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The Giants' Causeway Northern Ireland

Forget what the scientists say with pompous talk of volcanic eruptions and lava flows. Basically The Giants’ Causeway (the clue is in the title!) was formed by warring giants in Ireland and Scotland desperate to get at each other for a winner- takes-all fight.
Since neither of them could swim, to rumble and tumble they both built causeways to each other- seen today in Northern Ireland and on the Isle of Staffa in Scotland. These are the legacies to these titanic beasts. And the winner? Well, it didn’t really happen in the end but a sleeping Fionn MacCumhall (the Irish giant), too tired to fight after his strenuous building regime, was disguised as an infant by his wife- and his rival Benandonner, upon crossing the sea and seeing the “baby” felt that the difference in weight class could count against him if he was to fight the dad. So he slipped back to his homeland, taking the rest of the causeway with him. What an outrageous way to treat Northern Ireland’s cultural heritage! However, it is easy for us to say, sitting here in today’s western world with our espresso machines and books.

Since objectivity is the name of Tourist Attraction’s game, it is with heavy hand that we pen the scientist’s version of the origins of this majestic natural wonder too. Richard Dawkins might be after us too if we don’t.

So, as an Elvive advert might add, “here’s the science bit!” (taken from the Northern Ireland Tourist Board’s page on the causeway- a link to which is below).

Geology of the Causeway

“Geological evidence explains the Causeway as the aftermath of an ancient volcano. Sixty five million years ago, Antrim experienced intense volcanic activity, when fluid molten basalt broke apart chalk beds to form a lava plateau. When the molten lava hit the seawater, it cooled quickly and formed the polygonal columns. There were three periods of volcanic activity which resulted in the flows known as the lower, upper and middle basalts. The similar basalt formations at the site of Fingal’s cave on Staffa are part of the same lava flow which began in Antrim.”

Now that is an impressive lava flow. And what a superb remnant it has left behind- 40,000 interlocking basalt columns and Northern Ireland’s only World Heritage Site. The whole coastline around here is spectacular too.

And another bonus- did the giants offer the remaining parts of the causeway as a gift in perpetuity to the people of the world?- is that to visit the site is free, free, free!
The Giants' Causeway
The Giants' Causeway
The Giants' Causeway
The Giants' Causeway
The Giants' Causeway
The Giants' Causeway


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