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Giant's Causeway

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The Giant’s Causeway (Clochán na bhFomhóraigh in Irish) is one of Northern Ireland’s most popular visitor attractions, with over a million visitors each year. The Causeway is a naturally occurring area of basalt columns, which were created by volcanic activity but look as though they were built on purpose. As a result, the Causeway has featured in Irish myths and legends for hundreds of years. Visit alone or as part of a day trip from Belfast or Dublin.
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Tickets

Book tickets to the Visitor Experience at the Giant’s Causeway, which includes a guided tour and an audio guide.
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Giant’s Causeway Visitor Experience

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Day Trips

Combine your visit with transport to the Giant’s Causeway on a day trip.
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From Dublin: Giants Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

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Giant's Causeway and More: Luxury Coach Tour from Belfast

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Giant's Causeway and Rope Bridge Tour from Belfast

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Giants Causeway & Game of Thrones Location Tour from Belfast

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6 Tips for Visiting the Giant's Causeway

The Giant's Causeway | Flickr: sagesolar CC BY 2.0
1
Bring warm clothes or a jacket, even in summer. The Giant’s Causeway is on Northern Ireland’s north coast, and the wind can be cold even on the hottest summer days. Make sure to pack an umbrella or rain jacket, since it can rain in Ireland at any time of the year!
The Giant's Causeway | Flickr: Dan Merino CC BY-ND 2.0
2
A shuttle bus is available to take you down the path from the Visitor Center to the rock formation if you are unable to walk or would rather be driven. The bus costs £1 per person (50p per child) in each direction. Elderly and disabled visitors have priority when boarding the shuttle bus.
3
You don’t have to pay to see the Causeway! If you’re using the public walkways to reach the stones, then there’s no need to pay the fee for the Visitor Experience at the Visitor Center. However, car parking at the site is reserved for those who are paying for the Visitor Experience, so you’ll need to find an alternative place to park.
4
If you like to hike, then consider taking the red trail from the Visitor Center. It takes you along the clifftop above the Causeway, where you’ll be able to take great photos of the area from a different angle.
5
The Giant’s Causeway can be accessed from dawn until dusk (and in between as well, but the paths might be dangerous in the dark so it’s not recommended). To avoid the crowds, arrive early in the morning or later in the afternoon.
6
During high winds, please avoid taking the clifftop paths. Even on a day with good weather, keep young children and pets close to you so that they don’t venture too close to the edge.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Giant’s Causeway?

The Giant’s Causeway has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1986 and part of a national nature reserve since 1987. It’s famous for its distinctive rock formations - basalt columns which tessellate in order to create the effect of a tiled path. The basalt shapes, most of which are hexagons, formed as a result of volcanic eruptions 50 to 60 million years ago, during the Paleocene, when molten basalt cooled and contracted, cracking in a similar way to dried mud. Originally the Causeway was part of the Thulean Plateau, which stretched between Northern Ireland, Scotland, Norway, Iceland, eastern Greenland, and several islands in the North Atlantic. As the North Atlantic Ocean opened up and the modern continents began to form, the plateau was broken up. In addition to the Giant’s Causeway, there are surviving elements visible in Greenland, Fingal’s Cave in Staff, Scotland, and other locations in the UK.

Why is it called the Giant’s Causeway?

The Causeway’s name comes from an Irish myth that features the legendary figure of Finn McCool (Fionn mac Cumhaill). A giant in some versions of the tale, in others a man with superhuman powers, Finn McCool built the Causeway in order to travel to Scotland and fight a Scottish giant, Benandonner. In some versions of the story, Benandonner comes to Ireland only to be confronted with a terrifyingly large baby - Finn McCool in disguise. Horrified at the idea of fighting the father of this huge infant, Benandonner ran back across the Causeway to Scotland, destroying the stones behind him. This version of the myth explains why there is an apparently matching rock formation on the island of Staff, in Scotland. The Irish name of the Causeway - stepping stones of the Fomhóraigh - hints that locals had different myths in the pre-Christian age, though none of the stories survived. The Fomhóraigh, or Fomorians, might have been part of a pantheon of gods or an earlier group of giants, but the myths connecting them to the Causeway have mostly been lost.

Do you need to buy a ticket?

