22 Mar The Giants Causeway , Co. Antrim
Ever since 1693 , when the Royal Society first publicised it as one of the great wonders of the world , the Giants Causeway has been a major tourist attraction on any tours of Ireland , or Belfast tours. It is without doubt a must see attraction !
The highly romanticised pictures of the polygon basalt rock formations by the Dubliner Susanna Durry , which circulated throughout Europe in the 18th century , did much to popularise the Causeway: two of them are on show in the Ulster Museum in Belfast.
For sheer “otherworldiness” , the Causeway can’t be beaten , and thats something to find out on Ireland tours.
Made up of an estimated 37,000 black basalt columns , each a polygon – hexagons are by far the most common , with pentagons second , though sometimes the columns have as many as ten sides – it’s the result of a massive subterrainian explosion , some 60 million years ago , that stretched from the Causeway to Rathlin and beyond to Islay, Staffa (where is was responsible for the formation of Fingal’s Cave) and Mull in Scotland. A huge mass of molten basalt was spewed out onto the surface , which , on cooling , solidified into what are , essentially , crystals.
Though the process was simple , it’s difficult , when confronted with the impressive regular geometry of the columns , to believe that their production was entirely natural.
The Irish folk versions of their creation are certainly more appealing.