- We learn something every day, and lots of times it’s that what we learned the day before was wrong. Bill Vaughan
Go to the Giant's Causeway
Famed around the world for its columns of layered basalt, the Giant's Causeway is Northern Ireland's only UNESCO World Heritage Site. These polygonal-shaped natural features were created by a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago. Today, they are the prime focus of a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Three different periods of volcanic action birthed the Lower, Middle, and Upper Basalts. The Middle Basalt rock forms the famous amphitheaters of columns shaped like hexagons. That's the science, however according to legend it was carved out by the mighty giant Finn McCool who left behind his ancient home to do battle with his foe Benandonner across the water in Scotland. Various names bear testament to this engaging myth, The Giant's Boot, The Wishing Chair, The Camel, The Giant's Granny, and The Organ high up on the cliffs. Weather permitting you might even see Scotland in the distance.
Naturally, most visitors' first stop along this scenic coast is the World Heritage-listed Giant's Causeway. The surrounding coastline, however, is magnificent and shouldn't be bypassed. Many treats await, including the beautiful beaches, dunes, and rolling waves at Portrush (where there's a world-class golf course) and Portstewart. If you're feeling brave enough, either is perfect for a bracing dip. An easy ten-minute drive west, through the picturesque village of Bushmills, brings you to ruined medieval Dunluce Castle. It's impossible to miss, perched precipitously on the cliff edge, the kitchen having plunged into the thrashing waves below one terrible night many centuries ago. The only survivor, apparently, was the kitchen boy who was perched on the windowsill and had to be rescued. An easterly drive from the Giant's Causeway of around 15 minutes brings you to another of Ulster's must-sees, the vertigo-inducing Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, near the beautiful coastal village of Ballintoy. This is not one for the faint-hearted. The vertiginous bridge joins to a tiny island where fisherman would catch salmon. Access, if you dare, is free.