Giant's Causeway - Encyclopedia

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GIANT'S CAUSEWAY, a promontory of columnar basalt, situated on the north coast of county Antrim, Ireland. It is divided by whin-dykes into the Little Causeway, the Middle Causeway or "Honeycomb," as it is locally termed, and the Larger or Grand Causeway. The pillars composing it are close-fitting and for the most part somewhat irregular hexagons, made up of articulated portions varying from a few inches to some feet in depth, and concave or convex at the upper and lower surfaces. In diameter the pillars vary from 15 to 20 in., and in height some are as much as 20 ft. The Great Causeway is chiefly from 20 to 30, and for a few yards in some places nearly 40 ft. in breadth, exclusive of outlying broken pieces of rock. It is highest at its narrowest part. At about half a dozen yards from the cliff, widening and becoming lower, it extends outwards into a platform, which has a slight seaward inclination, but is easy to walk upon, and for nearly ioo yds. is always above water. At the distance of about 150 yds. from the cliff it turns a little to the eastward for 20 or 30 yds., and then sinks into the sea. The neighbouring cliffs exhibit in many places columns similar to those of the Giant's Causeway, a considerable exposure of them being visible at a distance of Soo to 600 yds. in the bay to the east. A group of these columns, from their arrangement, have been fancifully named the "Giant's Organ." The most remarkable of the cliffs is the Pleaskin, the upper pillars of which have the appearance of a colonnade, and are 60 ft. in height; beneath these is a mass of coarse black amygdaloid, of the same thickness, underlain by a second range of basaltic pillars, from 40 to 50 ft. in height. The view eastward over Bengore and towards Fair Head is magnificent. Near the Giant's Causeway are the ruins of the castles of Dunseverick and Dunluce, situated high above the sea on isolated crags, and the swinging bridge of Carrick-a-Rede, spanning a chasm 80 ft. deep, and connecting a rock, which is used as a salmon-fishing station, with the mainland. In 1883 an electric railway, the first in the United Kingdom, was opened for traffic, connecting the Causeway with Portrush and Bushmills. After a protracted lawsuit (1897-1898) the Causeway, and certain land in the vicinity, were declared to be private property, and a charge is made for admission.

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