Probably the most famous natural monument in Northern Ireland are the famous basalt columns known as the Giant's Causeway. Tourists from all over the world come here for this phenomenon created by nature and it has also been rightly included among the UNESCO monuments. The giant walkway can be found on the north coast, which is itself a showcase of the most scenic views in Northern Ireland. This monument gave its name to the whole scenic route in the north that is worth riding – Causeway coastal road.
According to legend, however, the origin was a little different and hence the name Obrův chodník. It is said that this is how the Irish giant named Finn MacCool once decided to challenge the Scottish giant Benandoner to a duel. The problem, however, was that no ship was large enough to carry at least one of them across the sea to an opponent. The Irish giant did not hesitate and built a sidewalk of large stone pillars that led between Ireland and Scotland. However, the Scottish giant, who was larger, set out on the sidewalk to the Irish coast to accept the challenge to fight. When Benandonner's wife saw a large Scottish giant in front of their house, she quickly slipped her husband into children's clothing. When Finn MacCool saw him, he was terrified, because how big a father could be from this giant child. In terror, he fled back to Scotland and demolished the stone bridge behind him for safety.
Formation of blocks
In reality, however, the Giant's Causeway was formed by volcanic activity about 50–60 million years ago. It consists of about 40,000 basalt columns on an area of less than 300 meters along the coast, which gradually enter the sea. The lava flowing from the earth's core solidified on contact with the cold ocean water, and the characteristic hexagonal shape of the block was given to the columns by basalt rock.
Visitors are allowed to walk along this million-year-old paved nature trail, where the individual blocks are glued together and resemble honeycombs in shape.
You will also find a basalt organ similar to the ones we know from the Czech fairy tale The Proud Princess (Panská skála). The highest ones reach a height of 12 meters and you can get to them along the so-called sheep trail.
When visiting, you can go on a shorter circular path, which will take you from sea level to the cliff, from where you have the entire Giant's Walk in the palm of your hand. A short walk will start you climb around the stone organ, maybe a one-way walk to the view of the stone chimney and then straight up to the top of the cliff. The Sheep Trail is called because shepherds came here with stray sheep on their backs, transporting them back to the cliff to pasture.
Stone utensils are often shaped by nature into shapes that are familiar to us in shape. Such formations will then be given their names, such as a stone chimney (pictured) or a camel.
View from the cliff
The path is not very barrier-free, after all a few dozen steps have to be crossed, but the reward is beautiful and distant views of the entire Giant's Walk, endless pastures as well as the ocean all around.
It takes about an hour to get to Belfast by car. Public transport is available all day, so if you don't dare to drive on the left, it's easiest to take one of the many Belfast tours that run daily by bus. You will also find a visitor center with souvenirs and the opportunity to buy audio guides. But if you are not interested in it and you do not pay for parking, then you have free entry to the Giant's Causeway.
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