Irish tourists say the Giant’s Causeway is ‘overrated and underwhelming’
The Giant’s Causeway has come in for some unlikely criticism after it was voted the most overrated tourist attraction.
The Causeway is the only World Heritage site in Ireland and also the most popular tourist attraction in Northern Ireland.
It is a spectacular natural phenomenon consisting of 40,000 interlocking hexagonal rocks caused by a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago.
It is visited by over 944,000 people from 184 countries per year and is undoubtedly one of the most iconic sites in Ireland.
However, it would seem that not everyone is impressed. When the Irish Times ran a social media survey of ‘the most overrated and underwhelming tourist attraction’ people had visited, the Causeway was given the most negative mentions.
One person said: ““My expectations were huge. I was seriously disappointed.”
Another added: “I was so disappointed. Nothing giant about it.”
Other attractions that disappointed were the Mona Lisa, Hollywood, Las Vegas, Stonehenge, The Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, the Manneken Pis statue in Brussels and the entire city of London.
The Cliffs of Moher also came in for criticism with one person saying: “While beautiful, the Cliffs of Moher a rip off when compared to the majestic (and free) and less crowded Slieve League in Donegal.”
Many people have jumped to the defence of the Giant’s Causeway. The Causeway’s site manager Alistair Walker said: “The Giant’s Causeway has consistently been graded as a five-star visitor attraction in the Tourism Northern Ireland Tourist Attraction grading scheme since the new Visitor Centre opened in July 2012.
“It has also been named the UK’s Best Heritage Attraction at the British Travel Awards for the past two years and is nominated again this year.
“These awards are the largest consumer poll in the UK and are awarded solely on public votes.”
Mr Walker added that the Causeway ‘consistently scores over 95% in terms of overall visitor satisfaction and enjoyment’.
Alderman Norman Hillis, of the Causeway Coast & Glens Council, said: “Can a million people be wrong? Because that’s how many visitors we’re expecting to come to the Giant’s Causeway this year.
“It’s unique, it’s absolutely stunning and I honestly can’t believe how anyone could say it’s underwhelming or overrated.
“What I love about it is the fact that it’s all-natural; you’re getting the raw beauty of the Causeway Coast and some of the photos are magnificent.
“People come from all over the world to see it. Every time I myself go to visit it, I’m bowled over by its beauty. It has so much to offer that we know people are leaving Dublin for day-trips just to see the Giant’s Causeway.”
Hillis’ colleague Barney Fitzpatrick added: “It’s been there for hundreds of years and people have been visiting it for hundreds of years; I can’t see that changing.
“Everyone is entitled to their opinion but most people who visit are pleased that it’s something they’ve seen at least once in their lifetime.
“There were over 900,000 visitors last year alone, which speaks volumes, and the majority go away satisfied with the experience.”
Councillor Fitzpatrick added: “There’s a lot more to the Giant’s Causeway than looking at volcanic rocks – there’s the exhibition centre, not to mention the mystery, magic and legend surrounding it.”
We at Ireland Calling have to disagree with the respondents to the survey. The Giant’s Causeway is a spectacular must-see attraction. Find out more about it here
Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling