the MacQuillan family it was seized by the MacDonnell clan in the 1550s the grounds, went on to host the earls of Antrim, a supposed banshee, and now visitors can explore the finding of archaeological digs and learn how the castle kitchens fell into the sea on a stormy night in 1639.
Another near sight is Ballintoy Harbour which you may know as the Iron Islands. This picturesque village is only a 10-minute drive from the Causeway. Visitors can splash in the rocks pools, practice their photography or take in the sights behind one of the biggest TV shows in the last decade.
If you want to learn about those sites further afield, check out our blog post here all about Game of Thrones in Northern Ireland!
Have you been to the Giant’s Causeway and followed in the footsteps of giants? If not, hopefully, this puts the Giant’s Causeway on your map of things to do when the world opens up again!
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