The Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland is a natural phenomenon consisting of 40.000 regularly shaped, black basalt columns, some of them 12 meters high. Situated on the coastline on the edge of the Antrim plateau and the North Atlantic Ocean, the Causeway look at first glance to be man made, forming a pavement of like stepping stones. Local legend has it that a giant by the name of Finn McCool created the stones in order to stride over to Scotland.

Header photo by @StoryTravelers

Giant's Causeway - Photo courtesy of Tourism Ireland
Giant’s Causeway – Photo courtesy of Tourism Ireland

The “discovery”of the causeway in the late 17th century did apparently create a bit of stir. Was this the work of men with chisel and hammer, or indeed of giants? In 1771, a French scientist announced that the phenomenon was the result of volcanic activity some 50-60 million years ago. The polygonal stones were formed by basalt lava cooling rapidly and breaking into neatly interlocking columns with four to eight sides.

Giant's Causeway Visitor Centre - Photo courtesy of Tourism Ireland
Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre – Photo courtesy of Tourism Ireland

The Giant’s Causeway is one of Northern Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions. The Visitor Centre, designed by Heneghan Peng Architects, opened in July 2012. The building is partially hidden in the landscape to reduce the impact on the surrounding scenery.

Giant's Causeway - Photo courtesy of Tourism Ireland, Caspar Diederik @storytravelers
Giant’s Causeway – Photo courtesy of Tourism Ireland, Caspar Diederik @storytravelers

 

World Heritage

A World Heritage site since 1986, the Giant’s Causeway and the Causeway Coast is considered outstanding for its superlative natural phenomenon and beauty, and for representing major stages of earth’s history, including geological processes in the development of land forms.

SOURCES AND CREDITS:
Header photo courtesy of Tourism Ireland/Caspar Diederik @StoryTravelers
National Trust – Giant’s Gauseway
Heneghan Peng Architects
UNESCO