Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast

Giant’s Causeway. Hexagonal basalts (Chmee/Wikipedia,CC BY 3.0).

 United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
County Antrim, Northern Ireland
N55 15 0 W6 29 7
Date of Inscription: 1986
Minor boundary modification inscribed year: 2016
Criteria: (vii)(viii)
Property : 239.405 ha
Ref: 369bis

Breathtaking Causeway coast scenery (Bishib70/Flickr,CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

The Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast is a spectacular area of global geological importance on the sea coast at the edge of the Antrim plateau in Northern Ireland. The most characteristic and unique feature of the site is the exposure of some 40,000 large, regularly shaped polygonal columns of basalt in perfect horizontal sections, forming a pavement. This dramatic sight has inspired legends of giants striding over the sea to Scotland. Celebrated in the arts and in science, it has been a visitor attraction for at least 300 years and has come to be regarded as a symbol for Northern Ireland.

The property’s accessible array of curious geological exposures and polygonal columnar formations formed around 60 million years ago make it a ‘classic locality’ for the study of basaltic volcanism. The features of the Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast site and in particular the strata exposed in the cliff faces, have been key to shaping the understanding of the sequences of activity in the Earth’s geological history.

Criterion (vii): The cliff exposures of columnar and massive basalt at the edge of the Antrim Plateau present a spectacle of exceptional natural beauty. The extent of visible rock sections and the quality of the exposed columns in the cliff and on the Causeway combine to present an array of features of considerable significance.

Criterion (viii): The geological activity of the Tertiary era is clearly illustrated by the succession of the lava flows and interbasaltic beds which are in evidence on the Causeway Coast. Interpretation of the succession has allowed a detailed analysis of Tertiary events in the North Atlantic. The extremely regular columnar jointing of the Tholeiitic basalts is a spectacular feature which is displayed in exemplary fashion at the Giant’s Causeway. The Causeway itself is a unique formation and a superlative horizontal section through columnar basalt lavas.

Suggested Base:

Ballymena is a town in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Ballymena means “Middle Town” in Irish, and rightly so, with a location right in between the Glens of Antrim and the fertile Bann valley, the North Coast and the Capital. It makes a good base to explore these places whilst sampling local life. M2 runs by the town. The town is only about 30 mins drive from Belfast and Belfast International Airport and Larne harbour. Driving in Ballymena can be confusing as there are many one-way streets and frequent lane changes. However, the town is well signposted. Congestion is moderate but parking is abundant and quite cheap. Like most places, taxis are expensive. There are frequent buses throughout the area and the town itself is quite big, but it is not hard to navigate on foot. Ballymena is seen by many as the best place to shop in Northern Ireland after Belfast (and with cheaper parking!) and so makes it a good place to spend a sunny or rainy day. [read more]

Belfast (Irish: Béal Feirste, meaning “the mouth of the river Farset”) is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland and the second largest city on the island of Ireland after Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland. Situated at the mouth of the River Lagan on Belfast Lough, Belfast is surrounded by low hills and has a population of 267,500. This figure refers only to the Belfast City Council area whose borders date back to the 1950. Since then the city has expanded and the population of the Belfast Metropolitan Urban Area which incorporates the surrounding suburbs and towns is 483,000. Belfast gained notoriety around the world during The Troubles (1969-1997) due to the frequency of gun and bomb attacks in the city. Parts of Belfast were effectively no-go areas for security forces and therefore took on a lawless quality. Today, the scars of Belfast’s troubled past make it an intriguing destination for travellers from around the world. [read more]

Glasgow (Gaelic: Glaschu, Scots: Glesga) is the largest city in Scotland and the fourth-largest in the UK; with a population of about 600,000 in the city itself and over 2,000,000 if the surrounding towns of the Clydeside conurbation are taken into account. Located at the west end of Scotland’s Central Belt on the banks of the River Clyde, Glasgow’s historical importance as Scotland’s main industrial centre has been challenged by decades of socio-economic and political change alongside various regeneration efforts. Despite this, Glasgow remains one of the nation’s key economic centres outside of London. Glasgow was awarded the European titles of City of Culture (1990), City of Architecture and Design (1999) and Capital of Sport (2003). In 2008, Glasgow became the second Scottish city to join the UNESCO Creative Cities initiative when it was named as a UNESCO City of Music. In preparing its bid, Glasgow counted an average of 130 music events a week; ranging from pop and rock to Celtic music and opera. [read more]


3 Replies to “Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast”

  1. The north coast is stunning and the causeway is a particularly awe-inspiring sight. Every time I come here I appreciate the changes with the light, the weather and the mist.


  2. We visited this popular tourist attraction because it came highly recommended by almost everyone we know who has visited Ireland and/or Northern Ireland. It did not disappoint. The massive sea cliffs are truly out of this world. It was a clear highlight from our 2 week road trip around Ireland.


  3. I had never been to the Giant’s Causeway before and was hoping it would live up to my expectations. Thankfully, it did. Despite having a working knowledge of geography, I prefer to let my inner child out and believe in the myth of how the causeway was created.


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