Sunday Pictures: County Antrim Coast, Northern Ireland

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The County Antrim coast in Northern Ireland is spectacular. This picture was taken in June 2019.

copyright Francis Barker 2020

The Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

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Part of our trip around Northern Ireland’s gorgeous County Antrim coast involved a stop at the world famous Giant’s Causeway.

I have to say that it was indeed everything I was expecting, from the cool, wet weather to the very touristy atmosphere.

Simply Stunning

That said, the place is simply stunning. Nothing can prepare you for walking over those truncated basalt columns, watching your step, while eyeing in disbelief that such a place actually exists, spreading out ahead of you towards the sea.

Made a World Heritage Site in 1986, the Giant’s Causeway lies right at the northern end of Northern Ireland.

Official Story

The official story is that it’s between 50 and 60 million years old. In a nutshell, it’s the result of strong volcanic activity causing lava flows which formed a plateau, cooling relatively quickly, resulting in the distinctive hexagonal columns.

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A similar process or effect occurs when mud dries in extreme heat, though you don’t get the height of the columns of course.

So much for the ‘official’ story. Any self respecting local here would tell you that’s all hogwash.

A Battle of Giants

What really happened, perhaps not that many generations ago, is that Finn MacCool, an Irish giant, was confronted by a Scottish giant challenger, called Benandonner. Finn, who couldn’t wait to tackle this upstart, built the causeway to get across the North Channel to Scotland.

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There are basically two versions of the story. In one, Finn beats Benandonner conclusively. In the other Finn runs away from Benandonner after realising that he’s even bigger than himself.

Feminine Guile

So, using some feminine guile, Finn’s wife, called Oonagh, makes out her husband to be a baby, even going to the extent of placing him in a cradle.

Benandonner is fooled by this, thinking that if the baby is this big, then how big is the father? In shock, Benandonner trudges back across the causeway, taking it down on the way so Finn cannot follow him.

Science versus ‘Myth’

Strangely enough, in the corresponding part of Scotland around Fingal’s Cave on the isle of Staffa, there are some very similar columns of basalt.

Now, the scientific community would have us believe that this is merely part of the same lava flow from many millions of years ago. Of course it is.

But I know which explanation I prefer.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

Northern Ireland, Small is Beautiful

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Recently we spent a few days in Northern Ireland.

We were based in Belfast, an up and coming city with a proud industrial heritage, particularly in ship building. It was here, of course, where the legendary ocean liner, The Titanic was built.

In more recent times, though, Belfast has been blighted by what was called ‘The Troubles’. Thankfully, those days are long gone but the scars remain. I won’t talk about those times right now.

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No, I want to talk about the County Antrim coast road, which takes you around the northern tip of the island of Ireland.

I have scarcely seen such beauty, anywhere; the fantastic vistas out to sea, atmospheric views across to Scotland and the Mull of Kintyre; the wonderful, secluded, almost deserted beaches.

And then of course sensational spots like the Giants Causeway.

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In fact, words almost fail, except to say that property sales particulars were consulted. Simply wonderful.

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There will be more pictures to follow in future pieces on the fabulous little corner of the world.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019