A Weekend Trip to the Giant's Causeway
Nothing planned this weekend? There are so many wonderful spots around Northern Ireland that are accessible by public transport, why not take a trip to the epic Giant's Causeway? Sami's here to tell you all about it.
My favorite day of the week has always been Wednesday. When the days feel long, I know that I am halfway through the week and I only have two more days until the weekend. Wednesdays give me a sense of anticipation. I know that the weekend is just around the corner and Wednesday is a perfect day of the week to plan events for Saturday and Sunday!
Weekends are made for exploring
Living in a new country, the weekend has excited me even more since it gives me the opportunity to explore. So, low and behold, when Wednesday rolled around a few weeks ago, I knew that it was time to plan something special. I didn’t know where I wanted to go, but I knew that I wanted to go somewhere different – I love being by the water and hiking. I wanted to see something that I’d never seen before, so I decided that I was going to go to the Giant’s Causeway.
Only a bus ride away
As Saturday morning rolled around, three of my friends and I boarded a bus to get to the Giant’s Causeway. The bus ride was just under two hours, but the time flew by since I did one of my favorite things – took a nap!
Just shy of noon we got to the Giant’s Causeway. When we jumped out of the bus, I saw the scenery for the first time.
It was BEAUTIFUL
As we got off the bus we could see the cliffs and where the brown dirt met the blue sea. This is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited in my life. I couldn’t wait to explore and to learn more about this unique rock structure and land.
UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Giant’s Causeway is Northern Ireland’s only UNESCO World Heritage and one of 32 World Heritage sites in the United Kingdom. The sheer amount of black basalt columns leave many to wonder ‘how exactly did the Giant’s Causeway come to be?’
Legend has it that the stones are from the Giant Finn McCool/ Mac Cumhaill who saved the land from the Giants in Scotland (Benandonner) by ripping up the ground and throwing it into the sea. From watching the rocks fall into the water, Finn realized that he could make a causeway (bridge) over to Scotland (Fingal's cave, Island of Staffa). There are many different versions of this story and I’ve outlined three of my favorites below:
- Finn wanted to build the causeway since he fell in love with someone in Scotland
- Finn built the causeway to have a dual with Benandonnar. When they dueled, Finn won.
- Finn built the causeway to have a dual with Benandonnar. When Finn arrived to Scotland, he saw the size of Benandonner and knew that he could not fight him, so he had to con him by dressing up as a child to give him the allusion that if Finn’s child is that big, than Finn himself is going to be massive. When Benandonner realized this, he ran back to Scotland, along the way tearing down the causeway to ensure that Finn never followed him.
Scientifically, the black basalt columns were created by volcanic activity and the flow of lava going through the rocks. However, I will leave it up to you to decide which story you’d like to believe (I’ve always loved a good romance story so I am a strong believer that the causeway was created out of love).
When we arrived, we first walked around the cliff area, before making our way down to explore the black basalt columns. When we got down, I couldn’t believe how perfect all the rocks were. I knew that they were all hexagons, however the way that they were carved out did look like it was done with exact precision. When you climb up to the top of the rocks, you look out into the vast sky, while listening to waves crash against the rocks of the causeway.
The views are worth the climb!
After hopping around the rocks, two of my friends and I decided to climb the cliff of the causeway to get scenic views of the land. Though the cliff was steep, the view was well worth the climb. Not only could you look down to see the water, but you could look out to see the Causeway coast (also part of the UNESCO World Heritage sites).
To end the day, we got some hot chocolate and then boarded the bus to head back to Belfast. After a day filled with adventure, we all had a relaxing bus ride which was perfect for napping and dreaming about the legend of the Giant’s Causeway.
Why not go yourself?
I definitely recommend visiting the Giant’s Causeway. It was such a unique place due to the geographic formation of the rocks. Additionally, the proximity to Belfast makes it a great day trip! Unlike me however, I recommend you bring a rain jacket, layers, and an umbrella so that you can be warm while enjoying the trip!
If you live in Queen's Accommodation a trip to the Causeway is usually organised by the accommodation team and often at discounted bus rates- look out for it in the accommodation newsletter!
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Conflict Transformation & Social Justice | Postgraduate Student | Maryland USA
I've always been interested in the Middle East, specifically the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and non-profits that work towards building bridges between divided societies.
I am from Maryland, USA (about a nine-hour flight from Queens) and graduated in 2022 from Susquehanna University with a double major in Communication Studies & International Studies.
Outside of academics, I am a member of the equestrian team, Jewish Society, and wakeboarding club. I love meeting new people and I look forward to chatting with you.