Surely you have heard of the Giant’s Causeway, located on the north coast of Ireland. The legend of how these hexagonal columns originated as a result of a Struggle of Giants, like the title of that beautiful song and the scientific explanation of how they arose. The Giants Causeway is unique, and no one leaves Ireland without seeing it because it would be unforgivable oblivion. It’s situated between the towns of Derry and Belfast, on the north coast of the island of Ireland.
When you get to the causeway, you will find a very large parking lot that is usually almost full. Also, it is necessary to pay 8 dollars for parking. It is suggested not to leave the car there. If you follow a little east to Belfast, you will find, in half a mile away, another smaller parking which is free.
If you prefer to go by bus, this costs about £ 15 from Belfast. Once you arrive in the area, you will see a small road that goes down to the coast. You can take the bus down to the area where the columns are or walk (they are about two miles). The walking tour is well worth it because the views of the cliffs are sensational.
After the walk, what everyone expects: the forty thousand magical columns that form the Giant’s Causeway or the Giants. Ask the employees. They will inform you of any doubts about these hexagonal and pentagonal columns.
Legend of the origin of the Giant’s Causeway
The most interesting fact about the origin of the Causeway was the reason for the name “Giant’s Causeway.” It is a fascinating natural geological history that links mythological tales, according to the Celtic legend. It narrates the struggle between two giants, one Irish named Finn MacCool and another giant of the Scottish island of Staffa (where there are also columns of basalt), that fought each other throwing stones.
The stones that were thrown formed the columns of basalt in both places and those that were in the middle created a road between Staffa and Ireland. Staffa’s Giant crossed it with intent to kill the Irish Giant. But luckily for him, the woman of the Irish giant realized and had the idea to dress her husband in baby clothes.
When the Giant of Staffa saw a baby so large, he thought his father would be three times bigger, so that’s why he fled hastily to Staffa, treading so hard on the rocks of the Giant’s Causeway that he drowned them and drowned in the sea. Thus was born the legend about these magical columns.
The scientific explanation of Giant’s Causeway
About 60 million years ago, the rapid cooling of lava from a volcanic caldera gave rise to the formation of some 40,000 columns of hexagonal basalt which now run through this region of the north coast of Ireland. Columns form when volcanic lava chimneys cool very quickly, in volcanoes that are no longer active. The unusual of these columns compared to the rest of inactive volcanoes is that the cooling is very fast.
The rock formed from this process is basalt. It is a crystalline rock, which is responsible for forming the geometric columns. Crystals form perfect structures such as hexagons or pentagons to save volume, much like how bees do in a hive.