For the last leg of our trip around Ireland, we paid a visit to one of Ireland’s most iconic spots, the Giant’s Causeway. Depending on which side of the fence you sit, it’s the result of a 60 million year old volcanic eruption….or…….
….It’s the beginning of a giant pathway made by a giant called Fionn mac Cumhaill hurling rocks into the sea so he could pop over to Scotland and have a bit of a dust up with his arch nemesis. That didn’t go so well and Fionn had to bid a hasty retreat, followed by the even larger Benandonner. Fionn’s wife was a smart cookie though and convinced the Scottish giant that her husband was in fact just an ickle baby and his daddy was much much bigger. That apparently worked. Those were the days eh?
Today, the Giant’s Causeway draws massive crowds and has changed quite a bit since I first visited the place with my mother and brother many years ago. There’s now a huge purpose built visitor centre which rudely gives the false impression you have to pay money to see this natural wonder.
I get that these beautiful sites need protection but I really struggle with the monetisation of natural places, it sits quite uneasily with me but at the same time I know it’s a necessary evil. You don’t have to pay to visit this natural wonder, I mean by all means you can if you want to but it is not a legal requirement of visitation.
When we visited the Causeway back in my childhood, the crowds were there but not in the numbers they are today. A constant loop of small buses ferries the less mobile and downright lazy along the path that leads down to the Causeway. It’s a lovely stroll indeed and the coastline around the Causeway is just as interesting as the main event.
If you want to get that classic shot of the Causeway, you’ll need to be up at the crack of dawn to beat the crowds, as well as the Causeway Police; high-viz toting employees who make sure that tourists don’t do anything stupid or get too close to the sea (It’s amazing how busy they were keeping people back from the slippy shoreline)
The Causeway itself is a fascinating piece of Geology/Giant Transit Infrastructure and it’s hard to believe that the hexagonal basalt columns are completely natural, all 40,000 of them.
And so that brings an end to our Irish adventure. We returned back to my parent’s house in North Dublin, ready for the next stage of our trip…..Iceland.