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16 October 2014

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Portballintrae began life as a cluster of whitewashed fishermen's cottages around a picturesque bay.

Today, it features a number of buildings of historical and architectural interest, like Seaport Lodge, built in the 1770s by the Leslie family as a bathing lodge.

Although it's still the home port of several fishermen, Portballintrae is best known as a holiday destination - hardly surprising, since the Giant's Causeway is virtually on its doorstep.

Legend has it that the Irish giant Finn McCool built the Causeway to walk to Scotland to fight his rival Benandonner.

In fact, the 40,000 basalt columns that form Northern Ireland's most popular tourist attraction were created when the lava from a volcanic eruption more than 60 million years ago cooled rapidly in the sea. The tallest of the hexagonal columns are 40 feet high.

The discovery of the causeway is widely attributed to the Bishop of Derry, who first saw the stones in 1692. But the real discoverers would have been the first settlers in the area, around 10,000 years ago.

A little further along the coast are the remnants of Dunseverick Castle, which was destroyed by a Scottish army in 1642. St Patrick is known to have visited the castle on several occasions.

And hold on to your tummy as we fly over the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. The first version of this precarious crossing was built by fishermen to help them check their salmon nets in the waters below. Looking at this view, it's hard to believe, but until the 1970s the bridge had only a single handrail.

Portballintrae has grown from a cluster of fisherman's cottages to a holiday resort with buildings of historical and architectural interest.

The hexagonal columns of the legendary Giant's Causeway were formed when basalt cooled rapidly 60 million years ago.

The rope bridge at Carrick-a-Rede was built by fishermen to help them check their salmon nets in the water below.



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