You don’t need a ticket for the Visitor Experience if you’re intending to walk to the stones and don’t want to use the Giant’s Causeway car park. The public walkways are just that - public! However, if you want to use the Visitor Center, which is run by the National Trust, and you think you’d enjoy the guided tour and/or audio guide that’s included in the Visitor Experience, then it’s definitely worth paying to access them. You can also opt for the extensive Clifftop Experience, where a park ranger will take you on a bus to Dunseverick Castle before leading you on a three and a half-hour walk back to the Causeway along the scenic clifftop path. After the hike, you’ll also have full access to the Visitor Experience at the Visitor Center.

What’s inside the Visitor Center?

The Visitor Center includes an exhibition about the Giant’s Causeway, the science behind its geological structure, and the myths and legends that surround it. It also houses a gift shop, a café, a Bureau de Change, and restrooms. Free WiFi is also available inside, and you’ll also find the audio guide desk when you visit. There are other restrooms outside the Visitor Center which are available to the general public, but there are far fewer facilities available.

Is the Giant’s Causeway accessible for disabled visitors?

While the stones themselves may be difficult to navigate by visitors with mobility problems, disabled visitors should be able to get to them and experience the Giant’s Causeway. There are 15 disabled car parking spaces in Car Park 2 (closest to the Visitor Center), but disabled visitors not intending to take part in the Visitor Experience need to be dropped off, and their cars parked off-site. A wheelchair-accessible shuttle bus can be taken from the Visitor Center to the stones. Three manual wheelchairs are available to be borrowed from the Visitor Center. Both powered and manual wheelchairs are can be used inside the Visitor Center and on the Green Trail to the Causeway, but it isn’t recommended to take wheelchairs onto the stones of the Causeway. Wheelchair users may also want to bring a companion to assist them on the trail as the conditions can vary depending on the weather. There are disabled toilets both inside the Visitor Center and outside it, and there are adult changing facilities inside the Visitor Center. Assistance dogs are welcome inside the Visitor Center and on the Causeway. National Trust rangers will be on-site during the daytime to assist with any emergencies. Induction loops are available at the ticket desk and throughout the Visitor Center’s exhibition area, and a portable induction loop is available for use during guided tours. There is a member of staff who can give guided tours in British Sign Language, but these tours should be booked well in advance of your visit by contacting the Visitor Center.

Was Game of Thrones filmed at the Giant’s Causeway?

It wasn’t. Although you’d think it would make for an atmospheric backdrop, Game of Thrones didn’t use the Giant’s Causeway itself as a set. However, there are plenty of spots along the coastline that were used as filming locations, and some day trips which visit those places also include the Giant’s Causeway as a stop along the way. Nearby locations include Dunluce Castle, which was used as Pyke Castle (the seat of the Greyjoy family), Ballintoy Harbor, which featured as the Iron Islands, and Downhill Beach, which was the location for Dragonstone. Another nearby attraction is the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, which is also managed by the National Trust. This exciting location is home to a rope bridge which was first constructed in 1755 to connect Carrick-a-Rede Island to the cliffs. Some day trips to this region of Northern Ireland also include visits to the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.

General Information

Opening Hours:

The coastline and the North Antrim Coast Path are publicly accessible 24 hours a day, but it’s recommended that you only visit them between dawn and dusk for safety reasons. The Visitor Center is open from 9 am, and the closing time varies according to the season. From November until February the center closes at 5 pm, from March until May and in October it closes at 6 pm, and from June until September it closes at 7 pm. Final ticket sales are made one hour before the Visitor Center closes. The Visitor Center is closed on December 24, 25, and 26.

Address:

Giant’s Causeway
44 Causeway Rd
Bushmills
BT57 8SU

Tickets:

The Giant’s Causeway and public walkways in the area are free to access. The Visitor Experience, which includes car parking, access to the Visitor Center, a 1-hour guided tour, and use of an audio guide, costs £12.50 for adults, and £6.25 for children. A family ticket is available for £31.25. The Clifftop Experience (available for visitors aged 12 and over) costs £35 per person.

How to get there:

It is possible to travel to the Giant’s Causeway by bus, although some services are seasonal so check their timetables before traveling. Bus numbers include the Ulsterbus 172 from Coleraine (which can be reached by train from Belfast or Derry), Goldline Service 221, the Causeway Rambler bus 402, the Open Top Causeway Coast number 177, and the Antrim Coaster Service 252. It takes between an hour and two hours to drive from Belfast to the Causeway, and between three and four hours to make the drive from Dublin. Parking on-site is reserved for visitors who pay for the Visitor Experience. Other visitors can park in the village of Bushmills, about two miles (3.2 km) away.
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