A trip up North : Giant’s causeway

giant's causeway

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.

giant's causeway

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.

giant's causeway

giant's causeway

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?)

giant's causeway

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.

giant's causeway

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.

giant's causeway

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.

giant's causeway

This  image was taken in December 2005. We had the place all for ourselves.

giant's causeway

These two images are taken in  August 2005. A little bit more people but still very quiet.

giant's causeway

giant's causeway

This time the place was very  busy.

giant's causeway

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.

giant's causeway

The road to the Visitor center. We took a bus.

giant's causeway

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.

inese_mj_photography Have a great weekend!



  1. My ancestors are from Ireland so I find your photography fascinating. I would find them amazing regardless of my heritage as you present your subject well. Thank you for sharing your photography. Blessings upon you.

    1. Thank you so much for you comment, Tina! Glad you can enjoy seeing the land of your ancestors in my pictures. Where are they from in particular? May be I have a picture to share?

      1. True. I’ve climbed Mount Fuji and found rocks that looked more like an organism or cell then solid stone. But then again it wasn’t stone. Mount Fuji is technically a native volcano that hasn’t erupted in the last 300 year. It was a nice hike and the view was breathtaking. ^_^

    1. Sheri, thank you so much for finding time to read. It is you who inspired me and gave me support when I went online with this blog four months ago. I do hope that you make it to Ireland one day. I am sending you all positive vibes.

      1. Tom and I have had Ireland on our list for several years. Actually, it’s rather close to the top. He’s now doing cardio rehab and after the emergency heart surgery in June is doing so much better. Ireland is a country Tom and I haven’t visited and we both feel it’s time. I always share your photos with Tom and having been a photographer himself, he’s complimentary of your work. always.

        1. Oh I am so glad that things started getting better for Tom. You might be ready for some travelling next summer. Nothing extreme, but you can still have nice experience. Fingers crossed!

    1. Thank you! I wish everyone could make it there.
      Next we went to the Dark Hedges, I will post the pictures Tuesday 🙂 I so love Antrim! 1000km in one day… With a baby… We only went to the main tourist places this time. If you take the coastal walk from the Rope bridge to Dunluce castle… Dreams, dreams… 🙂

    1. Thank you! The site is actually about 170 hectares big, up to Londonderry. All the coast is a gem. If I were younger I would cliff-walk… by the way, after we left the following day two tourists didn’t return to their bus at the visitor center. I don’t know if they are still missing…

    1. It is exactly what I was thinking about today! The place holds so much energy. May be it is because of the lava? I couldn’t tell that it was a calming sort of energy though. Rather a charging energy 🙂

  2. What an amazing place! I love your story of the giants. When anyone mentions Antrim I really perk up as I believe I have traced my paternal line to County Antrim but have not been able to prove anything as of yet. I haven’t given up hope of one day being able to visit Ireland! 🙂

    1. You know there are many well preserved graveyards, and with some effort it is possible to read the names on the grave stones. You must come one day. Antrim isn’t as big.

    1. Thank you Christy! 🙂 There is much more to see if you are fit enough for a cliff walking. Rare plants, shipwreck sites, beautiful beaches and ruins… A dream-like place.

  3. Love the photos! Especially the ones with black and white composition. The more I read about Ireland on your blog, the more I wanted to visit it 🙂 oooh…so many places in my bucket list now 😀

  4. You keep bringing Ireland back to me and i do admit that from time to time i feel a twinge of nostalgia for ‘the oul sod’ ..just a twinge; of course it will always be in my heart, i grew up there.
    Thank you for the great text and the wonderful pictures.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment John, you make me feel so good. Your Ireland is still there to come and visit once again. I was delighted to find that nothing has changed since my last visit nine years ago. Praise to the people who protect these treasures and preserve them for our grandchildren.

  5. Great pictures. I have spent quite a bit of time panting on Lough Foyle, not too far from the Giant’s Causeway. When I first visited the Causeway, I was amazed, and still am. Thank you. Janet:)

    1. Thank you for stopping by, Janet! Great to meet someone who knows about Lough Foyle 🙂 I have travelled to Malin Head and left a huge part of my heart in Donegal. Thank you again for your comment, have a pleasant weekend! 🙂

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