This weekend I flew over to Belfast to stay with Tom in his flat, explore the city and spend some time at the Giant’s Causeway. I had booked a B&B as a surprise (although I always manage to tell Tom about my surprises), so we drove the hour from Belfast to Balleymoney, and checked in to our delightful B&B – Burn Brig House.
The weather was gorgeous and with a rain forecast for the following day, so we decided to drive straight over to the Causeway at sunset.
The best thing was that as the Visitor’s Centre had closed, the Causeway was quite quiet and entry was free. Top tip – you can park in the Causeway Hotel carpark, and walk around the hotel and onto the blue trail without going through the Visitor’s Centre without having to pay the £9 entry charge (National Trust members go free).
The sun setting over the Giant’s Causeway was beautiful, and we were able to explore the rock stacks without too many other tourists.
Without any info from the centre, we tried ringing my Geography teacher Mum to find out more about how the rock formations were created.
According to the National Trust – ’60 million years ago the land here was different: the climate was warmer and vegetation thrived. Tectonic plates were moving – Europe and North America were moving apart. Magma from deep inside Earth spewed through cracks in the surface. Lava flowed. It cooled in contact with air and rock, hardening into basalt.
For hundreds of thousands of years, all was relatively quiet. Then the earth cracked open again and more lava forced its way out. This time, the lava cooled slowly and evenly in a deep pool. Cracks travelled through the cooling rock, creating the columns we see stretching up and making the honeycomb pattern we can see today. There are over 40,000 columns at the Giant’s Causeway, most are six-sided, but there are others with fewer or more sides. Later eruptions left these columns hidden deep underground.
It took millions of years of erosion for the columns to begin to be revealed. The sea level rose and fell and rose again. It wasn’t until after the last ice age, about 15,000 years ago, that the columns were revealed at the shore as they are today.
After an hour or so exploring, we drove a few towns over to The Van in Coleraine for the most incredible burgers and fries ever. Honestly, I couldn’t move for hours after. We shared a side of fries with Raclette and bacon lardons, holy yum. Please visit the wonderful owners if you’re ever in Northern Ireland, you will not regret it.
This morning after a delicious breakfast at the B&B, we drove back to the Giant’s Causeway to find out more about how it was formed, and to walk along another of the trails. I used my National Trust card for free entry and an audio guide, and we walked along the Red route. Apparently the coast here is the windiest place in Ireland, and wow could we feel it.
Neither of the trails are particularly tough, with an easy to follow path. However there are no fences, and with the wind howling, it was a little scary going to near the edge (especially for some…Tom!) For those that aren’t too mobile, there’s also a regular bus running between the Visitor’s Centre and the rocks.
The views from the top of the cliffs were spectacular, and it was interesting to see the area from a different perspective. We listened to the audio guides as we walked, however these were more local tales rather than scientific information.
I highly recommended a visit to this gorgeous and intriguing World Heritage Site if you ever travel to Northern Ireland. It’s an easy drive up from Belfast and could be a fun day trip or overnight stay.
Somehow, I’ve never seen pics of the Giant’s Causeway before or read anything about it but the rock formations look amazing! (not sure I’ve ever said that phrase before….haha). My husband travels to Belfast with work quite often so maybe I’ll add it to the list and tag along with him… Loving the dungarees too! x
You definitely should! This is my first time visiting and I know I’ll be back a lot more now! Thanks- the dungarees are so comfy, I know why I wore them when I was 8!
oh I LOVED Ireland soooo much. Are you near Cliff’s of Moeher?? that was amazing too
We were just at the Giant’s Causeway for 1 night but will definitely be back to that area so will have to check out the Cliff’s of Moeher! Pls let me know any other recommendations!!
Love the giants causeway. I lived in Dublin for 18 months so did a lot of travelling within Ireland- there are so many fantastic places to visit. I really miss it actually.
oh wow that looks amazing!! We still haven’t been to Ireland, keep going to Scotland and Wales as they’re so beautiful and there’s so much to do. Will have to make a trip!
Great pictures, hope you had a great time. Looks like the weather behaved itself too!
Ah I’ve never been to Ireland,only a week in Scotland with a couple days in London. Those views are gorgeous though!
Such beautiful photos! I can never decide whether or not to surprise my husband when I plan something fun for us. I’ve definitely just added The Giant’s Causeway to my travel list!!
I think it’s always worth trying!