Giant's Causeway and Bushmills.
Giant's Causeway - A must see.
This year (2013) I finally visited the Giant's Causeway World Heritage Site on the Antrim coast with my wife and children. Only 1 hour drive from my house I couldn't believe what took me so long to visit this stunning piece of nature.
I would encourage anybody visiting Ireland to take time out to see this for yourself. The National Trust owned heritage centre blends magnificently into the hillside and has picked up many awards for sustainability. The centre includes a gift shop, museum and cafe and hotels are located nearby. A shuttle bus takes you the 2 minute drive from the visitor center to the actual rock formation but if the weather is favourable I would encourage you to walk and take in the amazing scenery. Walk along the roof of the heritage centre (fully allowed) and take the cliff walk. As you look back you will see the coastline and rocks in their full glory. There is a charge to visit the rock formation but when you notice how many people are employed to keep everyone safe and also general upkeep of the area, this charge is justified (even for someone tight like me).
Here's a few facts about the Giants' Causeway:
The Giant's Causeway is Norther Ireland's most famous landmark and world heritage site. It is named after the famous folklaw legend, Finn MaCool.
(known as Clochán an Aifir or Clochán na bhFomhórach in Irish and tha Giant's Causey in Ulster-Scots) the causeway is an area of about 40,000 interlocking black basalt columns.
UNESCO declared the Giant's Causeway a World Heritage Site in 1986.
My name is Jimmy and I enjoy writing about places close to my heart. The Giant's Causeway is one of those places. Take a look also at my profile as I have a hub about Glenfinn, Ireland, again, a stunning part of Ireland.
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Close up of these amazing rocks.
So how did this get here!
The Antrim coastline is completely different today than it was 60 million or so years ago. Vegitation thrived and the climate was warmer. Tectonic plates were moving - Europe and North America were moving apart (take a look at the vitual world map in the visitors center to see how this came about - It's truly amazing). Magma from deep inside Earth spewed through cracks in the surface causing lava to flow and as it did, cooled in contact with air and rock, hardening into basalt creating this amazing spectacle.
Though we didn't stop in Bushmills (twinned with Louisville, Kentucky in the United States) we did have the pleasure of driving through it and wanted to give it a mention. Bushmills is only a few minutes drive from the Giants Causeway and a stunning world famous village housing just over 1300 people. Famed for it's Bushmills whiskey dating back to 1608, this village is one I will be making a point of heading back to and staying for a night or so (I'll be making a point of doing the distillery tour).