Giants Causeway Ireland Facts?

20+ Facts & Insights

Below we have compiled 20+ facts about the magical Giant's Causeway.

It's no wonder the area is one of the most popular tourist hot spots in Northern Ireland. Did you know? The Causeway is often referred to as the 8th wonder of the world?

With a mixture of amazing natural beauty on display, and tales of mystical legends.

Now let's combine that with such unusual geological rock formations, it is easy to understand why over one million visitors descend here every year.

Let's dive in below and discover some Giant's Causeway facts & bonus triva.

1 - Forty Thousand Basalt Columns

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The Giant's Causeway is renowned for its unique hexagonal basalt columns, formed from volcanic activity around 50 to 60 million years ago during the Paleogene Period.

It is estimated that approximately 40,000 columns exist in the area, the majority of which are hexagonal and 6 sided, though some have 5, 7 or 8 sides and have even taken a rounded shape due to eroison.

Local residents know them as Giant’s Eyes, referencing back to a mythical tale of Fin McCool.

2 - Polygonal Fracturing

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The polygonal fracturing of the basalt columns, is a result of contraction during the lava cooling process. Caused by the cold water of the North Atlantic Ocean, which helped create the distinctive shapes and hexagonal columns on display today.

3 - Hexagon Shapes In Nature

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Hexagon shapes show up quite abit in nature, from bees constructing honey combs and the formation of snowflakes. Even corals under the sea, why is this? Is it all part of a grand design, or just geometry and physics! You can learn more from the link here.

4 - Giant's Boot

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One of the most famous individual stones at the Giant's Causeway is known as the "Giant's Boot," resembling a large, worn boot. It is widely believed to belong to Finn McCool, the irish Gaint known in Irish folklore as Fionn Mac Cumhaill.

5 - Cosmic Connection

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Did you know the Giant’s Causeway and the Moon both have a cosmic connection in common? Tholeiitic basalt, which makes up the majority of the hexagonal columns, can also be found in many of the moon's regions with volcanic activity.

6 - Wildlife & Unique Plant Species

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From the sea to onland the Causeway hosts an array of stunning wildlife, basking sharks, dolphins and even killer whales have been spotted off the coast.

The area is home to a variety of plant life, and birds which have adapted to the challenging coastal environment. You can learn more about wildlife here.

7 - Music Album Cover

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The 1970s album cover by none other than Led Zeppelin, 'Houses of the Holy' was photographed on the Giants Causeway.

It rained for 10 continuous days during production, soaking the 2 blonde model kids seen clambering over the famous stones above.

Special lighting was used, which created an unearthly ambience during production. The children where reproduced digitally, with purple dye on their skin. This was done by post-processing during editing, which added to the vibe for the ablum.

8 - Ancient Volcano

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Just like the famous feuding Giants, the volcano that created the unusual columns millions of years ago has disappeared through eroisen.

The sea continues to shape the Giant's Causeway, and conservation efforts are ongoing to protect this natural wonder for future generations.

9 - Ship Wrecks

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The Giant's Causeway has claimed many ships over the years, this is due to the uncommon volcanic rocks formations and unpredictable weather. The area today has become a mecca for divers, in search of old treasure and wrecks to explore.

In 1967, Robert Sténuit a diver and treasure hunter from Belguin found the most famous ship of all, which sunk in 1588. A spectacular Spanish galleass known as La Girona.

The ship had just been repaired at Killybegs Harbour, due to fighting the British Navy as part of the Spanish Armada.

Due to the strong winds she was blown off course and met her fate at the Causeway. Only 9 people survived from a crew of 1300 onboard.

Artifacts from the ship can be found at the Ulster Museum, and also the Tower Museum in Derry which has a virtual tour about the Spanish Armada.

10 - Fingal's Cave Connection:

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Did you know ruins of a Giant's Causeway have been found on the Scottish side? This has lead to speculation that maybe the famous Giant's Causeway Story & legend maybe true.

Just off the coast of Scotland is the unoccupied island of Staffa and Fingal's Cave, it has many similarities to the Irish Causeway and is often referred to as the Scottish Causeway.

Fingal's Cave is 85 meter long and is believed to have been part of the same lava flow that created the Irish Causeway, although the myth does sound better.

11 - Walks & Trails

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The Causeway Coast offers some of the most scenic walks imaginable, and for all fitness levels. If you have time and like a walk then it's a must do, the National Trust have 4 official trails which begin and end at the Giant's Causeway.

If you want to view the Giant's Causeway from high above, do the Red Trail. At step 4 you will descend the shepards 162 steps, offering unforgetable views of the Grand Causeway, Giant's Organ, Giant's Boot.

