Monday, May 18, 2009

Giant's Causeway

I didn't know about this amazing natural feature until just a couple of months ago. The "Giant's Causeway" is a stretch of coastline in Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland. Ancient volcanic activity has left a series of 40,000 basalt columns that are mostly hexagonal in shape and range roughly 15" to 28" wide and up to 36' high. They form stepping stones from the cliffs into the sea. According to legend, the causeway was made by Irish folk hero Finn McCool to allow his rival, Scottish giant Benandonner - who couldn't swim, to cross the channel and fight. To buy himself some time to rest, Finn disguised himself as a baby. Benandonner was intimidated, extrapolating the size and strength of his enemy from that of the baby, and ran back across the causeway, breaking it up in the process. Although historically there have been some access issues, it may now be visited day or night via a public causeway that was established in the 1800s. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1986 and is considered one of the greatest natural wonders in the U.K. If you click TAKE OFF here, you can choose Giant's Causeway on the map for a narrated aerial view.

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