A visit to the Giant’s Causeway was on the top of my Ireland wish list. After spending some time there I don’t think a visit to Ireland is complete without going to The Giant’s Causeway. The pure miracle of what the earth created is hard to beat anywhere in the world. As you explore the Giant’s Causeway it subtly steals your heart and then find yourself desperate to stay just a few minutes longer.
The Giant’s Causeway is quite unassuming. With ample parking, a visitors center which blends right into the setting and a few local Irish restaurants at the outskirts it feels as though what you are going to see isn’t all that special. Taking visitors by surprise is what The Giant’s Causeway does from beginning to end. It is one of the reasons I loved it so much.
Upon entering the visitors center you buy your tickets, walk through the very elegant gift shop and then through the glass doors to begin the discovery. There are options to either walk or take the bus. We opted for walking. If you have any issues with walking up and down steep hills I would encourage you to take the bus. Otherwise definitely take the walk.
Hills surround the walkway as the descent to the sea begins. Bright green grass covers the hills and pinnacles while the shore changes dramatically. Around the bends of the road unusual rock formations begin to show on the hills, the odd shapes could definitely be used for inspiration in a sci-fi movie. The sea begins to reveal itself on the left side as these strange rock shapes begin to show themselves in the water and mix with dark black boulders, and long grasses. As cool as this is, it is only just the beginning. That is how The Giant’s Causeway is. Each experience seems to be amazing and then, there is something even more incredible.
Then there is the moment when you see the mountains line the sea, and the pinnacles rise up gently at first until they form a massive structure of uneven levels of six sided pinnacles, each and every one gloriously created by Mother Nature. This is the point when J. and I stopped talking and just stood in awe. To see the Giant’s Causeway is amazing, but to really digest the earth’s ability to create such a sight is almost impossible.
Honestly for me to find the words even now is difficult. So I will let the pictures speak for me.
After spending time on the pinnacles we headed further down the road to sit in the stone chair and take in the majesty of our surroundings.
From there we trekked up one of the hills and around into a crevice. Unfortunately the pathway had collapsed earlier in the year so we were unable to finish the trek. The views from the path are some of the best in the park so we took our time, took tons of pictures and found every reason we could to not start trekking back. Even though it was quite cold the day we visited none of that mattered. The awe we both had for the view, the natural events which occurred here, and the amazing structures were all we could think about. (If you have any issues with climbing, or stability I would proceed up the hill with caution, the rocks can be a bit tricky and it is a fairly steep climb.)
The visitors center is definitely one of the best I have ever been in. Not only is the architecture fantastic but the quality of the gifts and the coffee is worth taking a few minutes to enjoy.
The Legend Of The Giant’s Causeway:
The myth is that the Giant’s causeway was formed by the giant Finn throwing rocks into the sea to build a causeway to protect Northern Ireland from the Scottish giant Benandonner. Legend has it that Benandonner was much larger than Finn so Finn ran back to shore. When he reached land his wife disguised him as a baby. Upon seeing the giant baby Benandonner deduced that if the baby was that large then the father must be huge. He immediately left.
The Science Of The Giant’s Causeway:
Science says the causeway was formed by a volcanic eruption some 60 million years ago. After the lava came crashing down it cooled and formed over 40,000 basalt columns which are still there to this day. UNESCO has deemed it a World Heritage Site due to its ancient history.
Where We Stayed:
We chose to stay in Derry (Londonderry) to explore Northern Ireland. Derry is a walled in city on the River Foyle. The town name is either Derry or Londonderry. Depending on who you talk to you will get a different answer about what the name of the town really is. Most Northern Ireland residents consider the town to be Derry while the official name is Londonderry. We stayed at the Bishop’s Gate Hotel, which was absolutely fantastic. Bishop’s Gate restaurant was veggie friendly and the bar is a lovely place to spend an evening.
How To Get There:
From Derry you can get to the Giant’s Causeway via the Causeway Coastal Route. This route was absolutely gorgeous. Driving along the northern coast is exceptional with beach towns, ocean views and a fantastic stop at the Downhill Demesne and Hezlett house ruins. This route also took us through the small town of Bushmills. If you have the time the tour of the distillery tour is supposed to be excellent.
There are tours and buses which also go to the Giant’s Causeway. It is also possible to take the highway most of the route.