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A Guide to the Giant's Causeway

The Giant’s Causeway is one of our most famous tourist attractions and was first referenced and discovered as an attraction as far back as 1692!

We’ve answered a few key questions about the Giant’s Causeway to help you plan your trip or simply feed your curious nature. 

What is the Giant's Causeway?

The Giant’s Causeway is one of the most popular tourist attractions anywhere on the island of Ireland.

The natural attraction, which regularly welcomes over 1 million guests and tourists every year, is a volcanic rock formation of over 40,000 basalt stone columns in famous hexagonal shapes.

The attraction, which became a designated UNESCO World Heritage site in 1986, is maintained by the National Trust and is famous for both its unique natural beauty and also for the stories of the legendary giant Finn McCool who is said to have built the stone formation…with his bare hands! 

How the Giant's Causeway was Formed

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There are two key stories about the formation of the Giant’s Causeway…we’ll let you decide which you believe! 

The first is that over 60 million years ago, during a Paleocene Epoch, volcanic eruptions and geological activity created over 40,000 of the famous hexagonal basalt stones that still stand today.

The second story (and the one we lean towards…) is that of legendary Celtic giant Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn McCool) who, according to the stories, built the causeway towards Scotland to reach and defeat his Scottish foe Benandonner.

There are various stories about how the conflict between Finn and Benandonner ended but we like the story that Finn’s wife Oonagh disguised Finn as a baby before the arrival of his Scottish enemy.

It’s said that once Benandonner caught a glance of these “baby” he became terrified, reasoning that if that was the baby then the father must be huge! As a result he ran back to Scotland and tore up the majority of the causeway along the way.

This story is also enjoyed locally because of the existence of similar rock formations in Fingal’s Cave, in the Scottish isle of Staffa. 

Where is the Giant's Causeway?

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If you look at the map below you’ll see that the Giant’s Causeway can be found almost exactly between the port towns of Ballycastle and Portrush.

The coastal road on which the Giant’s Causeway lies is known internationally as the Causeway Coastal Route, although many locals still refer to it as the Antrim Coast Road.

Although the Causeway itself is the star attraction, the costal route is famous around the world for its incredible beauty and breathtaking scenery. 

What is the Giant's Causeway Famous For?

The Giant’s Causeway is famous for both its unique natural beauty and also for the local tales and stories that developed around the attraction over time.

Locals regularly visit the attraction simply for its natural beauty and uniqueness. Where else in the world can you clamber all over a UNESCO World Heritage site?

Likewise, tourists visit for the unique site of the basalt columns, the chimney stacks and the “giant’s boot” but also to hear local tales of a fearsome giant from years gone by.

You’ll only really appreciate the Giant’s Causeway’s fame when you visit yourself.

How to get to the Giant's Causeway

If you’re coming from Dublin or Belfast the easiest way to travel to the Giant’s Causeway is via the M1 to Belfast from Dublin, and then the M2 and A26 from Belfast.

This is the most direct route and, by bus or car, should take approximately 1 hour without breaks.

Whilst that might be the easiest, and most direct, route it’s probably not the most exciting. If you have time we would highly recommend following the Causeway Coastal Route from wherever you are as you’ll be treated to breathtaking views and beautiful Irish seaside towns and villages along your way towards the attraction. This takes longer but is absolutely worth every minute.

If you’re coming from the city of Derry then you simply follow signs for Coleraine and from there follow signs for the Causeway Coastal Route. 

The Giant's Causeway Opening Hours

The Giant’s Causeway is a natural attraction and is open all year and opening hours simply refer to the visitor centre and café etc.

Please be aware that opening hours change from winter to summer, so you’re best double checking everything before your visit, but on average the centre is open from 9am – 5pm or until 7pm during the summer months.

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Have you ever visited the Giant’s Causeway? Are you planning to?

 Let us know!

It’s one of our most popular tourist attractions, and just a short distance from Emerald Heritage land, and we love to hear when faces old and new enjoy it! 

Thanks for reading our blog! As a thank you, you can get 10% off any Irish plot of land by using the code: BLOG10

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