Visiting the Causeway
Visits to the Giant's Causeway both begin and end at the Visitor Centre. There is a museum, a shop, a tea room and a visitor information center. Outside is a parking lot for private cars and the numerous tour buses that come to the Causeway.
Here, you can pick up an audio guide. The National Trust has marked various locations around the site and when you come to such a spot, you can enter its number in the audio guide and hear all about what you are looking at.
The Visitor Centre is atop the headlands far above sea level. You can either take a shuttle bus down to the causeway or walk along a sloping trail that runs down to sea level. The former requires less effort and takes less time but you see more if you walk the half mile to the Causeway.
Walking along the path you become aware that this area of the coast has a series of bays that are separated from each other by rocky peninsulars extending into the sea. Each of the bays is bounded by steep cliffs.
Along the way, you encounter various geological formations including an outcropping of stone that looks more like frozen dough than rock. There are also formations that hint at what you find at the Causeway itself.
The Causeway is on the far side of the second bay that you come to along the trail. It slopes down into the sea and extends out into the water perhaps a hundred yards.
The Causeway is made up of tightly packed stone columns. From above, they look like hexagonal paving stones.
Finn apparently was not a very good stone mason as the paving stones are not very level. Still, people climb around on the Causeway despite signs warning that you do so at your own risk and that the stones are slippery and uneven.
Over a million people visit the Causeway each year and so you are likely to find people climbing on the stones. The National Trust suggests that if you want a more private experience, come very early in the day or late in the day.
Once you have finished exploring the Causeway, you must make another choice. You can return to the Visitor Centre either by walking back along the path you took to walk to the Causeway or take the shuttle bus back.
Alternatively, you can continue eastwards along the next bay and see some of the other sights such as the Giant's Boot and Finn MacCool's organ.
The first part of the trail going further east is much like the trail coming down to the Causeway. However, in order to get a close look at the organ you have to take a steep path that goes up to another trail about halfway up the sheer cliff face. To return to the Visitor Centre from this level, you can of course, retrace your steps. Or you can go along the trail along the cliff face in a westerly direction. This trail slopes upwards and looks like it will bring you to the cliff top without much effort. However, just before you arrive at the point where one cliff forms a corner with another, you find why the National Trust has listed this as a difficult trail. There are some 50 steps in a series of staircases to get to the top.
Once atop the cliff, you have spectacular views of the Causeway and the wider site. Looking in the other direction, there are gently rolling fields. Furthermore, from here, the path to the Visitor Centre is relatively level. There is even a downhill section.
For information about visiting, see the National Trust's website
For more about cruising to Ireland:
Click here for our Ireland index page
Above: Visitors can walk or take a shuttle bus to and from the Causeway.
Below: Walking or ridng the first of three bays you come to is Portaboe.
Above: The Causeway is on the other side of the second bay you come to. Port Ganny,
Below: The Causeway.
Above: Most visitors do not proceed past the Causeway but there is a third bay, Port Noffer.
Below: The trail returning to the Vistor Centre from Fin MacCool's Organ.
Cruise destination Ireland - Northern Ireland - Giant's Causeway - page two