Step into the land of legends at the Giant’s Causeway

Step into the land of legends at the Giant’s Causeway

by Stacy Roman
Stripes Europe

Established 100 years ago, Northern Ireland is a small but formidable country. Surrounded by emerald-green hills and miles of jagged coastline, this nation is full of mythical legends and uncompromisingly beautiful landscapes. Nowhere is this more evident than the northernmost tip on the Antrim Coast. There you’ll find the only UNESCO World Heritage site in Northern Ireland — the Giant’s Causeway.

Formed by ancient lava flows millions of years ago, more than 40,000 basalt columns rise from the crashing waves below to create a causeway of hexagonal stones. As the more interesting story goes, the road was created by the Irish giant Fionn mac Cumhaill (also known as Fionn MacCool) as a way of connecting Ireland and Scotland. Fionn and his Scottish counterpart Benandonner were notorious for trading jabs and barbs, which caused their relationship to seriously deteriorate. After one particularly harsh day of fighting, Benandonner was so angry and insulted, he destroyed the link between the two countries. The ruined remains are what make up the Giant’s Causeway you see today.

Visitors can walk along the steep cliffs and imagine the two giants aimlessly roaming about the area. The causeway itself stretches for approximately four miles; however, the coastal trail extends 11 miles to the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. Spanning between the mainland and the tiny island of Carrickarede, this crossing is not for the faint of heart. Built by local fisherman using nets more than 250 years ago, it was recently retrofitted for safety purposes. The views from the island are worth the adrenaline-inducing trek across.

Know before you go: The Giant’s Causeway is maintained by the National Trust. You should check nationaltrust.org.uk for the most up-to-date information. Walking paths and coastline are accessible; however, be sure to wear sturdy shoes as there is a lot of uneven and slippery ground. Keep an eye on the tides and weather, as both can change quickly.

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