The Giant's Causeway was dedicated as a World Heritage Site in 1986.
The Giant’s Causeway is a heritage site located on the northern coast of Northern Ireland in Antrim County, about 4.8km northeast of Bushmills. It is an area of close to 40,000 interlocking column of basalt that resulted from a volcanic eruption in over 50 to 60 million years ago. The name ‘Giant’ comes from a mythical belief by the Irish people that it was a giant known as Fionn mac Cumhaill that built the causeway to meet with Scottish giant for a fight. In the year 1986, Giant’s Causeway was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The move was followed by the Environmental Department of Northern Ireland declaring the causeway as a national nature reserve in 1987. Formed on top of the columns are stepping stones that descent to the foot of the cliff and go into the sea.
Giant’s Causeway most notable features are the weathered rocks, millions of years in the making. The things that catch the eye are objects resembling the organs and the Giant’s Boots. The other structures that can be visible are the low reddish columns that are weathered and referred to as the Giant’s Eyes. Descending from the cliffs are unique features called Shepherd’s Steps. Features that resemble a camel’s hump are also visible from the site.
The site first got international recognition when a Dublin painter named Susanna Drury made a painting about it. Giant’s Causeway site became a popular tourist attraction site in the nineteen century after the Giant’s Causeway Tramway was opened. Visitors walk for a half a mile through the columns. A permanent visitor’s centre was built and officially opened in 2012 after the original structure from 1986 burned down in 2002. Tourists visit this site to look at the nature of columns and the cliffs descending from them.
Giant’s Causeway is home for seabirds namely petrel, shag, redshank, Fulmar, Guillemot and the razorbill. The weathered rocks in the causeway are a habitat for plants that grow on them. The plants that grow on these rocks include sea fescue, sea spleenwort, vernal squill, frog orchid and the hares foot trefoil. In October of the year 2011, it was reported that a stromatolite colony was found at this site. This was a rare thing to find at the Giant’s Causeway as they are more commonly found in waters that are warmer and of a higher saline content.
According to the World Heritage Management plans of the Giant’s Causeway, the cliffs that are descending from the columns have continually experienced natural erosion, and this might alter the explosion of the cliffs over time. This erosion is associated with water following paths used by visitors on the columns, and this has led to measures to prevent the same. There are also the effects of changes in the sea level caused by frequent storms. The change in sea levels cans in the future reduce the accessibility and visibility of the causeway. The National Trust has also identified destruction of natural features in the property by individuals who go to tour this site.