Giant’s Causeway is a rock formation on the Antrim coast of Northern Ireland and consists of about 40,000 basalt columns rising out of the sea. The site has been added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.
How to get to
The nearest airport is Belfast. It takes 90 min by car to get from the airport to the Causeway. Another option is to take the bus.
From Belfast, take Ulsterbus service 252 via Antrim Glens.
From Bushmills and Carrick-a-Rede, there’s the Causeway Rambler bus (Ulsterbus service 376) which only runs during the summer.
The closest road is B146 Causeway–Dunseverick, which is about 2 miles (3.2 km) from Bushmills. The direct route from Belfast is along the A26.
The closest train stations are Portrush (8 miles/13 km) and Coleraine (10 miles/16 km).
There’s also the Giant’s Causeway & Bushmills Steam Railway runs from Bushmills to the Causeway. The views along the route are magnificent. An adult single ticket is £6.00, while a chil single ticket is £4.00.
According to popular mythology, the Irish giant Finn mac Cumhaill built the Causeway in order to walk to Scotland to fight Benandonner.
One legend has it that Finn fell asleep because of the laborious work to build the Causeway and didn’t meet Benandonner to fight. So his counterpart , crossed the bridge to meet him. To protect Finn, his wife Oonagh laid a blanket on him to pretend he was actually their baby.
In another version of the legend, when Finn saw how big Benandonner was, he asked his wife to disguise him as a baby.
But in either case, when Benandonner was how big the baby was, he assumed that Fionn was gigantic indeed and fled home in terror. As he ran, Benandonner ripped the Causeway so that Fionn couldn’t follow him.
Another version of the legend has it that Oonagh pained a rock to look like a stake and gave it to Benandonner, while giving a normal stake to the baby (Finn). When Benandonner saw that the baby could eat it so easily, he ran away, ripping the Causeway.
Yet another legend has it that Finn spend much time trying to build a bridge to Scotland because he was challenged by another giant. One day, a boatman told him that his opponent was much bigger than he was and Finn told his wife that he needed to come up with a plan to dress him up as a baby. When the opponent came, Oonagh told him that Finn was out cutting wood and showed him the baby. Terrified at the thought of how big Finn could be, he ran to Scotland, throwing random rocks from the Causeway into the sea.
The amazing natural phenomenon was discovered in 1693 by Sir Richard Bulkeley. In 1697, draughtsman was sent to make drawings of the Natural Curiosity. At the time there was much debate whether the Causeway was created by men, nature or by giants.
In 1771, Demarest announced that the origin of the causeway was volcanic.
It is free to visit the Causeway. The Visitors Center is open year-round, from 9:30 a.m., expect on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. But the Causeway itself can be accessed year round. From the Visitors Center, there’s a Causeway Coaster minibus which takes tourists to the stones.
Within the Visitors Center there’s a tea-room which offers hot drinks and light refreshments. It is open daily from March until the middle of November and only during weekends on the interim period.
Book a Giant’s Causeway Tour from Belfast.
There are many interesting walks along the Causeway and here is a short list of what you can do:
Giants Causeway Walk: you can approach the Causeway directly from the road (either on foot or by bus). Another option is the longer, 3 km route, which follows the cliff path to Shepherd’s Steps and goes by the Causeway.
The organ to Reostan: this can be reached by the lower path either from the Shepherd’s Steps or from by Giant’s Causeway. It continues to the Port Reostan viewpoint. It is a 3.5 km walk.
Dunseverick Castle: this is a longer walk, along the top of the high cliffs. It’s a narrow path which turns slippery when wet. The scenery along the route is spectacular. From Dunseverick Castle, continue east and you’ll get to the Visitors Center.