Walking In The Footsteps of Finn MacCool

Bushmills Travel Blog

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Mar's token back shot
We arrived at Giant's Causeway just in time because I was getting a bit antsy because we have been on the bus for quite some time and I really wanted to feel the ground beneath my feet. Before we disembarked the Paddywagon Bus, Joseph informed us that we can get to Giant's Causeway either by walking down the road from the carpark, by hopping on the Causeway Coaster shuttle bus for a nominal fee (I don't remember how much it cost), or by taking the Causeway Coast Cliff Path.

Mar and I really wanted to walk so we immediately set off on the Causeway Coast Cliff Path. Fortunately, we were given 2 hours to explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site...YAY! Even though the late morning sun was shining brightly, the wind was bone chillingly cold! Walking briskly definitely kept me warm.
The view of Port Granny, Giant's Causeway, and Port Noffer


The Causeway Coast Cliff Path was a very well kept dirt trail that hugged the edge of the headlands above Giant's Causeway. Other than short wooden fences at very scenic viewpoints along the trail, the only barriers between the cliff's edge and the trail were overgrown hedges or tall hardy winter grasses. The Causeway Coast Cliff Path actually is a section of the Causeway Coast Way, a 33 mile trail from Portstewart to Ballycastle.

The views along the Causeway Coast Cliff Path were just amazing...rugged cliffs and headlands, multicolored rocky coastline, brilliantly blue skies, and frothy waves crashing against the honeycombed basaltic rocks! It took us about half an hour to get from the Giant's Causeway Vistor Center to Shepherd's Steps, a flat rock staircase bordered by a wooden fence which descended the cliffs.
Kicked in the arse by the Giant's boot
I took much care not to slip on the rock staircase so I clung to the wooden fence every step down.

Local legend and folklore says that Giant's Causeway was built by giant Finn MacCool as a stone bridge to get to Scotland to fight the giant Benandonner, who had been taunting and mocking Finn from across the Channel. Finn was too tired to fight from building the causeway so Finn disguised himself as a baby sleeping in a huge crib. Benandonner crossed over to Ireland looking for a fight but Finn's wife, keeping up with her husbands ruse, told Benandonner that Finn was NOT around and to be quiet because their "baby" was sleeping. Benandonner was amazed at the baby's size and wondered how big Finn would be. Benandonner then proceeded to touch the "baby" when Finn bit off Benandonner's fingertip causing Benandonner to speculate on Finn's viciousness.
The basaltic rock columns of Giant's Causewayand Giant's chimney in the distance
  Frightened at the prospect of fighting the gigantic and ferocious Finn, Benandonner returned back to Scotland destroying the bridge as he retreated.

Remnants of the stone bridge and its hexagonal columns can also be seen on the island of Staffa in Scotland at Fingal's Cave. However scientific evidence indicate that Giant's Causeway and Fingal's Cave were formed during the early Tertiary period from much volcanic activity and tectonic plate shifting. Anyways...

About half way between the top of Shepherd's Steps and the bottom at Port Noffer is a geological feature called Giant's Organ. These very tall basalt columns, from a distance, look like the pipes in a pipe organ...hence the nickname. Up close though, these columns look like huge stacks of old tires...but still very impressive and very ancient!

We continued on the trail down to the shores of Port Noffer.
Stepping stones...
Sitting along the very rocky Port Noffer shores was another very distinguishable landmark...the Giant's boot.

From the boot we headed back below the Causeway headlands towards Giant's Causeway along the trail. It was much colder along the shoreline because we were completely shadowed by the steep headlands towering above us. At Giant's Causeway, I marveled at the honeycomb shaped columns, caused by lava outflows, and their geological history that is millions of years old...plus it was fun stepping on the stones without touching the cracks! I didn't count them but it is rumored that there are around 40,000 hexagonal shaped stones!

