Giant’s Causeway Coastal Way
The Giant’s Causeway Coastal Way is an exceptional walking route in Northern Ireland that will produce stunning views of fascinating geological formations and the blue expanse of the sea. While out walking the trail, you will pass by the instantly-recognizable basalt columns of the Giant’s Causeway and work your way along the picturesque coast to reach the charming village of Dunseverick. This route may be a bit on the longer side, but the stunning views and world famous highlights are something that you will not want to miss.
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Route Description for Giant’s Causeway Coastal Way
While the Giant’s Causeway Coastal Way traverses the terrain above the well known rock formations of the Giant’s Causeway, it doesn’t actually lead down towards the water’s edge. If you are looking to experience the world famous tourist attractions such as the Giant’s Causeway, the Giant’s Gate, and the Giant’s Boot, you will need to follow a different path. Make sure to wear proper walking boots for this adventure, as the trail is fairly long and features some rugged terrain.
Even if this route doesn’t lead right down to the Giant’s Causeway itself, it still produces some exceptional views of the picturesque coastal landscape that makes this region such a unique and beautiful place. In addition to the views overlooking the causeway, you will also pass by the ancient cliffside ruins of Dunseverick Castle, as well as the scenic Dunseverick Falls. There is a lot to do and see along this trail, so it is best to just jump right in!
Setting out from the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Experience Centre, the trail will head to the northeast and climb slightly uphill to traverse the cliffs above the causeway itself. As you walk along this elevated path, you will have a great sightline overlooking the interlocked columns of basalt that form the Giant’s Causeway, in addition to other stunning features like the Giant’s Gate and the Giant’s Boot - a large boot-shaped rock said to be a size 93 ½!
Continuing along the cliffside path, you will gaze out across the blue expanse of the sea as you make your way past the seemingly endless amount of coves that characterize the shoreline. After 4.7 km along the trail, it will bend towards the southeast and bring you past the ruins of Dunseverick Castle, where Saint Patrick visited in the 5th Century and baptized a local man named Olcán, who would later become a Bishop of Ireland. The castle was later raided by vikings during the 9th Century and destroyed in the 17th, with the only ruins being those of the gatehouse.
After another 0.8 km, you will visit the cascading waters of the Dunseverick Falls, before making your way past the village of Dunseverick. Shortly after this, you will come to the terminus of the route where it meets up with the road. From here, you can turn back and retrace your steps on the return to the trailhead, reliving the picturesque scenery that can be found along the Giant’s Causeway Coastal Way.
The Giant’s Causeway is a fascinating geological formation of over 40,000 interlocking basalt columns - the tallest of which are approximately 12m tall - that were created as a result of volcanic activity in the region. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986, the causeway is deeply rooted in Irish mythology, which states that it was built by the Irish giant Finn MacCool in order to challenge the Scottish giant Brenandonner.
Located in County Antrim, Dunseverick Castle was a cliffside fortification that was visited by Saint Patrick in the 5th Century. It is said that he baptized a local man named Olcán, who would later become a bishop. The castle experienced several periods of turmoil, including a viking raid in 870 CE and its ultimate destruction by Cromwellian troops in the mid-17th Century. The only ruins that remain are those of the gatehouse, although there was also a tower that collapsed into the sea in 1978.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where exactly is the Giant’s Causeway?
The Giant’s Causeway can be found at the foot of the basalt cliffs where the Antrim plateau of Northern Ireland meets the sea.
How much does it cost to visit the Giant’s Causeway?
The Giant’s Causeway is a free attraction, so there is no fee to visit the site. However, there is a £9 fee for parking at and access to the National Trust Visitor Experience Centre near the trailhead. If you do not wish to enter the visitor centre, simply park somewhere nearby and walk around the building to set out on your adventure.
Insider Hints for Giant’s Causeway Coastal Way
- The Giant’s Causeway is a free public walkway; however, the visitor experience centre is not. If you do not wish to pay the £9 fee, simply walk around the visitor centre building to reach the causeway itself.
- For a cheaper parking alternative, you can park at the nearby train station to the southwest for £6 per day and simply walk over.
- Make sure to wear proper walking boots with good support.
- The Nook is a great pub near the trailhead for some pre/post-walk refreshments.
Getting to the Giant’s Causeway Coastal Way Trailhead
The trailhead for the Giant’s Causeway Coastal Way can be found at the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Experience Centre, just northeast of Portballintrae along Causeway Road.
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