The Giant’s Causeway is one of Northern Ireland’s most iconic and most photographed beauty spots, instantly recognisable the world over. It is the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in all of Ireland, having earned this rare distinction back in 1986. Yet only through personally experiencing the many moods and overlooked facets of the wild north-east coast’s ancient volcanic bays, cliffs and beaches is it possible to appreciate their true splendour as wonders of the natural world.
Nestling beneath other-worldly cliffs on the Atlantic fringes of County Antrim, there’s far more to the Causeway Coast than the single surf-drenched promontory created by the legendary giant Finn MacCool – or else by volcanic eruption 60 million years ago, depending on which version you believe.
The Causeway Coast stretches for over 30 miles, offering a wonderland of alternate black and white cliffs and endless weathered and geometric variations on the hexagonal basalt column, from teetering stacks and cliff faces to fairies’ stepping stones and subaquatic sections.
There are not one but three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the region, taking in magnificent cliffs and green glens, picturesque villages, an offshore island and even a rope bridge over a sheer drop to the rocks below.
Coach tours are easy to arrange, but perhaps the most satisfying way to visit the Giant’s Causeway is by rental car. The 30-mile Causeway Coastal Route is one of the most spectacular drives in Europe. For those who wish to linger and experience the geological curiosities and the abundant flora and fauna at a yet more intimate level, the coastal pathway opens up an unforgettable hiking route.