This spectacular rock formation – Northern Ireland’s only Unesco World Heritage site – is one of Ireland’s most impressive and atmospheric landscape features, a vast expanse of regular, closely packed, hexagonal stone columns looking for all the world like the handiwork of giants.
As legend has it, a legendary giant named Finn McCool (also called Fionn Mac Cumhaill) once roamed the wilds of Northern Ireland. As the story goes, another giant – Benandonner, from across the Irish Sea in Scotland – was planning to invade Ireland. Upon hearing this, Finn preempted the invasion by tearing up great chunks of the County Antrim coastline and hurling them into the sea. This newly-created land bridge – the Giant’s Causeway – paved a route over the sea for Finn to reach Benandonner and take him on in battle.
However, this backfires on Finn as Benandonner turns out to be far bigger and stronger than Finn. Sensing disaster, Finn retreats back to Ireland and disguises himself as a baby with the help of his quick-thinking wife. When Benandonner arrives, he sees Finn disguised as a baby and realises that if a mere baby is as big a giant, the father must be far larger than Benandonner himself!
Following this realisation, Benandonner panics and flees back to Scotland, destroying as much of the Causeway as he can in his haste to put as much distance between Ireland and himself as possible. And thus, the myth of the Giant’s Causeway was born.
A Giant Leap
The Scientific Explanation
Although the myth really captures the imagination, there is a less exciting explanation for the enigmatic rock formations. The scientific answer tells us that the Giant’s Causeway was originally formed over 60 million years ago. Geologists say that the Causeway was created after a period of intense volcanic activity, where the lava cooled and formed these incredible interlocking basalt columns. Each column is near-perfectly hexagonal in shape; a breathtaking example of the power of nature and it’s extraordinary beauty.
Whichever explanation you choose to believe, it’s undeniable that the Giant’s Causeway is a truly awe-inspiring natural wonder of the world.
Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge
Explore the Causeway Coast
After your visit to the Causeway relax and enjoy the majestic view along one of the World’s most famous coastal drives. You will have the opportunity to admire the impressive Glens of Antrim and picture perfect coastal villages on one side and the rugged coastline on the other.
Your tour will stop off in the lovely fishing village of Carnloch, which will provide a stretch of legs and comfort stop. Situated at the base of Glencloy, Game of Thrones fans will instantly recognise the harbour.
Following Lunch we will stop at Carrick-a-rede rope bridge. Suspended almost 100ft (30m) above sea level, the rope bridge was first erected by salmon fishermen 350 years ago. Now a popular tourist attraction, it takes nerves of steel to cross the expanse, with the waves of the Atlantic Ocean crashing below.
Next, you will drive the Antrim Coast Road, which is widely regarded to be one of the most picturesque stretches of road anywhere in the world. The road hugs the coast line giving incredible seaside views, passing unspoilt beaches and sheltering under rugged cliffs. You may even see Scotland on a good day!
Next on the itinerary is the world famous Bushmills Distillery. Granted a license to distill in 1608, Bushmills is the oldest licensed ditillery in the world. Join one of the whiskey educators on a guided tour and see first-hand how the craft of whiskey- making is carried out here at Old Bushmills Distillery. Walk with them through the living history of the grain-to-glass processes, experiencing the impressive sights and rich scents of each stage from mash tun to pot still to barrel.
The last stop on the tour is at Carrickfergus Castle, located on the northern shore of Belfast Lough. This Norman Castle, which dates back to 1177, was besieged in turn by the Scots, Irish, English and French for centuries. It remains one of the best preserved medieval structures in Ireland and presents a great opportunity for photographs.
We had a full day tour with Get away to educate with tour guide and driver to the Giant’s Causeway and coast etc. It was outstanding. Knowledgeable, fun, enjoyable and informative. Well done.