October 18, 2011

0013 UNITED KINGDOM (Northern Ireland - Ulster) - Giant's Causeway and Causeway Coast (UNESCO WHS)

The Giant's Causeway is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns (the tallest are about 12 metres), most of it hexagonal, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption, some 50 to 60 million years ago. That say the geologists. Folk tradition says that the Causeway was built by the Irish giant Fionn mac Cumhaill to walk to Scotland to fight his Scottish counterpart Fingal. The legend is long and interesting (you can find it on the Internet in several variants). Finally Fingal sped back along the causeway to get rid of Finn and tearing it up as he went. He is said to have fled to a cave on Staffa which to this day is named Fingal's Cave.

It is located in County Antrim on the north coast of Northern Ireland, about three miles (4.8 km) northeast of the town of Bushmills. Some of the structures in the area, having been subject to several million years of weathering, resemble objects, such as the Organ and Giant's Boot structures. Other features include many reddish, weathered low columns known as Giants Eyes, created by the displacement of basalt boulders; the Shepherd's Steps; the Honeycomb; the Giant's Harp; the Chimney Stacks; the Giant's Gate and the Camel's Hump.

About the stamp
The stamp is part of a set of eight country stamps (issued on March 29, 2011), two (68p and 1,10£) for each country (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), in fact a reissue of old stamps used for correspondence with the same design but with new values, because Royal Mail announced its annual stamp price rises with 12% in December 2010 which will take effect from 4 April 2011.

In the late 1990s, new designs for the country definitives were produced for each of the 4 British home nations (including, for the first time ever, England). Four values were issued for each nation, each showing heraldic and other symbols of the relevant country. As postal rates have increased continuously, so have the values denominated on some of the stamps. The '2nd' and '1st' values have remained constant, but the 'E' value reverted to 40p initially, and then increased to 42p, 44p, 48p, 50p, 56p and 68. The 64/65p values have been reissued as 68p, 72p, 78p, 81p, 90p, 97p and 1,10£ values.

Note: all postcards that I receive from Northern Ireland will be attached both to the label "United Kingdom" (to which it belongs of the political point of view) and to the "Ireland" label (by which I understand not only the state with this name, but also the island as a whole).

Giant's Causeway - Wikipedia
Giant's Causeway and Causeway Coast - UNESCO official website

Sender. Desiree Fleming (direct swap)
Sent from Enniskillen (Northern Ireland / United Kingdom), in 14.10.2011 

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