Northern Ireland 100 Pound Sterling note 1990 Ulster Bank Limited

Ireland Ulster Bank 100 Pounds Sterling Banknote
100 Pound Sterling note Ulster Bank

Banknotes of Northern Ireland 100 Pound Sterling note 1990 Ulster Bank Limited
1989-1993 "Signature D. Went" Issue

Obverse: View of Belfast Harbour & Queen Elizabeth II Bridge in Belfast flanked by views of Ulster landscapes: The Mourne Mountains at left and Giant's Causeway Ancient Rock Formation in County Antrim at right; flowers. Texts: Ulster Bank Limited promise to pay the bearer on demand One Hundred Pounds Sterling at Head Office, Belfast.
Reverse: Coat of arms and motto of Ulster Bank, surrounded by the four heraldic arms of the provinces of Ireland.

Watermark: Running all over paper and reads ‘Ulster Bank Limited’.
Raised print
Security thread embedded
See through - On each note the see-through is part of the central pattern on the front of the note, and is positioned on either side of the main pattern.
Latent image - Bottom Left corner showing denomination
Line structures - On all notes – on left and right side of front behind the raised print denomination.
Phosphorescent (BLINK) barcode - Each banknote has it’s own unique barcode
UV inks - The red serial number on each note is UV based. Back design holds UV ink
Microprinting - ESP & Microtext on all denominations reading ‘Ulster Bank Limited’
Infra-red inks - IR inks are used on the front & back of each denomination
Colour changing ink - RBS Logo iridescence strip
Demetallised thread
Date of Issue: 1st December 1990.

Banknotes of Northern Ireland : Ulster Bank Limited

5 Pounds    10 Pounds    20 Pounds    50 Pounds    100 Pounds

Ulster Bank
Ulster Bank is a large commercial bank, and one of the traditional Big Four Irish banks. The Ulster Bank Group is subdivided into two separate legal entities, Ulster Bank Limited (UBL – registered in Northern Ireland) and Ulster Bank Ireland DAC (UBIDAC – registered in the Republic of Ireland). The Group's headquarters (and UBIDAC's) is located on George's Quay, Dublin, in the Republic of Ireland whilst the official headquarters of UBL is in Donegall Square East, Belfast, in Northern Ireland, and it maintains a large sector of the financial services in both the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
  Established in 1836, Ulster Bank was acquired by the Westminster Bank in 1917. As a direct subsidiary of National Westminster Bank (NatWest), it became part of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group in 2000. It has 146 branches in the Republic of Ireland and 90 in Northern Ireland with over 1,200 non-charging ATMs. The Group has over 3,000 employees and over 1.9 million clients.

Big Four Irish banks
Ulster Bank - History
Ulster Bank - Note destruction
Ulster Bank - First Active
Ulster Bank - Computer Failure
Ulster Bank - Future
Ulster Bank - Services
Ulster Bank - Corporate identity
Ulster Bank - Banknotes
Ulster Bank - Sponsorship

Ulster Bank - History
Ulster Bank was founded as The Ulster Banking Company in Belfast in 1836. The bank was formed by a breakaway faction of shareholders in the newly formed National Bank of Ireland, founded in 1835, who objected to the latter bank's plan to invest profits from the bank in London rather than in Belfast. The founding directors of the bank were John Heron, Robert Grimshaw, John Currell a linen bleacher from Ballymena, and James Steen, a Belfast pork curer.

Ulster Bank - Note destruction
In 2002 three Ulster Bank employees were arrested on charges of theft and money laundering. The three were responsible for the destruction of old banknotes at the bank's former Waring Street cash centre. Between November 2001 and February 2002 they were accused of stealing approximately £900,000 of used banknotes designated for disposal. The money was then placed in various bank and building society accounts. On 23 January 2004 the men were jailed for two and a half years for the theft of £770,000. Lord Chief Justice Sir Brian Kerr criticised the bank's security measures during the trial.

Ulster Bank - First Active
In 2003/2004, Ulster Bank Group purchased First Active, Ireland's oldest building society, for €887 million. In 2009, the First Active branch network and business of several hundred thousand savers and borrowers was merged with Ulster Bank, and the brand name was retired in 2010.