After the fun and awe had faded from seeing these ancient rock formations, Mar and I made our way along the trail back up to the visitor's center for a warm respite from the winter cold at the National Trust Tea Room before boarding the Paddywagon bound for parts further west.
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Mars token back shot
Mar's token back shot
The view of Port Granny, Giants C…
The view of Port Granny, Giant's …
Kicked in the arse by the Giants …
Kicked in the arse by the Giant's…
The basaltic rock columns of Giant…
The basaltic rock columns of Gian…
Stepping stones...
Stepping stones...
Giants organ...very tall basaltic…
Giant's organ...very tall basalti…
Atop the Causeway headlands
Atop the Causeway headlands
View of Portnaboe which means Por…
View of Portnaboe which means 'Po…
Hiking the Causeway Coast Cliff Pa…
Hiking the Causeway Coast Cliff P…
Atop the Causeway headlands lookin…
Atop the Causeway headlands looki…
Hiking the Causeway Coast Cliff Pa…
Hiking the Causeway Coast Cliff P…
View of Portnaboe and Camels Back…
View of Portnaboe and Camel's Bac…
The view of the Great Stookan from…
The view of the Great Stookan fro…
Blinked again...
Blinked again...
Port Granny and Giants Causeway
Port Granny and Giant's Causeway
Giants Causeway, Port Noffer, and…
Giant's Causeway, Port Noffer, an…
The Causeway Coaster bus at Giant…
The Causeway Coaster bus at Giant…
View of Great Stookan and Port Gra…
View of Great Stookan and Port Gr…
View of Great Stookan and Port Gra…
View of Great Stookan and Port Gr…
Giants Causeway headlands
Giant's Causeway headlands
Me atop the Causeway headlands wit…
Me atop the Causeway headlands wi…
Port Noffer with Port Reostan just…
Port Noffer with Port Reostan jus…
Port Noffer from the above at the …
Port Noffer from the above at the…
The Shepherds Steps leading down …
The Shepherd's Steps leading down…
View eastward from Port Granny of …
View eastward from Port Granny of…
The Shepherds Steps leading down …
The Shepherd's Steps leading down…
View of the headlands from Shepher…
View of the headlands from Shephe…
Viewing platform on Shepherds Ste…
Viewing platform on Shepherd's St…
The Giants Organ on the cliff fac…
The Giant's Organ on the cliff fa…
The Giants Boot and Port Noffer i…
The Giant's Boot and Port Noffer …
Mar at Giants Causeway
Mar at Giant's Causeway
Atop Giants Gate shadowed by Aird…
Atop Giant's Gate shadowed by Air…
Atop Giants Gate shadowed by Aird…
Atop Giant's Gate shadowed by Air…
Looking down Giants Causeway from…
Looking down Giant's Causeway fro…
Me and the hexagonal basalt rocks …
Me and the hexagonal basalt rocks…
Giants Causeway
Giant's Causeway
Giants Causeway
Giant's Causeway
Mar climbing up the hexagonal basa…
Mar climbing up the hexagonal bas…
Jumper...
Jumper...
Basalt rocks by the sea
Basalt rocks by the sea
Peek-a-boo!
Peek-a-boo!
Basaltic rock throne
Basaltic rock throne
The Great Stookan from Giants Cau…
The Great Stookan from Giant's Ca…
Hexagonal basaltic rock columns
Hexagonal basaltic rock columns
Rocks formations everywhere
Rocks formations everywhere
Looking through the Giants Gate f…
Looking through the Giant's Gate …
View west from the Giants Causewa…
View west from the Giant's Causew…
Accommodations available at Giant…
Accommodations available at Giant…
Bushmills in the distance
Bushmills in the distance
Our ride...
Our ride...
The road that the Causeway Coaster…
The road that the Causeway Coaste…
Port Granny (left corner), Giants…
Port Granny (left corner), Giant'…
Mar at the Causeway headlands edge
Mar at the Causeway headlands edge
The Great Stookan and Port Granny …
The Great Stookan and Port Granny…
View from the Causeway Coast Cliff…
View from the Causeway Coast Clif…
Port Noffer from Causeway Coast Cl…
Port Noffer from Causeway Coast C…
Heading down the Shepherds Steps
Heading down the Shepherd's Steps
Shepherds Steps...woah...looks pr…
Shepherd's Steps...woah...looks p…
Me at the viewing platform halfway…
Me at the viewing platform halfwa…
View at the viewing platform halfw…
View at the viewing platform half…
Me dwarfed by Giants Organ
Me dwarfed by Giant's Organ
Giants boot at Port Noffer
Giant's boot at Port Noffer
Giants Causeway
Giant's Causeway
Rocky seats
Rocky seats
Trying not to get my feet wet at G…
Trying not to get my feet wet at …
Clinging on for dear life...
Clinging on for dear life...
Danger...at Giants Causeway
Danger...at Giant's Causeway
Bushmills
photo by: aloneinthecrowd