The Giant's Causeway is a geological phenomenon, consisting of about 40,000 interlocking 6-sided basalt columns, formed 60 million years ago as a result of intense volcanic activity and the cooling and shrinking of successive lava flows. Nicknamed the "Honeycomb", they vary in height with the tallest being about 12 metres (39 feet), forming lava cliffs that are 28 metres (92 feet tall) at their highest peak, with stepping stones leading towards and away from the sea.
Despite the scientific explanation for this natural wonder, the legend that led to the naming of the Giant's Causeway is much more fun to consider. At the Visitor's Centre, an excellent 2 minute animation gave the perfect introduction to this folklore. As the story goes, an Irish giant named Fionn MacCool was in a constant shouting match with the Scottish giant Benandonner who lived across the North Channel that separated them. Fionn accepted the challenge to fight Benandonner and built a path made of huge logs so that he could cross the body of water. When Fionn got there, he realized that Benandonner was significantly bigger than he was, and turned around and ran back home, dropping a shoe along the way while Benandonner chased him.
visited the harbour with the Game of Thrones filming location the day before), we stopped quickly in front of the Sheep Island View Hostel, since I was curious about the large bright pink tractor sitting in front. It turned out to be a tribute to Irishman Harry Ferguson, who invented the tractor with a 3-point linkage that works on a hydraulic system at the back, enabling the driver to raise and lower instruments like a plough, thus revolutionizing farming. The Ferguson system is still used on small farms around the world today. Harry built and flew his own aircraft in 1909 and developed the first four-wheel drive Formula One race car amongst other inventions. Harry's tractors were grey, so painting this one pink must have just been an attention-grabbing strategy, which obviously worked since it caught my attention and allowed me to learn about this fascinating man.
towards our final overnight stay of this Northern Ireland road trip, the tiny village of Donore in County Meath. This would be put us strategically close to Newgrange, where we planned to visit first thing in the morning before heading back to our home swap base in Dublin.