Ulster Bank - Computer Failure
In June 2012 a computer system failure prevented customers from accessing accounts. Initial estimates that the problem would be sorted out within a week were wildly optimistic with thousands of customers still unable to access their accounts into late July 2012, with ongoing issues still not resolved by mid August 2012. This RBS / NatWest / Ulster Bank issue has proved to be one of the largest IT failures the world has ever known. Ulster Bank (the smallest part of the RBS group) has initially set aside £28M for compensation to customers.

Ulster Bank - Future
In March 2014 it was reported that the RBS Group was considering merging the bank in the Republic of Ireland with some of its rivals in order to reduce its holding. RBS Group's annual results for 2013 revealed Ulster Bank had operating losses of £1.5 billion and accounted for a fifth of the parent group's total bad debt charges. In October 2014 RBS confirmed it would retain Ulster Bank following improved market conditions in Ireland.

Ulster Bank - Services
Ulster Bank provide a full range of banking and insurance services to personal, business and commercial customers.
  In Northern Ireland the bank is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by both the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Ulster Bank Limited is a member of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and the British Bankers' Association. In Ireland, the bank is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.
  The bank provides Visa Debit cards to customers with their current accounts, having previously issued Maestro (formerly Switch) and Laser debit cards to NI and ROI customers respectively, in addition to other financial services. It launched 15 new commitments to its retail customers in September 2010.
  Ulster Bank is used by RBS to deposit funds invested through the popular Royal Deposit Plan; one of RBS current structured investments.

Ulster Bank - Corporate identity
From 1968 until 2005, Ulster Bank's logo was three chevrons – identical to that of the National Westminster Bank, its owner. The bank changed to the RBS "daisy wheel" logo and typeface style in October 2005. The bank is one of the four banks that issue Pound sterling banknotes in Northern Ireland.

Ulster Bank - Banknotes
In common with the other Big Four banks of Northern Ireland, Ulster Bank retains the right to issue its own banknotes. These are pound sterling notes and equal in value to Bank of England notes, and should not be confused with banknotes of the former Irish pound.
  Ulster Bank's current notes all share the same design of a view of Belfast harbour flanked by landscape views; the design of the reverse is dominated by the bank's coats-of-arms. The principal difference between the denominations is their colour and size. Notes incorporate the RBS "daisy wheel" logo, having incorporated the NatWest chevrons until 2006.

5 pound note, grey
10 pound note, blue-green
20 pound note, purple
50 pound note, blue

In November 2006 Ulster Bank issued its first commemorative banknote – an issue of one million £5 notes commemorating the first anniversary of the death of the former Northern Ireland and Manchester United footballer, George Best. This was the first Ulster Bank banknote to incorporate the RBS "daisy wheel", and the entire issue was taken by collectors within hours of becoming available in bank branches.

Ulster Bank - Sponsorship
On 8 February 2008, Ulster Bank Group Chief Executive, Cormac McCarthy, announced a three-year sponsorship deal worth over £1m for the Belfast Festival at Queen's. It was hailed as a "new dawn" for the festival which had been suffering underfunding.
  Ulster Bank was the first overall sponsor of The Balmoral Show in 2009, Northern Ireland's largest agricultural show.
  Ulster Bank announced official sponsorship of the GAA All-Ireland Senior Football Championship in April 2008.

Big Four Irish banks
In Ireland, the term "big four" applies to the four largest banks by market capitalisation. These all operate in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, and have a wider international presence; these banks also issue banknotes in Northern Ireland.

Bank of Ireland
Allied Irish Banks (operates as First Trust Bank in Northern Ireland)
Danske Bank (also operates as Danske Bank in Northern Ireland) - Irish Branch of Danske Bank A/S since 2007.
Ulster Bank - Subsidiary of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group since 2000/2001
Ever since Danske Bank has phased out its personal banking services, it has been suggested that either KBC Ireland or Permanent TSB could replace, in the medium-term, Danske Bank in the "Big Four" ranking.

Ulster (Irish: Ulaidh or Cúige Uladh, Ulster Scots: Ulstèr or Ulster) is a province in the north of the island of Ireland. In ancient Ireland, it was one of the fifths (Irish: cúige) ruled by a rí ruirech, or "king of over-kings".
  The definition of the province was fluid from early to medieval times. It took a definitive shape in the reign of King James I of England when all the counties of Ireland were eventually shired. This process of evolving conquest had been under way since the Norman invasion of Ireland, particularly as advanced by the Cambro-Norman magnates Hugh de Lacy and John de Courcy. Ulster was a central topic role in the parliamentary debates that eventually resulted in the Government of Ireland Act 1920. Under the terms of the Act, Ireland was divided into two territories, Southern Ireland and Northern Ireland, with the border passing through the province. "Southern Ireland" was to be all of Ireland except for "the parliamentary counties of Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry and Tyrone, and the parliamentary boroughs of Belfast and Londonderry [the city of Derry]" which were to constitute "Northern Ireland". The area of Northern Ireland was seen as the maximum area within which Ulster Protestants/unionists could be expected to have a safe majority, despite counties Fermanagh and Tyrone having slight Roman Catholic/Irish nationalist majorities. While these six counties and two parliamentary boroughs were all in the province of Ulster, three other counties of the province – Cavan, Donegal and Monaghan – were assigned to the Irish Free State.
  Ulster has no official function for local government purposes in either country. However, for the purposes of ISO-3166-2, Ulster is used to refer to the three counties of Cavan, Donegal and Monaghan only, which are given country sub-division code "IE-U".

Belfast Harbour
Belfast Harbour is a major maritime hub in Northern Ireland, handling 67% of Northern Ireland’s seaborne trade and about 25% of the maritime trade of the entire island of Ireland. It is a vital gateway for raw materials, exports and consumer goods, and is also Northern Ireland’s leading logistics and distribution hub.
  The Belfast Harbour Estate is home to many well-known Northern Ireland businesses such as George Best Belfast City Airport, Harland and Wolff, Bombardier Aerospace, Odyssey, the Northern Ireland Science Park, Titanic Quarter and Titanic Belfast. Over 700 firms employing 23,000 people are located within the estate.
  Belfast is only one of two ports on the island of Ireland to handle a full range of cargoes, from freight vehicles to containers, dry, break and liquid bulk, as well as passenger services and cruise calls.
  Belfast Harbour handled 23 million tonnes of cargo during 2015, similar to its throughput for 2014. The tonnages suggest a varying performance between sectors in the wider Northern Ireland economy.

Belfast Harbour's origins date back to 1613 when a Royal Charter for the incorporation of Belfast specified the need for a wharf at the confluence of the rivers Lagan and Farset in what is modern-day Belfast’s High Street.
  Records show that by 1663 there were 29 vessels owned in Belfast with a total tonnage of 1,100 tonnes. Trade continued to expand throughout the century, to the extent that the original quay was enlarged, to accommodate the increasing number of ships.
  By the early 18th century Belfast had replaced Carrickfergus as the most important port in Ulster and additional accommodation was necessary. A number of privately owned wharves were subsequently constructed on reclaimed land. Throughout the century trade continued to expand as Belfast assumed a greater role in the trading activities of the country as a whole. In 1785 the Irish Parliament passed an act to deal with the town's burgeoning port. As a result, a new body was constituted: The Corporation for Preserving and Improving the Port and Harbour of Belfast, commonly called 'the Ballast Board'.
  Although already well established by this stage, the Port remained disadvantaged by the natural restrictions of shallow water, bends in the channel approach and inadequate quays. These problems, together with an increasing volume of trade, led to a new government act of 1837 under the Westminster Parliament. This reconstituted the Board and gave it powers to improve the port, through the formation of a new channel. Initial work on straightening the river commenced in 1839 and by 1841 the first bend had been eliminated. Thus beginning the creation of what was to become known as the Victoria Channel.
  In 1847 the Belfast Harbour Act repealed previous acts and led to the formation of the Belfast Harbour Commissioners. This new body, with much wider powers, completed the second stage of the new channel two years later. From that time the Commissioners have developed and improved the Port, reclaiming land to accommodate new quays, new trades and changes in shipping and cargo-handling technology.
  During World War II the Port of Belfast was used by the Royal Navy as the home base for many of the ships that escorted Atlantic and Russian convoys including Captain-class frigates of the 3rd Escort Group. HMS Caroline is a First World War light cruiser permanently berthed in Belfast Harbour and currently serves as the training ship for some 130 reservists as the headquarters for the Ulster Division Royal Naval Reserve. She is the second oldest commissioned warship in the Royal Navy.
  Belfast West Power Station (formerly Power Station West) was opened in 1961 on a site in the port subleased to the Belfast Corporation Electricity Department. This subleased is today held by Northern Ireland Electricity. The station continued to generate electricity until its closure in March 2002. On 6 July 2007 the station's three 240 ft (73 m) chimneys were demolished by controlled explosion and the remainder of the site was cleared in the following months. The site continues to be managed by NIE on behalf of the utility regulator which has stated that the various conditions of the lease "suggest that the best use for the site going forward is electrical generation."

