On our short trip to Northern Ireland a Visit to the world famous Giants Causeway was on our list of top places to visit this unique geological formation is an interesting and magical place to visit. Steeped in mythology with it’s story of creation linking it to Scotland it’s well worth a visit.
The local legend is that the causeway was built by a giant called Fin MacCool who was challenged to a fight by a Scottish giant called Benandonner so Fin built the causeway across the sea to Scotland so that they could meet but, when Fin sees that Benandonner is much larger than him he runs and hides in a baby’s cradle pretending to be a baby when Benandonner arrives and see’s what he thinks is a huge baby it makes him think that it’s dad (Fin) must be huge so he runs back across the causeway destroying it as he goes to stop Fin from following him.
For those of you that prefer the scientific explanation for it’s formation. Geologists estimate that around 50 to 60 million years ago (roughly) it formed from cooling lava flows, the area had lots of volcanos at the time as it was part of a volcanic plateau called the Thulean Plateau. As the lava cooled it contracted and fractured forming the vast columns we see today of which there is estimated to be around 40,000. They stretch out all the way to Scotland and can be seen on the Isle of Staffa which you can also visit. This would have been part of one great lava flow and there may be more columns hidden in the land.
We prefer the local legend as its a more fun way of looking at it and the kids enjoyed the though of giants having once roamed the area.
All around the area there are many walking tracks with fantastic coastal views. You could easily spend a whole day on all the walking tracks.
You can visit the causeway for free but, access to the visitor centre and parking on site costs if you drive there you won’t find many free parking spots nearby though if you don’t mind a walk you can find a few options further away from the Visitors Centre.
UNESCO declared it a world heritage site back in 1986 in order to preserve this natural wonder.
The visitor centre is worth a visit and is handy when the weather changes on you, inside you’ll find many interactive exhibitions that keep the kids amused and they play a film on a large screen that tells you about the area, along with a good size cafe (which was packed when we went) and gift shop. Each year around one million people visit the site so paying to visit helps them to maintain the area and keep it open for others.
We used our National Trust memberships which got us in to the visitors centre for free as well as parking and an audio guide but, if you are visiting from outside the UK and planning to visit more than one of the National Trust sites it may be worthwhile getting a 7 or 14 day touring membership which allows you to visit over 300 of their properties, though you should check which ones are excluded before buying as a few of them are.
Current details and pricing can be found at the link below