It took a volcano, 60 million years, and a giant to build this natural wonder

July 18, 2014, 1 p.m.
giants causeway in ireland

Northern Ireland's only World Heritage Site is a real doozy!

Welcome to the Giant's Causeway, a truly amazing location in Northern Ireland where polygonal columns are stacked against each other in such a strange way that it became the source of fantastic folklore. Geologically speaking, the site is the work of a volcanic eruption some 60 million years ago. During three different periods of volcanic activity, lava welled up to form three plateaus called the Lower, Middle and Upper Basalts. As the lava of the Middle Basalt cooled, cracks formed which created columns. Then, volcanic activity covered this up until, through erosion, the Middle Basalt with its amazing 40,000-plus columns was once again revealed. And this is when the legends started. The story goes that the causeway was really built by a giant named Fionn mac Cumhaill, or Finn MacCool, so that he could battle another giant from Scotland. There are rock relics of the legend, rocks that resemble bits of MacCool’s habitation, including the Giant’s Boot, the Organ, the Giant’s Harp and the Chimney Stacks among others. No matter what version of history you like best, you'll definitely want to make this a stop on your journey if you ever visit Ireland.

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