The Giant’s Causeway is one of the most popular and best-loved tourists attraction in Northern Ireland. The landmark scooped gold after more than a quarter of a million consumers voted to determine the winners during British Travel Awards in 2015. The glamorous gala awards ceremony was held in London on the 25 November and was attended by close to a thousand travel industry enthusiasts.
The Giant’s Causeway is a large area with approximately 40,000 basalt column clusters. The basalt columns are interlocking providing clear evidence of the transformative and dynamic period of our Earth’s history. They rise out of the sea of the Antrim Coast and are one of the most beautiful areas in Ireland. The area is rich in natural beauty, history and also surrounded by mystery.
The natural wonder is owned and managed by the National Trust. Today, the enthusiastic staff at the Causeway welcomes thousands of visitors daily attracting more than 600,000 visitors annually. Travelers visit the place to take in the unique beauty of the area and they are offered a warm welcome and first-class travel experience.
It is flanked by the wild Northern Atlantic Ocean and a landscape comprising of dramatic cliffs. The giant Causeway has stirred scientific debate, inspired artists and has captured the imagination of all who see it. Its unusual appearance has for centuries been made the focus of many legends such as the story of the Irish giant Finn McCool.
The folktales say the formation was built by the Irish warrior. It’s believed that he laboured tirelessly over the construction hoping to bring his girlfriend from Scotland over to Ireland. It’s also speculated by others that he used a pick and shovel to create the path across the sea his motivation being the desire to face and eventually beat his rival, Benandonner. The varying tales add an interesting story and an adventurous touch to Allen’s Tours offered in the area although there is a different scientific explanation.
It’s believed by geologists that the Giant’s Causeway was created by increased volcanic activity millions of years ago. The rocks have been dated to 50-60 million years ago and their distinct look is said to have been formed through the heating and cooling process. During the rising of the molten rock through small fissures in the earth surface, the very distinct and uniquely shaped lava plateau was formed. The contrasts then created the formation of basalt columns.
Over time, through erosion the “Giant Eyes” seen as circular formations were formed in the causeway. The reddish bands of colour in the rocks identify less progressed weathering. Additionally, Giant’s Causeway is not only a geological wonder but also home to rich ecosystems having colourful lichen, marine life, birds and distinct plants.
The Causeway was officially designated as a World Heritage site in 1986, and a state of the art new visitor centre was opened in 2012. On any visit to the causeway the centre is a must stop since it’s has the Wishing chair, a natural throne formed from a perfect arrangement of columns. It’s sat on so often and the basalt stones are very comfortable, smooth and shiny. The Grand Causeway, the largest of the three rock outcrops is also perfect for spectacular photo opportunities.
First Class Visitor Experience
The National Trust Team has mastered the art of providing visitors with a first class travel experience and also a warm welcome. Esther Dobbin, Commercial and Visitor Operation Manager, said “Our team have worked so hard to deliver exceptional customer service. This is the first time it has been won by a Northern Ireland attraction. The awards are voted for by visitors which makes them all the more special. We are really passionate about what we do, and I’m so proud of our entire team. This is great for Northern Ireland”.
This is the second year that the Giant’s Causeway has been nominated in the awards having won bronze in 2014. Also, it is the first ever win for the National Trust in this category. The competition was Sterling Castle, National Museum Cornwall and 2014’s winner, Edinburgh Castle.
British Travel Awards’ chief executive Lorraine Barnes Burton said, ”More than a quarter of a million consumers voted this year to determine the winners of the awards – it’s the largest awards program in the UK and to win is a clear statement that companies are providing excellence in travel to the discerning consumer. The traveling public regard the winner’s logo as the benchmark to finding who are thee best travel companies and National Trust Giant’s Causeway is to be congratulated on their achievement.”
The awards take pride in being an independent organisation verified by leading global accountancy practitioners Deloitte.
After the big win, the National Trust team met for a celebration of the award’s arrival. Visitors and local elected members were part of celebration. Councillor Michelle Knight-McQuillan acknowledged that the award was a great recognition of the commitment the team puts in to see to it that the visitors get an unforgettable experience.