Queen Elizabeth II Bridge in Belfast
The Queen Elizabeth ll Bridge is a bridge in Belfast, Northern Ireland, not to be confused with the adjacent Queen's Bridge. It is one of eight bridges over the River Lagan in the city. It was built in the 1960s.
  In 1966 Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip opened the "Queen Elizabeth II bridge". Within Belfast City Council there had been disputes over the name of the new bridge, which they had originally wanted to be called "Carson's Bridge". During the visit a brick was dropped from a high building onto the bonnet of the Royal car and a bottle was thrown at the car in Royal Avenue by a woman onlooker.

River Lagan
The River Lagan (from Irish Abhainn an Lagáin, meaning 'river of the low-lying district'; Ulster Scots: Lagan Wattèr) is a major river in Northern Ireland which runs 53.5 miles (86 km) from the Slieve Croob mountain in County Down to Belfast where it enters Belfast Lough, an inlet of the Irish Sea. The River Lagan forms much of the border between County Antrim and County Down in the east of Ulster. It rises as a tiny, fast-moving stream near to the summit of Slieve Croob; Transmitter Road runs nearby. From here it continues on its journey to Belfast through Dromara, Donaghcloney and Dromore. On the lower slopes of the mountain, it is joined by another branch from Legananny (Cratlieve) Mountain, just opposite Slieve Croob. At Dromara, about four miles from its source, its height above the sea is 390 ft (119m). As the river continues on its journey to Belfast, it turns east to Magheralin into a broad plain between the plateaus of Antrim and Down.
  The river drains approximately 609 square km of agricultural land and flows over 70 km from the Mourne Mountains to the Stranmillis Weir, from which point on it is estuarine. The catchment consists mainly of enriched agricultural grassland in the upper parts, with a lower section draining urban Belfast and Lisburn. There is one significant tributary, the Ravernet River, and there are several minor tributaries, including the Carryduff River, the River Farset and the Blackstaff River. Water quality is generally fair, though there are localised problems and occasional pollution incidents, mainly due to effluent from farms. Work is proceeding to restore a self-sustaining population of Atlantic salmon to the river.

Mourne Mountains
The Mourne Mountains (Irish: na Beanna Boirche), also called the Mournes or Mountains of Mourne, are a granite mountain range in County Down in the south-east of Northern Ireland. It includes the highest mountains in Northern Ireland and the province of Ulster. The highest of these is Slieve Donard at 850 m (2,790 ft). The Mournes is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and has been proposed as the first national park in Northern Ireland. The area is partly owned by the National Trust and sees a large number of visitors every year. The name Mourne (historically spelt Morne) is derived from the name of a Gaelic clann or sept called the Múghdhorna.

Mourne Mountains - The mountains
Mourne Mountains - Vegetation and wildlife
Mourne Mountains - Possible national park status
Mourne Mountains - Popular culture
Mourne Mountains - Recreation
Mourne Mountains - Railway access
Mourne Mountains - Helicopter crash

Mourne Mountains - The mountains
  The Mournes are visited by many tourists, hillwalkers, cyclists and rock climbers. Following a fundraising drive in 1993, the National Trust purchased nearly 5.3 km2 (1,300 acres) of land in the Mournes. This included a part of Slieve Donard and nearby Slieve Commedagh, at 767 m (2,516 ft) the second-highest mountain in the area.
  The Mourne Wall is among the more famous features in the Mournes. It is a 35 km (22-mile) dry-stone wall that crosses fifteen summits, constructed to define the boundaries of the 36 km2 (8,900-acre) area of land purchased by the Belfast Water Commissioners in the late nineteenth century. This followed a number of Acts of Parliament allowing the sale, and the establishment of a water supply from the Mournes to the growing industrial city of Belfast. Construction of the Mourne Wall was started in 1904 and was completed in 1922.
  Some of the mountains have names beginning "Slieve", from the Irish word sliabh, meaning "mountain". Examples are Slieve Donard, Slieve Lamagan and Slieve Muck. There are also a number of curious names: Pigeon Rock; Buzzard's Roost; Brandy Pad; the Cock and Hen; Percy Bysshe; the Devil's Coach Road; and Pollaphuca, which means "hole of the fairies or sprites".
  The Mournes are very popular as a destination for many Duke of Edinburgh's Award expeditions and those taking part in the mourne mountain challenge.
  The Isle of Man the mountains of the Lake District and Snowdonia in Wales can sometimes be seen across the Irish Sea from some parts of the Mournes on clear days. The mountains are also visible from parts of Dublin on clear days.