For longer walks & loops popular with locals and Game of Thrones fans check out the top 10 walks here.

12 - Similar Structures

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The Giant's Causeway is not completely unique, simular structures appear around the globe in multiple locations. The image above is from the Australian Giant's Causeway.

The similarities are astounding, could this have been built by an ancient Ozzie Giant from down under? Nearly 30 other locations around the world bear a striking resemblence to the Irish Giant's Causeway.

13 - 1692 Bishops Discovery

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While locals have appreciated the Giant's Causeway splendour for thousands of years, the Causeway was not known outside of Ireland for its uniqueness.

Until the then Bishop of Derry visited in 1692 with a student. Fascinated by the raw beauty and rarity of the site, the Bishop reported his findings to colleagues in both London & Dublin.

A year or so later Richard Bukeley from Trinity College wrote a detailed paper about the Causeway, the paper was preseented to the Royal Academy which was shared far and wide.

14 - Potato - Spud Festival

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Did you know the entire Causeway coastal route is famous for growing a variety of potatoes? Randox a local Medical Research company host the yearly potato festival at the Causeway, a family fun day showcasing the very best in local Northern Irish foods & produce.

15 - UNESCO Status 1986

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The Giant's Causeway was offically recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986, enhancing this natural wonder even more so on the international world stage.

It is the only UNESCO site in Northern Ireland and is cared for by the National Trust, protecting the area for future generations to enjoy.

16 - Recent Addition

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The visitors centre opened in 2012, at a whopping cost of £18.5 million. Which was part paid by the National Lottery fund & Department of Enterprise Trade.

Although well designed to blend into the landscape, from the moment the doors opened it drew widespread objection & controversy.

This was due to religion and scientific viewpints clashing. It was also seen as the National Trust heavily monitizing the attraction, you can learn more here.

17 - Filming Location

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The Giant's Causeway has featured in everything from documentaries to music production over the years, but did you know it has also been a hot spot for drama & movie filming?

In recent years alone HBO'S Game of Thrones series and 3 Hollywood blockbusters have been filmed here, such as Dungeons & Dragons - Hellboy 2 - Dracula Untold.

You can find out more here.

18 - American Connection

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Did you know? About 425 million years ago Ireland was connected to the continent of Laurentia, and was attached to North America.

Volcanic eruptions and tectonic plate movement over the course of millions of years have pushed us 1000s of miles apart today.

19 - Hydro Electric Tramway 1883 - 1949

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Did you know ? The worlds first hydro tram was operated between Portrush & Bushmills, from 1883. This was later extended to the Giant's Causeway in 1898.

This was not due to tourism at the time, but soley for natural resources along the coast. Such as, bauxite, coal, limestone, iron, basalt & lignite industries.

Part of the railway track reopened in 2002, you can find out more here.

20 - Ownership & Costondians

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The National Trust acquired the Giant's Causeway in 1961, and maintain the site onbehalf of the people of Northern ireland.

So future generations and millions of visitors can enjoy it. The Causeway Coastal Route has become the most famous tourist attractions on the entire island of Ireland.

The Giants Causeway Story

  • Famous In Irish Folklore
  • Built by Extinct Volcano
  • 40 - 50 Million Years Old
  • 40000+ Hexagonal Columns
  • Spanish Armada Shipwreck
  • NI'S Only UNESCO Site
  • Popular Filming Location
  • Rare Wildlife & Flowers
  • First Hydro Tramway In Ireland
  • Free To Explore & Visit
  • Visit The Visitors Centre
  • Explore The Stunning Causeway
  • Hike The Clifftop Trials
  • Find The Giants Boot & Organ
  • Get Some Pictures For Insta
  • Spot Unique Birds & Wildlife
  • Sit On The Wishing Chair
  • Grab Food @ The Nook
  • Discover The Myths & Legends
  • Learn About The Science
  • Visit Nearby Attractions

The Giant's Causway is a formation of 40000+ stunning basalt columns, which where formed millions of years ago.

The area is a famous tourist attraction, and UNESCO World Heritage site.

40 - 50 Million years ago, approx.

The Hexagonal shapes where caused by polygonal fracturing.

This is a result of contraction, during the lava cooling process.

By the cold currents of water from the nearby North Atlantic Ocean.

This process has helped create the distinctive shapes, and awesome hexagonal columns on display today.

The Giants Causeway is 100% natural, created by mother natures volanic activity 40-50 million years ago.

The Causeways famous Hexagonal stones, and walking trails are free to explore.

The Visitors centre does cost to enter, this is a recent addition to the Causeway and by no means a must do!