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Giant's Causeway and Causeway Coast

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Giant's CausewayGiant's Causeway
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Giant's Causeway is an area of fantastic rock formations along the Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland that has been recognised by as a World Heritage Site. The rock formations at Giant's Causeway are interlocking basalt columns - they number some forty thousand - caused by volcanic eruption 50 to 60 million years ago.

The Giant's Causeway was first made known in a paper presented to the Royal Society by Sir Richard Bulkeley in 1693. The discoverer of the site was the Bishop of Derry who visited it a year earlier. It has become a popular tourist attraction since the 19th century. What makes the Giant's Causeway truly outstanding is the appearance of these columns which are hexagonal, pentagonal and octagonal. The tallest of these columns stand at 12 meters (36 ft).

The basalt columns of the Giant's CausewayThe basalt columns of the Giant's Causeway
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There are many legends associated with the Giant's Causeway. In perhaps the most common, there was a giant named Fionn mac Cumhaill who built a causeway across the sea to fight another giant, Benandonner. After building the causeway, he was so tired that he fell asleep. As he did not arrive, Benandonner came looking for him. To protect the sleeping Fionn, his wife Oonagh laid a blanket over him, and made him look like an infant. When Benandonner saw Fionn, he thought it was Fionn's baby. If the baby was this size, the father must have been even bigger. Terrified at fighting such a huge giant, Benandonner fled back to Scotland, ripping up the Causeway lest Fionn should come after him.

Giant's Causeway and Causeway Coast was inscribed as a World Heritage Site during the 10th session of the World Heritage Committee held at Headquarters in Paris, France, on 24 - 28 November, 1986.

Causeway CoastView of the Causeway Coast in Antrim, Northern Ireland
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World Heritage Site Inscription Details

Location: N 55 15 0 W 6 29 7 in County Antrim, Northern Ireland.
Inscription Year: 1986
Type: Natural
Inscription Criteria: VII, VIII

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