Top 10 Giant’s Causeway Facts That Will Amaze You

By Aashima

The Giant’s Causeway is one of the most popular Northern Ireland attractions and a UNESCO heritage site.

While its natural beauty, stunning coastal views, and serene atmosphere are well known, there are many hidden facts about the Giant’s Causeway that even guides won’t be able to tell you.

This article contains some incredible facts about Giant’s Causeway. 

It has everything from its fascinating formation process to the unique legends surrounding its origin. 

Giant’s Causeway Geological Facts

Giant's Causeway Facts
Image: Creation.com

There are some geological facts about the Giant’s Causeway that never fail to surprise visitors.

It was formed million years ago

According to scientific theories, the Giant’s Causeway was formed 50 to 60 million years ago during the Paleocene Epoch.

The rocks were believed to have been formed when Antrim was subjected to intense volcanic activity.

The molten basalt penetrated through the chalk beds and formed the extensive volcanic plateau.

After the hot lava flowed and spread around, it met the sea, contracted or shrank and started to cool down, which caused cracks in the lava.

These cracks, in turn, created the unique hexagonal shape of the rocks we now see at the Giant’s Causeway.

The different shapes, sizes and heights of these rocks resulted from the different temperatures. Some of the stones are as high as 82 feet (25 meters).

It has perfectly fitted columns that look manmade

The Giant’s Causeway has an extraordinary geological feature: it is adorned with an impressive array of 40,000 perfectly fitted hexagonal columns.

These columns, primarily made of basalt, showcase a remarkable uniformity.

The precision with which these columns fit together appears almost man-made at first glance. Some of them are impossible to separate.

However, upon closer inspection, one can appreciate the intricate work of nature.

A bird’s-eye view makes the causeway look like a cobble-stoned street.

Its unique beauty made the Giant’s Causeway a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a top natural wonder in the United Kingdom.

Giant’s Causeway Historical Facts

Some of Giant’s Causeway’s facts resonate well with its history.

It was discovered by Bishop in 1692

Back in 1692, the Bishop of Derry officially “discovered” or found the Giant’s Causeway.

After the British took over Ireland, this bishop shared the news worldwide, and soon after, a fellow named Richard Bulkeley from Trinity College wrote about it.

People then debated whether it was made by nature or humans because nothing similar had been seen before.

So, the bishop’s discovery made the Causeway known to more people and soon became part of historical and scientific talks.

Also, two hundred years after the discovery of the Giant’s Causeway, it became home to Europe’s first hydroelectric tramway in 1883.

The tramway ran between the towns of Portrush and Bushmills and passed through the Giant’s Causeway along the way.

A Giant, Finn McCool, built Giant’s Causeway

According to local legends and Irish mythologies, Giant’s Causeway is believed to have been built by a giant named Finn McCool.

However, these legends have different versions, mentioning love and war situations.

According to a legend, Finn McCool built the causeway to reach a Scottish giant. But when he faced the giant’s size, he ran back and also lost his boot.

What makes this Giant’s Causeway story more realistic is the rock formation resembling a giant boot, believed to be McCool’s, adding a tangible twist to the myth.

According to another legend, he built the causeway to see his beloved living in Scotland but his grandmother didn’t want them to meet and destroyed it repeatedly.

These legends are so popular in Ireland that they are also taught in primary classes there.

Visitors believe these legends are one of the interesting facts about the Giant’s Causeway!

Do you know the Causeway connected to Scotland but was broken later? Want to know what happened to it?

Read the detailed history of the Giant’s Causeway from making to breaking. Also, learn about legends here.

The Causeway extended to Scotland

According to legend, the Giant’s Causeway was once a mystical bridge connecting Ireland and Scotland.

Astonishingly, supporting this notion, remnants of the causeway were discovered on the Scottish side, particularly in Fingal’s Cave on the uninhabited island of Staffa.

The presence of similar-looking hexagonal basalt columns in both locations serves as evidence for this ancient connection.

These hexagonal formations, shaped by geological processes, mirror each other across the Irish Sea.

Scientific explanations suggest the molten lava extended all the way to Scotland, resulting in the cave’s formation.

But these mythical tales and their association with real pieces of evidence add an enchanting layer to this link.

Interesting Facts about Giant’s Causeway

Some interesting Giant’s Causeway Facts are:

Giant’s Causeway is featured in Films

Giant’s Causeway has been featured in music, films, and even poetry.

It gained musical recognition when it was featured on the cover of Led Zeppelin’s iconic album “Houses of the Holy” in 1973.

The surreal landscape served as a backdrop for the album cover.

The renowned composer Felix Mendelssohn drew inspiration from the basalt columns at its other end, Fingal’s Cave.

This inspiration led to his composition “The Hebrides,” which is an orchestral masterpiece.

