If you’re wondering what wonders to see on your trip to Ireland, let the Giant’s Causeway sit at the top of your list.
The enormous hexagonal stones look reminiscent of giant Lego structures or pixelated art, and the in a land famed for rolling countryside and watercolour backdrops, which make the Emerald Isle what it is, this boxy, blocky and breath-taking spot is a must-see for visitors of all ages.
Of course, you can explore the area of your own accord, or you can take advantage of one of our superb Giants Causeway Tours, where you’ll be guided and given a thorough commentary of the legend, the landscape, and more.
Before you arrive at this natural basalt wonder though, you’ll want to know a bit more about the causeway itself. There’s the myth for those in search of magic, there’s the science for those who ask “why”, and if you’re taking the family, there’s plenty to keep visitors of all ages busy. Just read on for more.
Irish giant Finn McCool is clashing with the Scottish giant, Benandonner. So, as any self-respecting giant would do, Finn chucks pieces of the Antrim coast into the sea, in order to form a path across the water, which he can use to get to Benandonner.
When Finn arrives at the Scottish end of the causeway though, he finds he may have bitten off more than he can chew with the titanic Benandonner. He runs home and enlists the help of his wife who disguises him as a baby, to hide from the Scottish giant who has chased him back.
After seeing the “baby”, the Scottish giant is fearful that Finn (as the “father” of said baby) must be too mammoth to contend with. So Benandonner runs back to Scotland, destroying the causeway behind him, so Finn cannot follow.
And with each giant taking their rightful place at either end of the pathway, all that remains is the beautiful hexagonal feature we know and love; the Giant’s Causeway.
Of course, you’ll want your youngsters (and you!) to take away something a little more curriculum-approved too, so we’ll share the science behind the Giant’s Causeway.
In short, the scientific theory is that a colossal volcanic eruption, 60 million years ago, resulted in more than 40,000 interlocking basalt columns. The sight is still one to behold, but even with a perfectly plausible scientific theory, there’s something unbelievable about this astounding natural structure, and a closer look might be needed.
So if you have inquisitive young minds to satisfy, try explaining the geological process behind the basalt icon. Start by explaining that way back when, Antrim was a hotspot for volcanic activity, with lava that would seep through the chalk beds to form a shelf.
As the molten basalt cooled, it formed near-perfect hexagonal pillars, which became even more defined as a result of fracturing. The size of the pillars varies, due to the different cooling speeds. But altogether, as part of a huge and ancient volcanic table, they are quite the monument to ancient seismic and volcanic activity.
The Fun Bit
So, now you and your youngsters know a bit more about the Giant’s Causeway and where it came from (whichever theory you believe), what can you do for fun once you get there?
Well, the excitement of seeing it is a good start. But after you all get used to the great outdoors and the stunning backdrop, why not interact with the landscape? You can do this on our tour, or you can host a mini scavenger hunt, tasking everyone to spot iconic anomalies at the spot. Some of these include:
- The Organ
- The Giant’s Boot
- Giant’s Eyes
- Shepherd’s Steps
- Giant’s Harp
- Chimney Stacks
- Giant’s Gate
- Camel’s Hump
So what are you waiting for? Visit and explore the Giant’s Causeway for yourself! For more information on tours in Ireland, visit www.legendsofthenorth.com.