The Giants Causeway
The Giants Causeway, which has been rightly described as "one of the eight wonders of the world" is a striking array of basalt columns and outcrops which were formed some 60 million years ago by the cooling of lava, though the locals of previous generations had a much simpler theory....... They believed that the Causeway was built by the Irish Giant Finn MacCool who wanted to create a path across the sea to do battle with his Scottish counterpart !
One of the particular attractions is Port Cuan (or Coon) which is a huge cave accessed by boat. Once upon a time the tourist guides would blow bugles so visitors could experience the dramatic echo inside the cave's Gothic proportions.
Despite somewhat choleric view of Dr Samuel Johnston that the Giant's Causeway was worth seeing "but not worth going to see", it remains a major tourist attraction, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There is much geological history here, as well as outstanding sea views and challenging cliff-path walks which are rewarding but worthy of caution.
The area is also in the care of the National Trust, which also owns the period Causeway Hotel nearby. It is well-known for serving some of the heartiest food and drink in all of Ireland, including a "mixed-grill" of gargantuan proportions which almost requires two plates per person!
Nearby Bushmills was also the focus of a hitherto little known story whereby a former revolutionary new navigational code developed by the German Luftwaffe and named "Consol" was captured by the British during the Second World War. It was later adapted as a key navigational aid for European aircraft in peace-time. The Consol system was installed in a small building three miles outside Bushmills. It was opened in 1946 with the appropriate call signal "MWN-Mike-Whiskey-November", and for many years its 310 feet masts were a feature on the Causeway Coast landscape until it was overtaken by new technology and closed down on 30 September 1976.
The system was switched off some 90 minutes before the official time of midnight - so that the "farewell party" would reach the bar at the Bay View Hotel in Portballintrae before closing time.
The Bay View, a hostelry of character and popular hotel still entertains the weary or thirsty although the coastal village of Portballintrae has now been transformed by modern developments.
Any Ireland tours should include this coastline and in particular the Giants Causeway.
At Ireland Luxury Tours we spend a day on this coast on our tours of Ireland.
It is also worth a day tour out of Belfast if you are staying in a hotel or visiting on a cruise ship.