Wear Warm Clothes and Sensible Footwear
Whether you’re visiting Ireland on an exciting vacation or taking a short trip from your home elsewhere in the region, you might be wondering what to expect at the Giants Causeway. Well wonder no more, everything that you need to know to ensure that you enjoy your visit to this amazing landmark is covered below.
Even at the height of summer it can be cool and very windy on the northern coast, so dress appropriately. Unless the country is experiencing a heatwave (unlikely) avoid wearing shorts or summer dresses. Choose hiking trousers or jeans and layer up on top with a sweater and a warm jacket over a tee-shirt.
Expect to do a lot of walking if you want to experience everything the Causeway has to offer. To keep your feet comfortable and for maximum safety, wear trainers (sneakers) or lightweight, waterproof hiking boots. The ground at the site is uneven and often steep, so don’t spoil your day by wearing the wrong kind of shoes.
Avoid the Hassle of Driving
While you can drive yourself to the Giants Causeway on a main (inland) route from Belfast, why would you want to when you could enjoy a guided tour along the scenic coastal route instead?
Allen’s Tours run daily from Belfast and take you along the prettiest stretch of the north-east coast. Relax in comfort and admire the view as you pass Glenarm Castle, Carnlough Harbour, and the Picturesque town of Ballintoy.
After a busy day exploring the Causeway, you can board your bus and let someone else face the drive back to Belfast, while you recline in your seat, take things easy and regain your energy for the evening ahead.
What to Expect at the Causeway
The Causeway itself is free to everyone and open every day of the year. You can, if you wish, pay to enter the visitors centre run by the National Trust, where you’ll be able to enjoy interactive exhibits and pick up an audio tour to guide your outdoor visit. The visitor centre also houses a gift shop, café, toilets and baby changing facilities.
Outside, you can either take a shuttle bus to the first viewpoint of the causeway or walk – walking takes about 10 minutes from the visitor centre. A further 15 minute walk over mostly flat ground takes you to the Shepherds Steps, a 167 set of stone steps down the cliff side.
Down on the shore you can clamber over the hexagonal rocks that form the Causeway, explore to find the enormous Giant’s Boot said to be cast off by the giant Finn McCool when he fled from his foe. Further on you can sit in the Wishing Chair, a natural stone throne made from the rocks, and be sure to look out for The Camel, another rock formation, that as the name suggests, resembles a camel which according to the legend of the Giants Causeway was the only animal capable of carrying the 54 foot giant around.
If you’re feeling daring then you won’t want to miss the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. The bridge is 90 feet high and spans a chasm between the mainland and a rocky outcrop where fishermen used to string their nets. The rope bridge is approximately one mile from the visitors centre, so take that into account if you’re already tired at the end of your day.
The Giants Causeway is an amazing place to explore. Expect to find plenty of other visitors if you head to the site during the peak summer season which runs through July and August. But if you plan your visit for June, September or early October, you can enjoy mild weather, plenty of daylight and a much more peaceful Causeway experience.