Northern Ireland is filled with beauty and mystery and is a popular tourist destination. A mythical land where faerie stories seem to come to life, the natural beauty of this land will take your breath away and leave you wanting to visit time and again.
There are many tourist destinations within this glorious land, but a not to be missed natural icon is that of the Giant’s Causeway. Also known as Clochán an Aifir or Clochán na bhFomhórach in Irish, this area shows a massive 40,000 volcanically made interlocking basalt columns. Located on the Northeast coast of Ireland, these perfectly sculpted columns are breath taking to say the least!
Most of these columns are hexagonal in shape (though some have four, five, seven or eight sides) and have been named the fourth greatest natural wonder of the United Kingdom. This World Heritage Site boasts columns up to 12 metres high and form stepping stones along the coast and down into the water.
The Story of the Giant’s Causeway
Stand on these wonders of the natural world and walk in the steps of Finn MacCool and Benandonner – the Irish folklore giants. Finn MacCool, and Irish giant, and Benandonner from Scotland, are said to have yelled at each other across the sea. Enjoying the competition of the Scottish giant, Finn MacCool offered to build a causeway, or path, to join together the two Islands so that Benandonner could visit his fair land. The causeway was back breakingly hard to build and MacCool feel into an exhausted sleep before he could finish.
While MacCool was sleeping, Benandonner (a much larger giant) crossed the causeway to challenge MacCool. Finn’s quick thinking wife quickly wrapped the sleeping MacCool as a wee bairn – a baby – and fooled Benandonner into thinking that the massive baby was an indication that MacCool was much bigger than he! Benandonner quickly escaped backed to Scotland, destroying the causeway in his haste. Today all that remains of the Causeway is to be found on Ireland’s coast.
Tours to the Giant’s Causeway
This site has been a tourist attraction for years, but now there is an added feature that cannot be missed. A brand new visitor’s centre has been created for the Giant’s Causeway tours that regularly stop there. One such tour can be booked through Allen’s Tours which departs daily to the Giant’s Causeway to show people this natural marvel, and many other local sites.
What to Expect on the Tour:
- Glenarm, famous for its abundant salmon fishing and haunted castle
- Carnlough with its picturesque harbour and distinctive rural character
- Cushendall and its 19th century red curfew house.
- Ballycastle the home to the one and only 400 year old ‘Oul Lammas Fair’.
- Carrick a Rede with its death defying rope-bridge (cross at your own risk, Northern Ireland weather permitting additional cost to cross bridge) and stunning views of Rathlin Island.
- Ballintoy – a delightful coastal town.
- Giants Causeway café 30 min lunch stop (lunch not included)
The Visitor Centre
Officially opened in 2012, the new visitors centre was carefully architecturally designed to not harm or impair the landscape of the Giant’s Causeway. Its design was inspired by the giant pillars it was built to advertise, with a sharp modern twist. With breath taking views from its rooftop balcony, and including a delightful café, the visitors centre is a great place to relax and regroup before and after seeing all that the Giant’s Causeway has to offer.
Take in the majesty of creation and marvel at the contribution humans have made in the form of the visitors centre. Blending together in a way that is truly inspiring, the Causeway will give all visitors a taste of the ancient and of the new. It is fantastic to see how well the design of the visitors centre compliments its surroundings.
The trip is definitely worth the time and effort. To stand on rocks that were formed millions of years ago is a humbling and awe-inspiring event. With great deals available through the Tours, it has never been more affordable to see pillars that had stood firm as the rest of the world changed around them. If you are visiting Northern Ireland, make sure you take the time to visit these colossal monuments to time itself. Book your visit the Giant’s Causeway today!