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

Impressions of Belfast, Northern Ireland

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We recently spent three nights in Belfast and we enjoyed it very much.

However, one more night would have been advantageous. Our flight from England was delayed thanks to President Trump’s arrival and all the extra security that entailed.

So by the time we got to our hotel it was about time for our evening meal – we didn’t have that much time to explore the city.

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The second day was taken up with what turned out to be a fantastic trip around the County Antrim coast, which lasted most of the day.

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The third day we had already pre-booked a visit to the Titanic Experience and the Game of Thrones exhibition, both in the same general area on the city’s outskirts. This took up most of the day too. We did do a little exploration that late afternoon.

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And then our return flight back home was at 8:20 the following morning, so we were up with the lark to catch that.

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So, despite a very full two and a bit days, we didn’t get to see as much of the city as we would have liked.

 

What we did glean, however, is that Belfast is lovely and the people are lovelier. We will return.

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copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

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