50 or 60 million years ago, the Antrim area of Ireland was subject to intense volcanic activity. During this period a lava plateau was formed by the eruptions.
As the lava cooled it contracted and the flow was constricted thus creating the unusal rock formations. And they really are most unusal.
Some of them are hexagons, octagons, and they look as though they were hand cut to fit together.
Some look like giant prisms.
And others like stepping stones.
What facinated me was how they shot straight up and factured vertically instead of horizontally.
Some of these columns shoot 36 feet into the air.
The Irish are known for their blarney. Just some. One version of the legend that goes along with the Giant's Causeway is that it was created by a giant whose name was Fionn Mac Cumhaill, ( Finn McCool). Fionn spent many days trying to create a bridge to Scotland so he could face another giant named Bennandonner. Exhausted from his labors, Fionn lay down and fell asleep. Bennandonner grew weary of waiting for his apponent and crossed the bridge to meet him. Fionn's wife, Oonagh saw how much larger Bennandonner was than Fionn and grew concerned for her husband. She covered Fionn with a blanket and told Bennandonner that he was her baby. Seeing how big the child was, Bennandonner grew concerned about just how big Fionn could be. He ran across the bridge destroying it and throwing the stones into the ocean so that Fionn could never get to him.
There are similar stones to the Causeway found at Fingals Cave on the Isle of Staffa in Scotland.
After leaving the Causeway we walked back up the hill, about a 2 mile walk and then down to the bottom on the other side to a small miniature train station. Having driven all over Scotland and having done a fair amount of driving in Ireland already, we decided to take a ride on the small train. I borrowed Mitsi's picture of the engine because her's turned out much better than mine.
I hope the engineers of these small trains were paid well, because they came off of them pitch black from the smoke. They were steam engines and the oily smoke that billowed out of them stained their skin. It did give you an idea of what it would be like to travel on a train in the 1800's. I've often read in westerns and in some books about India how the smoke would come in the windows and stain the peoples clothing. But in the heat, I suppose you'd do anything for a breeze.
I did manage to get some wonderful pictures of the Irish scenery even though we couldn't lower the windows of the train.
We left the train and went on to the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. Carrick-a-Rede means "a rock in the road". For 350 years there have been rope bridges built to span the space between the mainland and this small island. The first were built by fishermen so they could salmon fish from the island. From earliest time until the mid 1960's almost 300 fish a day were caught. Then it trickled to 300 a season. Now the salmon are gone and fishermen don't bother any longer.
Walking down to the bridge we were able to take some wonderful shots of the Irish coastline.
I suffer from Vertigo. Very -very-bad vertigo. James Stewart had nothing over on me in the movie Vertigo. I knew I couldn't walk across the bridge so I took pictures of Mitsi while she did it. So, she has proof she walked across.
The current bridge was created in 2008 and is made from wire and rope so it is very safe.
For those of you who are like me and suffer with vertigo, you can take a vertual tour of what it's like to stand on the bridge and look around at this site.
While I waited for Mitsi to come back a little bird kept me company.
Tomorrow we'll go to the harbor at Armoy, Belfast Castle, and the Cat Gardens and take a peak at the Zoo.