Northern Ireland’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site is Most Fascinating :
The Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located on the north Antrim Coast, an area of outstanding natural beauty. Thousands of visitors come to this part of the north Irish coast just to see these intriguing rock formations which are the result of volcanic eruptions.
Over 60 million years ago the Antrim Coast was subject to intense volcanic activities. Millions of tonnes of molten rock were thrown up and over the course of time, the rapid cooling process and variations in the cooling rate caused the formation of columns, mainly into hexagonal and some octagonal shapes. But what’s bizarre about these basalt formations is the symmetry of the columns.
Some aerial photos that I had seen of the Giant’s Causeway gave the impression of dramatic and steep cliff-like structures plunging from a great height down into the sea. So, before we arrived here, I imagined that we would be standing on top of the cliff and looking down at these unusual stepped columns.
But my impressions were totally wrong – a road leads to the rock formations and when you reach it you can actually walk on the basalt columns. For the more sure-footed, there are some high sections that you can climb up to for a magical aerial view of the Giant’s Causeway and surrounding landscape.
Did A Giant Build the Causeway?
When this amazing natural phenomenon was discovered in 1693 it caused quite a sensation at that time. There were a lot of arguments and speculation as to whether the Causeway had been created by men with picks and chisels, by nature, or by the efforts of a giant. It was not until 1771 that a Frenchman (Demarest) announced that the Causeway was the result of volcanic action. However, some might still choose to believe that it was really the Irish giant Finn McCool who built it.
Reaching the Giant’s Causeway
From the Visitor Centre you can take a leisurely one kilometre walk down to the Causeway and enjoy the views along the way. When we visited, the road was undulating and it took about twenty minutes for some – less for the fast walkers – to walk to the stones. In the 2012 transformation of the visitor centre, some of the trails and pathways throughout the site were upgraded. An alternative way to get to the Causeway is by the Causeway Coaster which is a mini-bus shuttle service that leaves every few minutes. The bus is accessible for people with disabilities and the trip costs £1 each way. We strolled down, spent time on the rocks and then caught the mini-bus back up to save time.
The Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre houses the Tourist Information office, bureau de change, accommodation booking service, an Interpretive Audio-visual presentation and a souvenir shop. A ‘giant’ transformation of the Visitor Centre now makes this a state-of-the-art facility for visitors. The Giant’s Causeway is a designated National Nature Reserve and The National Trust are the guardians of the Causeway. The National Trust also services the Trust Shop and the Tea Rooms.
The Visitor Centre is open 09:00 – 21:00 (summer). Ticket prices are £8.50 (adults), £4.25 (child), £21.00 (family).
The Giant’s Causeway is about 2 miles away from Bushmills. The closest road is the B146 Causeway–Dunseverick Road. To get here by bus, there is the Causeway Rambler bus (Ulsterbus service 376) that runs from Bushmills and Carrick-a-Rede, though it only operates in summer.
Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre
44 Causeway Road