Many ships crashed near the Causeway

The beautiful rocks of the Giant’s Causeway have a dark side.

Over the years, the treacherous rocks surrounding the Causeway have been the site of numerous shipwrecks,

One infamous shipwreck near the Giant’s Causeway occurred in 1588 when the Spanish galleon Girona met its tragic fate.

Girona was caught in a fierce storm and swept onto the rocks, resulting in a shipwreck.

In the aftermath, divers ventured to the site, recovering valuable treasures such as gold, silver, and precious stones.

The funds acquired were then used to extend and modernize the fortress. Some of these precious stones can also be found in the Belfast Ulster Museum.

Giant’s Causeway is an excellent bird-watching spot

The Giant’s Causeway and its geological marvels are excellent bird-watching spots.

The cliffs and stone formations surrounding the causeway create a valuable habitat for various bird species, including cormorants, redshanks, fulmars, and eiders.

Besides the scenic beauty, visitors can enjoy observing these birds nesting in the rocks or exploring the shallow waters along the coast.

The diverse birdlife adds life to the natural beauty and views of the Causeway. 

Giant’s Causeway Fun Facts

Here are some fun facts about Giant’s Causeway:

The Causeway rocks are shaped like objects

One of the most interesting facts about Giant’s Causeway is that its rocks resemble various objects’ shapes.

Some formations are the Organ, Giant’s Boot, Shepherd’s Steps, Honeycomb, Giant’s Harp, Chimney Stacks, Giant’s Gate, and Camel’s Hump.

The rocks resemble various objects due to centuries of weathering and constant wind and water erosion.

These uniquely shaped rocks prove the legends and create a unique landscape that sparks curiosity about nature and its art.

If you plan to visit the Giant’s Causeway with kids, it will be a natural playground for their imagination.

The volcano that created the Causeway vanished

The once-active volcano associated with the formation history of the Giant’s Causeway has vanished.

The volcano’s presence might be erased by millions of years of erosion.

While the volcano itself is no longer visible, the hexagonal basalt columns that emerged from its activity are a testament to the ever-changing geological processes that shape the Earth’s surface.

Giant’s Causeway facts, like the vanished volcano, teach us how our planet evolved through different geological ages. 

FAQs about Giants Causeway Facts

1. What are some cool facts about the Giant’s Causeway?

There are many cool Giant’s Causeway facts, such as its formation due to a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago during the Paleocene Epoch.

The legend about the creation of Giant’s Causeway by Giant Finn McCool is also interesting.

2. What attracts people to the Giant’s Causeway?

People are drawn to the Giant’s Causeway for various reasons, like its stunning natural beauty, unique hexagonal basalt columns and scenic views.

The unique creation of nature makes it one of the most popular and most visited attractions in Northern Ireland.

3. What is so special about Giant’s Causeway?

The most special thing about the Giant’s Causeway is its extraordinary geological feature, with 40,000 perfectly fitted hexagonal columns made primarily of basalt.

This unique art looks manmade but is a surreal creation of nature.

4. What is the Giant’s Causeway and where is it located?

The Giant’s Causeway is a natural wonder consisting of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns resulting from an ancient volcanic eruption. 

It’s located on the northeast coast of Northern Ireland, within the County of Antrim.

5. How old is the Giant’s Causeway?

The formation of the Giant’s Causeway dates back approximately 50 to 60 million years ago during the Paleogene period, making it an ancient geological marvel.

6. Why is it called the Giant’s Causeway?

The name comes from legends suggesting that the causeway was built by a giant named Finn McCool as a path to Scotland to confront another giant. 

This adds a mythical dimension to its natural wonder.

7. Is the Giant’s Causeway a UNESCO World Heritage Site?

Yes, the Giant’s Causeway was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986 due to its outstanding geological significance, unique beauty, and cultural folklore.

8. What kind of wildlife can be seen at the Giant’s Causeway?

The area around the Giant’s Causeway is home to various wildlife, including seabirds like fulmars and kittiwakes, as well as rare plants and marine life in the surrounding waters.

9. What is the best time of year to visit the Giant’s Causeway?

The best time to visit the Giant’s Causeway is during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) months to enjoy milder weather and fewer crowds.

10. Are there any special activities or tours available at the Giant’s Causeway?

Visitors can enjoy guided tours that delve into the area’s geology, folklore, and history. 

The site also offers hiking trails with breathtaking coastal scenery.

11. What facilities are available at the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Center?

The Visitor Center at the Giant’s Causeway offers comprehensive facilities, including an interactive exhibition, a gift shop selling local crafts, a café serving local produce, and restrooms.

Featured Image: Nationaltrust.org.uk

Aashima (1)
About the author

Aashima is an avid traveler who seeks out thrills and lives a simple, peaceful life. Bright clear skies are her calling.