April in Ireland: Giant’s Causeway

I remember the first time I saw a photo of the Giant’s Causeway (not long ago, embarrassingly), hypnotized by the black hexagons under sherbet sunsets.  “This has got to go on my bucket list! Where on earth is this place?”

Ireland?  Really?

Well, Northern Ireland.  Yes, it’s a different country, even though I never knew much about the distinction growing up.  Ireland was Ireland: one island shaped like a happy ghost floating toward England (seriously, look at it). Of course now I know more about what separates Ireland into two countries, and I’m glad I finally made it up to the North.

On this blessedly sunny day, I was tagging along with my aunt and two cousins, one of whom studies at Queen’s University in Belfast.  I intended to listen to our tour guide’s speech about how the rocks formed, but the views were too distracting.  So I lagged behind to snap photos and just Googled it afterwards.

The Giant’s Causeway is made up of “40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption.”  If I were my eco-genius sister, I would explain this whole process further.  Instead, I’ll give you a link to the Wikipedia article and a bunch of pretty pictures.

The more exciting version of the story is that the Causeway was built by an Irish giant, Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn MacCool).  Finn was challenged to a fight with the much larger Scottish giant, Benandonner.  He built the Causeway between Ireland and Scotland so the two could meet.  In one version of the story, Finn sees how enormous Benandonner is from afar and realizes he can’t possibly beat him.  So, Finn’s wife Oonagh dresses him up as a baby and puts in him a cradle just in time for Benandonner’s arrival.  When the Scottish giant sees the size of the baby, he decides he’s no match for its father, and turns around and runs back to Scotland.  Irish ingenuity triumphs!

Giant's Causeway

Can you spot the camel?

Giant's Causeway

Rocks affected by “onion skin weathering.”

Giant's Causeway

Not bad for a school field trip.

Giant's Causeway

Rosie

Giant's Causeway

Grass or velvet?

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Up next:  Belfast and Dublin!

54 comments

  1. Reblogged this on nikkistravelingfashion and commented:
    I hiked up this mountain in 2007 and still have a picture of it hanging in my living room! Beautiful picture but does not do the real thing justice. There is the best little restaurant just at the peak that has food to die for. If you are ever in Ireland definitely a sight to see!

  2. Wow! Amazing! Your photos are incredible! Ireland has always been one of the top places on my travel list! This makes me even more excited for when I finally go! 🙂

  3. So stunning. ❤ I had no idea about the story behind the causeway. I love those kind of old tales. It looks like beautiful weather there too (In spite of you being all dressed up in hat and scarf. Haha)

  4. Thank you for the flag on my blog. The images are geologically volcanic, so Ireland is everywhere. I was still not there in April – good trip.

    • I imagine the wind must have been brutal that time of year. We really lucked out. This was early April, and the skies were clear, the wind was mild. I suppose when visiting Ireland, the weather is like an unpredictable and grouchy travel partner you just have to deal with. 🙂

  5. Great photos! I have been following your blog for a few months now. If you are interested in a few other things to do in Ireland I have been living in Dublin for the past 5 months and have lots of posts on what I have been up to here 🙂

  6. Absolutely love your blog. Been following it for some time now, discovered it through looking for volunteer opportunities abroad. Ireland is on the top of my list to go to, so this post was great! And that grass really does look like velvet 🙂

    • Victoria, thank you! Please let me know if I can be of any help with your search for volunteer opportunities. GoOverseas.com might be a good place to start.

      Love the look of your blog, by the way!

  7. “So I lagged behind to snap photos and just Googled it afterwards.” – haha, that’s exactly my way of traveling! I still remember clearly this one time I visited Warsaw in 2011 (I’m Polish, btw). I was with a friend and we noticed this nice, white building – we were quite sure *we’ve seen it somewhere before* – as in, somewhere in TV – but could not pinpoint what it was. We spent a good deal of time discussing it (this was before the mobile internet hit it; also, I just think it’s funnier to discuss than to check), but got nowhere.
    Well, turned out it was an equivalent of the White House – the Presidential Palace. I still laugh out loud every time I remember what morons we were :D. But it turned out to be a great memory as well 🙂

    Also, I vote velvet. No way this could be grass.

    • I like your style, girl. I’m totally an aimless wanderer who struggles with scheduling during my trips. But I never fail to get myself into interesting adventures and unlikely locales! And I’m so jealous that you got to explore Poland… totally should have done it while I was in Eastern Europe. Keep traveling lousily! 😉

  8. You know, in making my bucket list of top 5 dream destinations, I inadvertently left the Emerald Isle off the list, to the mortification of one of my good blogger friends. Was I wrong to leave it off?. Your pics are great

    • It’s hard for me to say, Rajiv… Ireland has always been so familiar to me. 🙂 What are the other options? There are so many beautiful places to visit, I think it’s impossible to choose only five!

      • Well, out of the top of my head I listed Mongolia, Iceland, Wales& Scotland, Slovenia, New Zealand. There is, of course, Scandinavia, the African Continent, the Xinjiang province of China & Tibet, South America…….That I left out!

  9. missaaadelaide

    I absolutely loved Northern Ireland!
    I also went to the really old swinging bridge, I thought that area was so pristine and beautiful! Did you get a chance to go to Derry/Londonderry? The history and city is so cool!
    Your photos are awesome too =)

    • Pristine is definitely the word for this area, Adelaide! I didn’t get to visit the old bridge, but my cousin told me it’s a great experience. Also no Derry, just a couple days in Belfast. This is why I tell people I could visit Ireland a thousand times and not see everything I want to see. 🙂

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