A Postcard From The Giant’s Causeway

Photo © Colin O’Connor, 2009

Colin was mesmerized by the steady geometry of the rocks backed by grassy coastal cliffs which looked as though the land had been bitten off and then softly eroded. But for me the Causeway was just a strange pile of stones on an inhospitable day. I couldn’t buy into its myth.

I only sensed something when I picked my way out to where the slippery stones were surrounded on three sides by the sea. Unfeeling blackness hinted at depth and great cold as the waters rose and fell in strange asymmetrical patterns, unlike anything I’d ever seen before. My gaze softened and I was drawn into its rhythm, slipping gradually into a disembodied state. It felt as though the entire world was inhaling and exhaling, and I could have sat there for hours, just watching it.

I heard Colin shouting from my disembodied place on the point, and I reluctantly went back and set to work. If you’ve ever worked with an outdoor photographer, you’ll know that this involves an awful lot of time trudging back and forth.

“Okay, walk from there this time. Over there on those rocks.” Click-click-click. “Once more. Sorry, one more time. Nearly got it that time, but it’s not quite what I’m looking for. I want that headland in the background. Can you go again? A little faster this time?”

It was cold and windy, and I thought about pushing him into the sea. Then I remembered the next round of pints was his. I decided to wait for a more opportune time.

About the author

Ryan Murdock

Author of A Sunny Place for Shady People and Vagabond Dreams: Road Wisdom from Central America. Host of Personal Landscapes podcast. Editor-at-Large (Europe) for Canada's Outpost magazine. Writer at The Shift. Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.


    • Thanks George, glad you enjoyed it. The Giant’s Causeway is Northern Ireland’s most famous tourist site: a bizarre geological formation of black basalt columns, the result of a subterranean eruption some sixty million years ago. As the molten basalt hardened, it formed into polygonal “crystals” stretching from Northern Ireland to distant Scotland. It really does look like the giant Fionn Mac Cumhaill’s road.

      I wrote a full feature on Northern Ireland and Donegal for Outpost Magazine. You can check it out online if Ireland’s your thing http://ryanmurdock.com/pdf/ireland.pdf


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