On the coast of Northern Ireland is a rather interesting rock formation known as the Pass of the Giants. These hexagonal stone pillars of various heights, also called aliens, rise from the North Atlantic Ocean and rise to the base of the cliff. Its appearance is so strange that it looks like a mythical creature placed them there! Here are some interesting facts about one of Northern Ireland’s most popular tourist destinations.
1. The road of the giants consists of approximately 40,000 hexagonal basalt columns.
The Gate’s distinctive pillars are estimated to have formed about 60 million years ago, when Europe was still connected to North America. As the land masses began to separate, fissures formed in the region, and molten lava from volcanic activity flowed through these fissures, forming a lava lake. Then this lake began to slowly cool down. This cooling process caused the lava to shrink and turn into columns of hexagonal rocks.
Although it has long been known that the stones are a natural formation, and not an artificial carving, as originally thought, the conditions for the formation of pillars have only recently been determined. In 2008 PhD from the University of Toronto. his student Lucas Göring and professor Stephen Morris found that the slower the cooling process, the larger the columns. Ten years later, Jan Lavalle, Professor of Volcanology at the University of Liverpool, calculated that the temperature of rock destruction was 840–890°C.
2. Legend has it that the Giant’s Gate was built by a giant, as the name suggests.
In addition to the scientific explanation for the creation of the gate, some legends say that a giant placed the stones there. According to the legend:
Finn Mac Cumhale quarreled with a Scottish giant named Benandonner. To fight him, he built a giant pass across the sea. He then ran away in horror when he saw that Benandonner was much larger than he was. Finn’s wife, Una, disguised her husband as a baby. When the Scottish giant Benandonner saw this, he returned to Scotland, supposedly thinking that the baby’s father, Finn, would be huge. He destroyed most of the passage so that he would not be pursued.
3. The Road of the Giants was first discovered outside of Ireland in 1693.
In 1963, Sir Richard Bulkley, an Irish politician and Fellow of Trinity College Dublin, gave a talk on Giant’s Road. Then, in 1739, when Suzanne Drury painted this gate in watercolor, it became a tourist attraction.
In 1986 it was given the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. That same year, the National Trust, which has operated the Gate since 1961, also built a visitor center in the area; unfortunately the center burned down in 2000 and only in 2012 a new one was built.
4. Tourists were able to buy stones from the Giant’s Road
Before the National Trust bought and protected the site, the pass stone trade was widespread. So much so that parts of it were literally sold to tourists. Scottish writer Leitch Ritchie reports that when he visited Northern Ireland’s iconic site in the 1830s, more than a dozen people followed them to hand over boxes full of mineralogical specimens.
5. There are other strangely shaped stones scattered throughout the area.
In addition to thousands of hexagonal stones, there are also several unique boulders around the coastal part of the gorge. The most famous of these rocks are the camel and the shoe of the giant Finn, according to the legend of the giant. It is said that the camel lying at the foot of the cliff is the only animal capable of carrying Finn. Also, allegedly, when escaping from the giant’s feet, a huge boot of size 93.5 fell off.
6. Photographs taken on Giant’s Causeway cover the cover of Led Zeppelin’s 1973 album Houses of the Holy.
The album cover for Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy features spooky naked blonde children crawling over rocks in a strange landscape.
7. The road of the giants has been featured in many films.
The extraordinary beauty of the Pass of the Giants has also been the subject of films. It was featured in Dracula Untold as a Transylvanian mountain, in His Majesty (2011) as part of the Minotaur’s labyrinth, and in Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008).
8. There are similar formations all over the world and even on Mars
Not far from the sea on the Scottish island of Staffa is a sea cave consisting of hexagonal rocks created by the same lava flow as the Pass of the Giants.
Other examples include the Devil’s Tower, the 265m columns in Wyoming and the High Island Reservoir in Hong Kong.
In 2007, lava columns were discovered on Mars, just like on Earth.
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