The lure of the Irish Isle is strong, an intoxicating mix of stunning natural beauty, ancient folklore and conviviality make Ireland one of the top holiday destinations in Europe. Holidaymakers are attracted from throughout the world to sample the warmth of a people proud of their rich heritage. Indeed many are drawn to Ireland to chart their own family history and take in the surroundings of their forefathers perhaps none more famous that President John Kennedy who (staggeringly) famously visited 50 years ago. The passing years merely serve to enhance the enigma that is Ireland and over the coming weeks we are going to take look at some of our favourite holiday destinations across the Irish island starting with the Giant’s Causeway.
The eternal beauty of the Emerald Isle has been carved by the forces of nature over the millennia. Nowhere perhaps is the more exemplified than at the Giant’s Causeway on the northern tip of County Antrim. Carefully managed by the National Trust, this stretch of coastline is home to perhaps one of the most fascinating rock formations in the British Isles, if not in Europe. Violent volcanic eruptions millions of years ago have created a mass of inter locking hexagonal rock columns. It is the symmetry in the rock that creates such an unusual vista that makes this the most popular tourist attraction in Northern Ireland.
This great volcanic plateau was the source of mystery across the ages. Such a regimented formation surely could not be the work of the elements thus was born the enduring legend of the Irish warrior Fionn mac Cumhaill otherwise known as Finn MacCool. The story goes that Fionn was challenged by Benandoner, a Scottish giant from across the water but on sight of the Irish ‘giant’s baby (Fionn cunningly disguised as an infant) Benandoner fled in fear back across to Scotland destroying the causeway in his wake. Today the location is protected from giants and is a designated world heritage site.
The surrounding coastline is breathtaking and offers a range of walking trails for the experienced and casual rambler alike. These unspoilt surroundings are home to a wide variety of sea birds including petrels, fulmars and razorbills. It is not difficult to see why this combination of stunning scenery and wildlife has helped create the backdrop to an inspirational stretch of coastline that is famous the world over. With a recently improved visitor centre this is a great day out offering holidaymakers an opportunity to be entranced by the myth and legend of one of the world’s most enigmatic natural wonders.