The Giant’s Causeway belongs to the many things that the Irish people are proud of. It is an extraordinary landscape that was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 1986. Also a National Nature Reserve as per a 1987 proclamation of the Department of Northern Ireland, this tourist attraction consists of thousands of interlocking basalt columns in a headland facing the North Atlantic Ocean’s North Channel towards Scotland.
The sight of these columns is awe-inspiring as they appear from the sea, forming hexagonal stepping stones to the top of the cliffs. Geologists believe that these natural formations were the result of intense volcanic eruptions in the area around 50 to 60 million years ago. But it formed a unique natural formation, and an amazing legend has been woven around the origin of the Giant’s Causeway.
If old Irish folks are to be believed, these ancient rock formations were actually part of a bridge that their mythical warrior Finn McCool built to cross the sea to do battle against a much bigger Scottish archrival, Benandonner. But the expected confrontation of warriors did not happen as Finn’s wife disguised his husband as their baby son. Seeing that with such an infant so huge, Benandonner concluded that Finn, the father, must be a giant. The Scottish warrior fled but destroyed Finn’s bridge which then became the awesome natural wonder in the county of Antrim, Northern Ireland.
The modern-day tourists, unlike Finn and Benandonner, need no bridge to appreciate the natural splendor of Antrim. The easiest way to the area is by air through the Belfast International Airport which is within the county’s territorial jurisdiction. The airport, being UK’s fifth largest regional air cargo center, maintains regular flight services to and from Britain and points across Europe and North America. Visitors from the outside with the Antrim attraction as part of their itinerary can also avail of ferry boat services linking Northern Ireland with Scotland and England.
Public access to the Giant’s Causeway is free. Permission from the authorities is necessary for visitors bringing in their vehicles to the nature reserve itself. Vehicles parked outside are assessed parking fees. Charges are good for all-day parking and cost £6 each for cars, £20 for coaches and £7.50 for RVs. Visitors will need to walk about one kilometer from the parking area to the Causeway. Mini-bus shuttles are also available up and down the reserve for a return fare of £2 per adult and £1 per child passenger.