Things to Do and See at the Giants Causeway Visitor Centre
The Giants Causeway visitor centre is in County Antrim, Northern Ireland and is a wonderful site run by the National Trust. It feature the Giant’s Causeway that is the result of an ancient eruption of a volcano. It was made a UNESCO world heritage site in 1987– the only one in Northern Ireland. The Giant’s Causeway has also been voted the United Kingdom’s 4th Natural Wonder. The Causeway is a magnificent sight; the area is made up 40,000 basalt columns that interlock and were formed as the rock cooled quickly. The area gets its name from the tale that a giant in Gaelic mythology, known as Fionn mac Cumhaill (or Finn MacCool), built the basalt columns.
The Giant’s Causeway visitor centre is something that everyone wants to take a look at. The Grand Causeway (part of the Giant’s Causeway) itself is actually the first thing that visitors see; it is the largest of the three volcanic rock outcrops that form the Giant’s Causeway. The centre was opened in 2012, and its designers were from Heneghan Peng, a Dublin based firm which won an architectural competition for designing the centre. Since its formation, the centre has been the recipient of major awards for its sustainability and innovative design. Let’s take a look at some of the things that you should do and see when you visit the centre.
The Wishing Chair
All visitors to the causeway and centre should see, and sit in, the famous Wishing Chair. This is effectively a natural ‘throne’ that’s been made by the formation of the columns that were a result of volcanic eruption. So many people have sat in the chair over the years that the stones have worn to a smooth and satiny finish.
The legendary giant, Finn MacCool was reputed to have once owned a living camel, supposedly the only animal that could stand the giant’s weight. The camel is now lying at the base of the cliffs, and reputed to have been turned to stone. In truth, the shape was formed by cooling lava, and is really a basaltic dyke.
The Giant’s Boot
The Giant’s boot is one of the more famous sites at the visitor’s centre. It is situated at the entrance to the bay of Port Noffer; visitors take the small path that winds down to the sea, where the Giant’s Boot is located. Legend says that the boot belonged to Finn MacCool, and that he lost it when he was trying to escape Benandonner, said to be a Scottish Giant he’d upset. It is said the boot is size 93.5, so somewhat larger than life, it seems!