C9444 : Causeway Coast, The Giant's Causeway

taken 7 years ago, 4 km NE of Portballintrae, Co Antrim, Northern Ireland

Causeway Coast, The Giant's Causeway
Causeway Coast, The Giant's Causeway
Visitors are able to walk over the basalt columns which are at the edge of the sea, about a half-mile walk from the Visitor Centre at the entrance to the site.
The Giant's Causeway

The Giant's Causeway is an area of about 40000 interlocking basalt columns, in County Antrim on the north coast of Northern Ireland. The tops of the columns form stepping stones that lead from the cliff foot and disappear under the sea. The columns where formed by ancient volcanic activity during the Paleocene Epoch when highly fluid molten basalt intruded through chalk beds to form an extensive lava plateau. As the lava cooled, contraction occurred which caused fracturing in similar way to drying mud, with the cracks propagating down as the mass cooled, leaving the distinctive columns seen today.

The name “Giant’s Causeway” comes from the legend that the columns are the remains of a causeway built by the Irish giant Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn MacCool), across the North Channel (LinkExternal link My Secret Northern Ireland). There are identical basalt columns (a part of the same ancient lava flow) across the channel at Fingal's Cave on the island of Staffa, and it is possible that the story was influenced by this.

The site first became popular with tourists during the nineteenth century, particularly after the opening of the Giant's Causeway Tramway. The area was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986, and a national nature reserve in 1987 by the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland. Much of the Giant's Causeway and Causeway Coast World Heritage Site is owned and managed by the National Trust, who took over its care in the 1960s, and it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Northern Ireland. The remainder of the site is owned by the Crown Estate and a number of private landowners.

LinkExternal link UNESCO World Heritage List
LinkExternal link National Trust

Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright David Dixon and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
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C9444, 431 images   (more nearby search)
Date Taken
Thursday, 28 September, 2017   (more nearby)
Tuesday, 17 October, 2017
Geographical Context
Coastal  Geological interest 
Camera (from Tags)
Panasonic DMC-G7 
Subject Location
Irish: geotagged! C 947 448 [100m precision]
WGS84: 55:14.4664N 6:30.7002W
Camera Location
Irish: geotagged! C 947 447
View Direction
North-northwest (about 337 degrees)
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Other Tags
Basalt Columns  Causeway Coast  Giants Causeway  Tourist Attraction  National Trust  Tourists  Unesco World Heritage Site 

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Image Type (about): geograph 
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