View of Pleaskin Head, near the Giant's Causeway. Cliffs and complex rock formations dominate the picture, rising on the left-hand side and stretching along the coast into the distance. A small boat with two occupants near the bottom of the cliff serves as an indication of the relative proportions.
Inscribed in Image
|Keywords(s)||Beaches, Boats, Cliffs, Islands, Passengers, People, Rock formations, Seas|
|Dimensions||9.2 cm x 14.9 cm|
|Published / created||1839|
|Travel Account||Letters concerning the northern coast of the county of Antrim|
|Print or manuscript||Manuscript|
|Location of image in copy||opp. p. 113|
|Source copy||National Library of Ireland Dix Coleraine 1839|
This is a link to a digital copy hosted by an external website.
|Rights||Courtesy of the National Library of Ireland|
Related text from travel account
|The leading features of this whole coast, are the two great promontories of Bengore and Fairhead, which stand at the distance of eight miles from each other; both formed on a great and extensive scale, both abrupt toward the sea, and abundantly exposed to observation: and each, in its kind, exhibiting noble arrangements of the different species of columnar basaltes.
The former of these lies about seven miles west of Ballycastle, and is generally described by seamen, who see it at a distance and in profile, as an extensive headland, running out from the coast a considerable length into the sea; but, strictly speaking, it is made up of a. number of lesser capes and bays, each with its own proper name, the tout ensemble of which forms what the seamen denominate the head-land of Bengore.
[p.113] These capes are composed of variety of different ranges of pillars, and a great number of strata; which, from the abruptness of the coast, are extremely conspicuous, and form an unrivalled pile of natural architecture, wherein all the neat regularity and elegance of art is united to the wild magnificence of nature.
The most perfect of these capes is called Pleaskin, of which I shall attempt a description, and along with it hope to send a drawing, which my draftsman has taken from the beach below at the risk of his neck; for the approach from these promontories down to the sea, is frightful beyond description, and requires not only a strong head, but very considerable bodily activity, to accomplish it.
The summit of Pleaskin is covered with a thin grassy sod, under which lies the natural basaltic rock, having generally a hard surface, somewhat cracked and shivered. At the depth of ten or twelve feet from the summit, this rock begins to assume a columnar tendency, and forms a range of massy pillars of basaltes, which stand perpendicular to the horizon, presenting, in the sharp face of the promontory, the appearance of a magnificent gallery or colonnade, upward of sixty feet in height.
This colonnade is supported on a solid base of coarse, black, irregular rock, near sixty feet thick, abounding in blebs and airholes—but though com- [p.114] paratively irregular, it may be evidently observed to affect a peculiar figure, tending in many places to run into regular forms, resembling the shooting of salts and many other substances during a hasty crystallization.
Under this great bed of stone, stands a second range of pillars, between forty and fifty feet in height, less gross, and more sharply defined than those of the upper story, many of them on a close view, emulating even the neatness of the columns in the Giants' Causeway. This lower range is borne on a layer of red ochre stone, which serves as a relief to show it to great advantage.
These two admirable natural galleries, together with the interjacent mass of irregular rock, form a perpendicular height of one hundred and seventy feet; from the base of which, the promontory, covered over with rock and grass, slopes down to the sea for the space of two hundred feet more, making in all, a mass of near four hundred feet in height, which in beauty and variety of its colouring, in elegance and novelty of arrangement, and in the extraordinary magnitude of its objects, cannot readily be rivalled by any thing of the kind at present known. [p.112-114]