Giants Causeway


History  

Hexagonal basalt columns like here at the 'Giants Causeway' are found also in South Africa, Australia, USA and Iceland. There is a lack of a real explanation but a very value hypothesis is that 60 million years ago there were formed. They do have a larger upper part than the basis and they are here lightly curved - the same way like the once on the Scottish side but without any connection between both. After the eruption  the upper and the lower part started to cool while in the middle it was still hotter and nearly liquid. The columns started to built themselves up slowly exactly this way from below to the top. The cured surface is coming from the new lava posing on the below ones with a certain weight while the one below was still soft. The already cold lava on the top of the below one started to cool the new one from underneath. The cooling water came from a river nearby which was here before and during the eruptions and from which one can see only the basalt river-bed. This is the scientific explanation...

... meanwhile the mythology is very different. The legend tells that here lived the Irish giant Finn MacCool who had a rival on the Scottish coast: Benandonner. For fighting him down Finn MacCool built a bridge to the other side of the sea. But he found Brenandonner sleeping - and much bigger than he ever imagined. So he hurried to go home - on the more secure side of the sea. When Brenandonner learned about the bad intentions of Finn MacCool he was in a big anger. He took himself the bridge to cross over the sea and give a good lection to Finn MacCool. In the meanwhile Finn's clever wife dressed him up with a baby-cap and ordered him into the cradle. When Brenandonner knocked at his rivals door his wife opened. He begged him to to wake up her just born baby-boy.  Brenandonner took a look on the baby and worried: if the baby is already so big, how big is then the father? So Brenandonner took his legs running home and destroying the bridge after his return. Today we only see the remains: the start of the bridge on the Irish side, and the end on the Scottish side (island Staff).

 
 
 
     
   
What to see  

One has to pass the visitor center or go around for taking the road to the 'Giants Causeway'. Here a bus is going fro and to the site which is a good option for who doesn't want to walk the km or the weather is not at its best. In the bus there is a guide who tells a bit about the coastal formations. But attention: he speaks a strong dialect! When leaving the bus at the site there are already the stone formations which are going into the sea and on the right along the coast. On the left one can see the high basalt columns which it's possible to climb up and on the right green free spaces and the flatten hills so typical for Ireland. Here there is a walking way on which one can walk till Benbane Head seeing different basalt formations and of course a beautiful cost. Perfect for hikers!

Walking on the basalt columns it seems nearly impossible that they are natural, they are so perfect in their hexagonal form. A good guide-book with explanations is absolutely necessary to understand this strange wonder in a scientific way - and the myths of course. With sunny weather one can see the Scottish coast.

   
     
   
Arrival  

Arriving to Coleraine - a wide spreading town - take the right where the road-signs say 'Giants Causeway' or Giants Causeway Coast Route'. The first one goes straight to the visitor center, the second over Portrush and Portballintrae along the coast to the 'Giants Causeway'. This way one passes the Dunluce Castle, a mansion of the XVI century of the MacDonnell family, Lords of Antrim since 1620. At the visitor center there is a big parking space (costs: 5.00 Euro cars, 2.00 Euro motorcycles), a Cafeteria, toilets and a shop for souvenirs, books, information etc.

   
     
   
Opening hours   All the year. Good shoes and warm clothes are needed
     
   
Visiting time  

For getting the feeling for this strange place it needs at least half an hour

     
   
Entrance fee   

There is no entrance fee. The small bus bringing the tourist into the bay (ca. 1 km) costs 2.00

     
   
Our opinion  

It is a 'gigantic' place. The formations of the basalt columns are really interesting and seem more to be man worked and then fixed one on another. Sometimes they remind the roman streets in Europe. The place is beautiful with good weather, with rain and cold unfortunately there is no real joy of the coast.

   
     

Giants Causeway - The columns

Giants Causeway - The columns from the upper side

Giants Causeway - The 'bridge'

Giants Causeway - The bay

Giants Causeway - Columns and bridge


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Last updated: 2010 Print out page!

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