Many a myth surrounds the creation of the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, from tall tales of giants using the rocks as stepping stones to cross the Irish sea to the more scientifically based story that the rocks were formed as a result of magma erupting from cracks in the earth’s surface.
One thing is for sure, however, and that is that the Giant’s Causeway is one of the most fascinating places to visit in Northern Ireland and is as beautiful as it is interesting. Here’s why we believe it is one of the world’s greatest natural wonders and why you would be crazy not to visit on a day trip from Dublin this summer!
1. UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Giant’s Causeway is a UNESCO World Heritage site and has been recognised many times as one of the best places to visit in the UK by top travel publications. The Causeway, which consists of about 40,000 basalt columns ranging in both size and height, is also one of the most unusual geological sites in Northern Ireland and one of the world’s greatest natural wonders. Formed over 60 million years ago when magma erupted from the earth’s crust, it’s a fascinating place to take a walk through history and gain a better understanding of geography and geology.
2. It’s location on the Causeway Coast
One of the best reasons to love the Giant’s Causeway is thanks to its ideal location on Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast, one of the most beautiful stretches of coast in the world (and voted one of the world’s top 5 road trips!). From ancient castles to stunning beaches, sheer cliffs and historic watchtowers, as well as small towns and villages brimming with friendly locals and perfect pubs, just getting to the Giant’s Causeway, is part of the adventure.
3. The Grand Causeway
The Giant’s Causeway is made up of over 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, which can be found in three separate rock outcrops. The largest of these three groups of columns is known as the Grand Causeway and is one of the most photographed locations in Northern Ireland. Best shot at sunrise or sunset when the light is softer and there are fewer people around, the Grand Causeway is a spectacular sight to behold at any time of day. If photography isn’t your thing, climb atop of one of the columns and just sit and watch the waves crash on the shore, and be thankful you have made it to such a special place.
4. The Giant’s Boot – where fact and fiction meet
The Giant’s Boot is one the most fun elements of any trip to the Giant’s Causeway and makes for a great photo opportunity. The huge boot-shaped rock was said to be left behind by the Irish giant Finn McCool when he was running away from Scottish giant Benandonner who has chased him back to Irish shores.
5. Hiking the Causeway Coast
Another thing that makes the Giant’s Causeway one of the most beautiful places to visit on earth is the incredible selection of hikes which take you there. While getting up close to the mystical columns is an unforgettable experience, so is hiking high above them and looking down on them with a whole new perspective. Spend some time hiking one of the many cliff top trails that snake their way around this UNESCO World Heritage site, and you will be able to view all the main sites in addition to some dizzyingly high panoramic shots of the coastline.
6. A photographers dream
People come from all over the world to take stunning photos of the Giant’s Causeway and once you visit you will see why. The rocks are mesmerising and the entire surrounding landscape is straight out of a fairytale. If you are serious about getting some great shots be sure to bring a tripod and try to arrive just before the sunsets as that is when the sun shines a soft orange glow on the rocks. Even if the weather is bad, which let’s be honest it often is, you can still get some incredible shots of the rocks as the bigger and wilder the waves, the more dramatic the shot!
7. Bird watching paradise
As with many places along the Causeway Coast, The Giant’s Causeway is a birdwatching paradise, as it’s a popular spot for a huge variety of seabirds to land. Look out for Fulmars, Razorbills, Petrals, Seagulls, Kittiwakes and Guillemots, all of which inhabit the coastline and local islands nearby.
8. Home to rare flora
What makes the Giant’s Causeway such a beautiful place to visit is that it’s not only the rock formations that are unusual. In addition to the plethora of wild seabirds to be found in the area, the causeway coast is also home to rare plant species such as frog orchid (a smaller and lesser-known branch of the Orchid family), vernal squill (a wildflower native to Ireland) and sea fescue.
If we’ve managed to convince you of the great wonder that is The Giant’s Causeway, be sure to consider a trip up with us on one of our day tours from Dublin which takes a stop off in the beautiful Belfast and Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge