The Giant’s Causeway is Northern Ireland’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Giant’s Causeway, renowned for its polygonal columns of layered basalt, is the only World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland. Resulting from a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago, this is the focal point of a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and has attracted visitors for centuries. It harbours a wealth of local and natural history.
The formation of the Giant’s Causeway was due to intense volcanic activity. Lava welling up through fissures in the chalk bed formed a “lava plateau”. Three periods of volcanic activity gave rise to the Lower, Middle and Upper Basalts, and it’s the Middle Basalt rock which forms the famous amphitheatres of hexagonal columns in the Causeway.
The Giant’s Causeway is steeped in myth and legend. Some say it was carved from the coast by the mighty giant, Finn McCool who left behind an ancient home full of folklore. Look out for clues of the existence of the mighty giant, Finn McCool – including Giant’s Boot, The Wishing Chair, The Camel, Giant’s Granny and The Organ. On a clear day, you might even catch a glimpse of Finn’s Scottish opponent, Benandonner’s homeland of Scotland.
Sea birds can be seen off the coast around the Causeway, with species such as fulmar, petrel, cormorant, shag, redshank guillemot and razorbill being frequently observed. Rare and unusual plant species including sea spleenwort, hare’s foot trefoil, vernal squill, sea fescue and frog orchid can be found on the cliffs and nearby rock formations.
Guided tours of the Causeway are available by arrangement for groups of more than 15 people, and there is access for visitors with disability. The area is suitable for picnics, cliff and country walks, and dogs are welcome on leads.
The New Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre – ‘Commended’ Best Visitor Experience, NITA Awards 2013.
Rising and blending into the landscape, with walls of glass, basalt columns and a state of the art interior designed by award winning architects Heneghan-Peng, the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre is truly innovative. The energy efficient building boasts a number of exhibition areas and a grass roof with 360 degree views of the Causeway coastline. Explore the interactive spaces, watch Finn McCool on the big screen and unlock the secrets of this inspirational landscape.
Conservation is at the heart of the project and the new visitor facilities complement the surrounding landscape, ensuring the sustainable management of this important heritage asset. Innovative interpretation will help to enhance your experience and take you through a journey of discovery learning about the area’s history, geology, biodiversity and myths and legends. The new multi-media guide, is one of the most advanced audio and multi-media handsets available and will be offered to all visitors to the centre. It will provide high quality interpretation in a variety of languages as well as services for people with hearing and sight difficulties. This will ensure a unique visitor experience and perspective on the Giant’s Causeway.
The visitor experience includes:
• A new state of the art visitor centre featuring an illuminating exhibition showcasing the stories and the science behind the Giant’s Causeway
• Innovative pocket size audio guide in a variety of languages
• A grab and go style café
• A new retail facility introducing new and exclusive local products
• Tourist Information
• Fully accessible toilets and a Changing Places facility for people with disabilities
Please note, the Tourist Information service at the centre is free to access.
For visitors who do not wish to avail of the facilities on-site, alternative parking is available at the Railway car park adjacent to the Causeway (£6 per day), from which visitors can walk to the stones for free.
Alternative catering is provided at the site by the Causeway Hotel, The Nook and McConaghy’s shop.
Visitors wishing to avail of the fantastic new visitor experience can buy tickets in the following ways: pre-purchase online at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/giantscauseway, at the park and ride facility in Bushmills village (March – October), or upon entry to the visitor centre. See Information tab for prices, booking details and opening times.
Download the Giant’s Causway pre-visit leaflet for more information.