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Walking in the footsteps of giants on the Causeway

Selfie at the Causeway

Whilst on a trip for my 27th birthday to Belfast my boyfriend had booked us onto a Game of Thrones Tour and en route to the filming locations we ‘passed by’ The Giant’s Causeway part way through the day. Now I say ‘passed by’ as it seems so absurd now that we’ve actually visited the Giant’s Causeway that at the time it was just an afterthought on the Game of Thrones filming locations tour. How wrong we were!

No scenes were actually filmed at the Causeway but because it is one of the pinnacles of Northern Ireland we stopped off there for a spot of lunch. Unfortunately for us, lunch was only an hour and by the time we realised just how big the Giant’s Causeway was, it was too late and we’d spent a good chunk of that time having our lunch, doh!

But what was so fantastic about not knowing a great deal about the Giant’s Causeway was when we headed through the cave entrance and into the open air with the open rock formation and cliffs it literally made me stop in my tracks from being so awestruck. There are some experiences in life that you know are going to be amazing and you know you’ll never forget, but I had no idea the Giant’s Causeway would have that effect on me.

The rock formations consist of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, most of which are hexagonal with columns forming huge stepping stones, some as high as 39 feet. Many of the columns fit together so tightly that when you view it from the cliff edge above it looks like a man made street.

After years of scientific study we now know that the Causeway was created by volcanic activity around 50 to 60 million years ago and as the lava rapidly cooled, it contracted into the distinctive shapes and step-like columns. This also explains why they form by the cliff edge and disappear right into the sea.

But it’s not just the scientific evidence that is fascinating about the Causeway’s history as the mythical stories around it make it that more intriguing. Local legend has it (depending on who you speak to and which version you get!) the Giant’s Causeway was built by Finn McCool, a magical giant. We’re told that Finn built the Causeway so that he could reach Scotland without getting his feet wet as there is a similar rock formation 75 miles away across the sea, at Fingal’s Cave, in Scotland. One of the rock formations even resembles a giant boot which only adds to the mystery and magical feel of the place.

Despite our short time at the Causeway, I can say that it is a must see if you are visiting Northern Ireland, and it appears everyone else but us got the message because over 300,000 tourists visit the Causeway annually! Here are some of our favourite shots from the Giant’s Causeway….

Us on the Causeway

Causeway 1

Causeway wall


Sea View Causeway


Stacks Causeway

Giant's Causeway Feet

Stones at the Causeway

Top 10 fun facts about the Giant’s Causeway

1) It was voted as the 4th best natural wonder in the UK

2) In 1986, UNESCO declared the rock formation a World Heritage Site, the only one in Northern Ireland

3) The rocky coastline around the Giant’s Causeway has caused many shipwrecks, in 1588 over 1,000 men were killed when a Spanish ship sank after hitting one of the rocks which is now referred to as ‘Spaniard Rock’

4) The Causeway is home to Europe’s first ever hydro-electric tram which was opened in 1883 and runs between Portrush and the Causeway itself

5) Weathering of the rock formation has also created circular structures, which the locals call ‘giant’s eyes’

6) Rock features in reference to the infamous ‘giant’ include the Giant’s Eyes, Giant’s Boot, Camel’s Hum and Chimney Stacks

7) The Causeway was first documented in 1693 and has been intensively studied by geologists ever since

8) Humans settled around the Giant’s Causeway in the 19th century, but the site is now uninhabited

9) Scientists date the rock formations to be around 50-60 million years old

10) The Causeway is featured as the backdrop in many TV shows and films including Hell Boy 2, Dracula Untold and even The Simpsons

Have you visited the Giant’s Causeway? What did you think? Comment below :)

Mel x

About the author

Hi, I’m Mel! The adventure-seeking vegan travel blogger behind Footsteps on the Globe. On this blog you'll find my latest adventures, travel inspiration as well as tips and tricks on how to be vegan around the world. You don’t have to give up being vegan to follow your travel dreams and I’m here to show you how!