East View of the Giants' Causeway

The Giant's Causeway viewed from the east. The cliff and basalt columns are left and centre. On the right the sea stretches away into the distance. There is man with a horse on the seashore; further away, on the right, three more figures can be seen. A column of smoke rises nearby.

Inscribed in Image

  • Caption outside of boundaries of image – East View of the Giant's Causeway.

Image Details

Genre Landscape
Technique Engravings
Subject(s) Marines, Nature
Geographical Location
  • Giant's Causeway - Named locality
  • Antrim - County
  • Ulster - Province
Keywords(s) Beaches, Cliffs, Horses, People, Rock formations, Seas
Colour Monochrome
Dimensions 8.9 cm x 14.5 cm
Published / created 1839

Bibliographical Details

Travel Account Letters concerning the northern coast of the county of Antrim
Note William Hamilton
Print or manuscript Manuscript
Location of image in copy opp. p. 95
Source copy National Library of Ireland Dix Coleraine 1839
Rights Courtesy of the National Library of Ireland

Related text from travel account

Portrush, August 4, 1784. / Dear Sir, THE vicinity of the little fishing village of Portrush to the Giants' Causeway, has afforded me, during my stay here, ample opportunity to visit that curious work of nature, and to examine with a good deal of attention, the feature of the adjoining country, which abounds in varieties of the basaltes that have hitherto been very imperfectly known // The Causeway itself is generally described as a mole or quay, projecting from the base of a steep promontory, some hundred feet, into the sea; and is formed of perpendicular pillars of basaltes, which stand in contact with each other, exhibiting a sort of polygon pavement somewhat resembling the appearance of a solid honeycomb. The pillars are irregular prisms, of various denominations, from three to eight sides; but the hexagonal columns are as numerous as all the others together. On a minute inspection, each pillar is found to be separable into several joints, whose articulation is neat and compact beyond expression; the convex termination of one joint, always meeting a concave socket in the next; besides which, the angles of one frequently shoot over those of the other, so that they are completely locked together, and can rarely be separated without a fracture of these parts. // The sides of each column are unequal among themselves, but the contiguous sides of adjoining columns are always of equal dimensions, so as to touch in all their parts. Though the angles be of various magnitudes, yet the sum of the contiguous angles of adjoining pillars, always makes up four right ones; so that there are no void spaces among the basaltes, the surface of the Causeway exhibiting to view a regular and compact pavement of polygon stones. The outside covering is soft, and of a brown colour, being the earthy parts of the stone, nearly deprived of its metallic principle, by the action of the air, and of the marine acid which it receives from the sea. These are the obvious external characters of this extraordinary pile of basaltes, observed and described with wonder by every one who has seen it. But it is not here that our admiration should cease;—whatever the process was, by which nature produced that beautiful and curious arrangement of pillars so conspicuous about the Giants' Causeway; the cause, far from being limited to that spot alone, appears to have extended itself through a large tract of country, in every direction; insomuch that many of the common quarries, // for several miles around, seem to be only abortive attempts towards the production of a Giants' Causeway. From want of attention to this circumstance, a vast deal of time and labour has been idly spent in minute examinations of the Causeway itself;—in tracing its course under the ocean—pursuing its columns into the ground—determining its length and breadth, and the number of its pillars—with numerous wild conjectures concerning its original; all which cease to be of any importance, when this spot is considered only as a small portion of an immense mass of basaltes, extended widely over the neighbouring land. [pp. 109-112]
East View of the Giants' Causeway