Cruise Shore Excursions – Northern Ireland Giant’s Causeway

December 3rd, 2011

Cruising around the British Isles makes for a great vacation and one of the excellent excursions available is through the capital of Northern Ireland, the port city Belfast. The famous Titanic was built in the city of Belfast, back when it had one of the major shipbuilding yards in the world.  Today you can visit the Titanic Memorial built in memory of the victims of the disaster.  While in Belfast you can also enjoy some traditional Irish stew (braised lamb & veggies) with a glass of Guinness or shot of Bushmills Whiskey!

 (Ian C Whitworth)

One of the most popular excursions through the port of Belfast is the Giant’s Causeway on the scenic Atrium Coast.  The bus trip to the Giant’s Causeway takes approximately two hours one way and takes in some amazing countryside and what is thought to be one of the top five coastlines in the world.

 (Ian C Whitworth)

Just east of the Causeway is the famous Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.  This unique bridge crosses a 24 metre (78 ft.) deep and 18 metre (59 ft.) wide chasm in the limestone.  This makes for a impressive view on the Antrim Coast.  Remember to always be prepared for the chance of rain while visiting Northern Ireland and also be aware that the summer months average a cool 60 degrees F.

A view from Northern Ireland on the Antrim Coast of the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. (Ian C Whitworth)

The Giant’s Causeway is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has its myths.  Legend says that an Irish giant named Finn MacCool built the stepping-stones across the sea so that he could visit a Scottish giant.  Once there and seeing the size of Benandonner, Finn ran back home and asked him wife to hide him.  She did this by dressing him as a baby and putting him in a huge crib.  When the Scottish giant arrived and saw the size of the infant, he assumed the father must be truly enormous and ran home tearing up the Causeway to ensure he was not followed!

 (Ian C Whitworth)

In reality, the Giant’s Causeway is thought to be 60 million years old, being created when the plates between North America and Europe moved allowing hot magma to escape and fill the area including a river valley.  The slow cooling of the lava facilitated by making contact with the sea resulted in the interlocking basalt columns, most having five or six sides.  It is similar to the cracking effect you may see in the mud of a dried out pond or riverbed.  As the areas around the basalt columns eroded, it exposed the Causeway that you can see today.

 (Ian C Whitworth)

It is a great natural wonder to see and you can walk the ¾ mile journey down to the waters edge from the visitors centre or take the transfer bus down and then back up the hill.  Be sure to wear comfortable shoes with non slip soles for the walk and also for climbing about on the basalt columns.

 (Ian C Whitworth)

The amazing Antrim Coast and Giants’ Causeway views allow for many photographic opportunities.  Be sure to take precautions and be prepared to protect your camera and lens from potential rain at any time as the weather can change quickly.  For shots of the famous rope bridge from the upper coastline, you will require a telephoto for a good shot, as it is a far distance away.

Northern Ireland Fun Facts: Photography Tips:
  • Population of greater than 1.7 million people
  • The Giant’s Causeway is made up of about 40,000 basalt columns
  • Similar columns to those found at the Giant’s Causeway can also be found at Fingals Cave on the Scottish island of Staffa
  • “Chimney Tops” are created on the cliffs when erosion exposes the basalt columns
  • Most definitely a destination that will make good use of your polarizer in good weather and help give you some excellent images
  • Bring rain protection for your camera & equipment
  • Use of a lens hood can help reduce the chance of light rain or mist hitting the glass of your lens or filter potentially spoiling your images

Be sure to include the scenic beauty of the Antrim Coast excursion in Northern Ireland on your cruise around the British Isles.


References:  Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


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