Northern Ireland: Giant’s Causeway


Ireland is ridiculously picturesque. There are places on the island where myth meets science and history. The tors on the hike up Slieve Binnian are one such example, stone warriors asleep and waiting to defend the isle. The Hill of Tara is another but the most memorable sight was the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.

“As legend has it, Northern Ireland was once home to a giant named Finn McCool (also called Fionn Mac Cumhaill). When another giant – Benandonner, across the Irish Sea in Scotland – threatened Ireland, Finn retaliated by tearing up great chunks of the Antrim coastline and hurling them into the sea. The newly-created path – the Giant’s Causeway – paved a route over the sea for Finn to reach Benandonner.

However, this turns out to be a bad idea as Benandonner is a massive giant, much bigger than Finn! In order to save himself, Finn retreats to Ireland and is disguised as a baby by his quick-thinking wife. When Benandonner arrives, he sees Finn disguised as a baby and realises that if a mere baby is that big, the father must be far larger than Benandonner himself!

Following this realization, Benandonner rushes back to Scotland, tearing away as much of the Causeway as he can in his haste to put as much distance between Ireland and himself as possible. And thus, the myth of the Giant’s Causeway was born.”


With Covid things have changed a bit in the travel world and, following the advice of Wilderness Ireland, we pre-booked our tickets in a time slot to visit the Giant’s Causeway before leaving home. We printed out our reservation but we probably could have just shown our reservation digitally upon arrival. This made things easy as we pulled up, showed our tickets and were directed to park. It was raining when we pulled into the parking lot but the drizzle had stopped and the sky turned blue within a few minutes. If you don’t like the current weather in Ireland, wait 15 minutes and it will probably change and keep a rain jacket close.

We started off in the visitor center to learn both the myth and reality of how the hexagonal basalt columns of the Giant’s Causeway were formed along with the history surrounding them. Honestly, we didn’t spend a ton of time in the visitor center as we were way too excited to get outdoors.

There is a bus that can be taken from the visitor center to the main portion of the Causeway that runs parallel to the Blue Trail but honestly, the best way to take in the view is to walk the Blue Trail along the coastline. This trail just gives you a chance to really take in the natural beauty; breath in the salt air over the Atlantic, listen the the crash of the sea on the rocks and the cry of the sea birds.

60,000 Hexagonal Basalt Columns

Visitors are allowed to actually climb on the Giant’s Causeway but be careful of the delicate plant and animal life that makes its home on this unique lava formation. Also, be aware of the tides as they can come up quickly. The actually formation is smaller that I expected but it is beautiful and formation are fascinating.

From the Giant’s Causeway formation we headed through the Giant’s Gate. At this point the moderate Blue Trail turns into the difficult Red Trail cliff path. The trail is not too difficult over all but it does have one steep incline and a set of decently steep stairs but the views are 100% worth it. The walk along the top of the cliffs is fairly easy and level.

Giant’s Gate from the Red Trail
The Pipe Organ Formation
View from the end of the Red Trail

The above picture was taken through a gate. The trail beyond the gate is closed to visitors to slow erosion. The view beyond the gate is worth the hike up to it. I believe this point is called The Amphitheater. We went back the way we had come, when we hit the split in the trail we went up to hike along the to of the cliffs rather than go back the way we had come along the coastline.

The trail up above the the cliff tops is easy to follow. When reaching the top of The Shepherd’s Steps, going one way will take you down the challenging Yellow Trail where as going the other direction will take you along the Red Trail and back to the visitor center. Having hiked the Mourne Mountains the day before, we decided to head back to the visitor center and enjoyed the views along the way. Along the trail are a number of large bush-like plants with yellow flowers and thorns that, when in bloom, give off a faint hint of coconut. This is gorse and it is beautiful.

View from the top of the Red Trail

I absolutely loved visiting the Giant’s Causeway and not just the formation itself but the majestic views from the sea cliffs with a bight blue sky dotted with clouds and a teal and sapphire ocean we had a perfect day at the Causeway. Have you ever seen the Giant’s Causeway, if so what did you think? Let me know in the comments! Remember to leave no trace and safe travels.

Thank you KW Photography for allowing me to use your wonderful photos!

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8 comments on “Northern Ireland: Giant’s Causeway”

    1. If you get the chance to go, go. It is worth it. The visitor center actually has a short animated version of the myth that is kinda hilarious and they also show the scientific way the Causeway was formed.

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  1. Fabulous photos Laci. Its an incredible place to visit isnt it? Absolutely unique and so wild and wonderful that its tough to believe it was all created by nature alone. Glad you enjoyed your visit so much.

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