The Giant’s Causeway is comprised of forty thousand basalt columns in a manner jutting out of a small coastline piece on the northern coast of Ireland in the county of Antrim. It is believed they came into existence about 60 million years ago. Currently, Antrim County is made up of rugged countryside nonetheless it is mostly tranquil farmland. 50-60 million years ago it was a volcanic activity hotbed.
These volcanic activities meant the area was a portion of the Province of Thulean, an enormous basalt lava plain. This molten basalt lava began to cool so fast At the Giant’s Causeway. This eventually made the basalt to contract and then fracture, just like how mud does when it dries. The process of cooling left behind objects looking lie pillars which remain intact to this day. That is the widely accepted scientific explanation explaining the Giant’s Causeway formation.
The first time the Giant’s Causeway came into the light of the world, was in 1693, when a baronet and an Irish politician Sir Richard Bulkeley, wrote about it to the Royal Society. Its popularity has grown since then
The first visitors’ explosion happened during the launching of the Giant’s Causeway Tramway. It started in 1883. It ran for sixty-five years. It was actually the first hydro-electric tram system in the world to be built using revolutionary technology by Siemens.
The Giant’s Causeway Management
National Trust has been managing The Giant’s Causeway since 1961. National Trust is a UK wide charity working to protect as well as to preserve historic spaces and places.
The Giant’s Causeway was granted World Heritage status in 1986 by UNESCO which is a United Nations organization which, through its World Heritage initiative, seeks to identify natural and cultural heritage sites all over the world which are considered to be of astounding value to humanity then preserve and protect them.
The Giant’s Causeway Visitor’s Centre
Visitor’s Centre at Giant’s Causeway is impressive now, despite for many years being an embarrassment to the Northern Ireland people. Because of petty incompetence and squabbling, there was no any Visitor Centre between 2000 and 2012. This mockery was finally fixed in July 2012 when the present building was opened.
It is an attractive building that has been nuzzled into the landscape to be part of the countryside. It also uses several environmentally friendly methods, like recycling of the rain water.
The place features a very interactive exhibition. An outdoor audio guide providing information is also available. There are other facilities which includes a coffee shop, tourist information, and gift shop.
The coastal path and stones are open from morning until evening all year round which is 9am to 5pm in the winter periods and in the summer periods it is from 9am up to 9pm. Sunday opening and Bank holidays vary a little so, every time you are to travel, it is advisable to check the opening times on those specific date you will be paying a visit.
It is also vital to note that it is not a must you pay in to the Visitor’s Centre for you to see the Giant’s Causeway. It is free to access the stones themselves. The Visitor’s Centre will absolutely enhance your experienced at the Giant’s Causeway.
Accessing the Giant’s Causeway
The most obvious and the easiest method of accessing the Giant’s Causeway is by a dedicated coach tour such as Allen’s Tours or by car. From Belfast, It is 63 miles and is away from major population centres. Travelling directly by a coach or car is strongly recommended despite public transport being an option. When you get to the north coast of Northern Ireland, Giant’s Causeway is well sign posted.
Two car parking options are there. The first one is to drive right up to the Visitor’s Centre site, then park in the car park. The second option is to use the free park then ride service in the neighbouring Bushmills town.
When you get to the car parks at the Visitor’s Centre, the next step is to go to the stones themselves. The walking down to the stones will take you about 12 to 15 minutes. In case you are not appealed by walking, there is a shuttle bus service working between the Visitor’s Centre and the stones. You will be charged a small fee for this bus. It is absolutely worth paying a visit to this place.