My friends have never been to the Northern Ireland before, so our trip was very touristy and brief. After leaving Carrick A Rede Rope bridge we took a 20 minutes drive to our second destination – the Giant’s Causeway Visitor center.
The Giant’s causeway is a magnificent natural rock formation declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986. It was formed 50-60 million years ago as a result of seven consequent flows of lava. Tectonic plates were moving and magma from deep inside Earth spewed through cracks in the surface. Lava flowed and cooled in contact with air and water, hardening into basalt. Then it was covered with another layer of lava an so on. This process created deep horizontal cracks all along the surface that extended vertically forming honey-comb shaped columns.
The formation consists of about 40,000 interlocking, mostly hexagonal basalt columns, but some columns have four, five, seven or eight sides. They say there is only one column with three sides.
This is what the geologists think. Yet, there is another story. A giant named Finn Mac Cumhaill lived with his wife Oonagh on the Antrim coast. He had a very annoying Scottish neighbor giant Benandonner. On one occasion Finn scooped a chunk of earth and hurled it across the sea at his enemy, missed, and thus created the Isle of Man.
One day Finn tore pieces of rocks from the cliff and made a causeway to walk across the sea and fight Benandonne. When coming closer he realized that his giant neighbor was bigger that he expected! Frightened Finn turned back and ran home with Benandonne hot on his heals. To hide him loyal Oonagh disguised Finn as a baby. When Benandonne saw the size of the “sleeping baby” he fled in terror breaking up the causeway in case he might be followed. Funny giants.
I climbed the columns to get a better view. This is a bus stop down there, and the road to the Visitor center ( 1 km?)
This is a part of the giant-made causeway. The tide is coming in, so the end of the rocky road disappears in the water but you can see that it is quite long.
This is the view on the other side from where I was perched. Another half an hour walk to the Organ pipes (across the little bay) , but I have never been there, always because of the lack of time.
In the image below, on the right side you can see a high and almost vertical column formation. It is where I was taking my causeway picture from. The other side is easy to climb – 5 year old can do it. This side is only for experienced climbers. In summer 2012 more than one thousand people gathered here to cheer The Olympic Torch bearer, 10 times Iron Man Peter Jack from Coleraine.
This image was taken in December 2005. We had the place all for ourselves.
These two images are taken in August 2005. A little bit more people but still very quiet.
This time the place was very busy.
This is a curious rock formation you pass on the way to the Visitor center. August 2005, bright sunny afternoon. Harsh shadows make the rocks look like petrified giants.
The road to the Visitor center. We took a bus.
Off we go to our last destination – Dark Hedges.
To be continued.
Photography tip of the day: If you often take pictures of the sky and around water get yourself a polarising filter. To know what size of the filter you need check your lens: it is the diameter.