Mourne Mountains - Vegetation and wildlife
Aside from grasses, the most common plants found in the Mournes are heathers and gorse. Of the former, three species are found: the cross-leaved heath (Erica tetralix), the bell heather (Erica cinerea), and the ling (Calluna vulgaris). Of the latter, two species: common gorse (Ulex europaeus) and western gorse (Ulex gallii). Other plants which grow in the area are: bog cotton, roseroot (Rhodiola rosea), harebell (Campanula rotundifolia), marsh St John's wort, wild thyme (Thymus serpyllum), wood sorrel and heath spotted orchids.
  Sheep graze high into the mountains, and the range is also home to birds, including the common raven, peregrine falcon, wren, buzzard, and native meadow pipit, grey wagtail, stonechat and snipe. The golden eagle, a former inhabitant, has not been seen in the Mournes since 1836.

Mourne Mountains - Possible national park status
It has been proposed that the Mourne Mountains be made Northern Ireland's first national park. The plan has been subject to controversy because of the area's status as private property, with over 1000 farmers based in the proposed park, and also because of fears over the impact on local communities, bureaucracy and house prices.

Mourne Mountains - Popular culture
The mountains are immortalised in a song written by Percy French in 1896, "The Mountains of Mourne". The song has been recorded by many artists, including Don McLean, and was quoted in Irish group Thin Lizzy's 1979 song 'Roisin Dubh (Black Rose): A Rock Legend.'
The Mourne Mountains also influenced C.S. Lewis to write The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
"The Mountains of Mourne" are also mentioned in John Lennon's song "The Luck of the Irish" on the album Some Time in New York City.
  The scenery of the Mourne Mountains have also provided the backdrop for a number of productions, including Philomena and Game of Thrones.

Mourne Mountains - Recreation
The Mournes are a very popular area for hiking, the Wall providing a convenient navigation aid.
  There are a large number of granite cliffs, in the form of outcrops and tors, scattered throughout the range, making the Mournes one of Northern Ireland's major rock-climbing areas since the first recorded ascents in the 1930s. The rock forms are generally quite rounded, thus often depending on cams for protection, but with good friction. The 1998 guidebook lists 26 separate crags, with a total of about 900 routes of all grades.

Mourne Mountains - Railway access
The Northern Ireland Railways service and the Enterprise link into Newry railway station.

Mourne Mountains - Helicopter crash
On 23 October 2010 a AgustaWestland AW109 (tail number: N2NR) was operating a VFR flight from Enniskillen Airport to Caernarfon Airport, Wales. While on route the helicopter crashed into the western side of Shanlieve, killing all three passengers and crew on board. The cause of the accident was determined to be pilot error in heavy fog.

Giant's Causeway
The Giant's Causeway is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption. 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.
  It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986, and a national nature reserve in 1987 by the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland. In a 2005 poll of Radio Times readers, the Giant's Causeway was named as the fourth greatest natural wonder in the United Kingdom. The tops of the columns form stepping stones that lead from the cliff foot and disappear under the sea. Most of the columns are hexagonal, although there are also some with four, five, seven or eight sides. The tallest are about 12 metres (39 ft) high, and the solidified lava in the cliffs is 28 metres (92 ft) thick in places.
  Much of the Giant's Causeway and Causeway Coast World Heritage Site is today owned and managed by the National Trust and it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Northern Ireland. The remainder of the site is owned by the Crown Estate and a number of private landowners.

Giant's Causeway - Geology
Giant's Causeway - Legend
Giant's Causeway - Tourism
Giant's Causeway - Visitors' centre
Giant's Causeway - Notable features
Giant's Causeway - Flora and fauna
Giant's Causeway - Similar structures
Giant's Causeway - Railway access

Giant's Causeway - Geology
Around 50 to 60 million years ago, during the Paleocene Epoch, Antrim was subject to intense volcanic activity, when highly fluid molten basalt intruded through chalk beds to form an extensive lava plateau. As the lava cooled, contraction occurred. Horizontal contraction fractured in a similar way to drying mud, with the cracks propagating down as the mass cooled, leaving pillarlike structures, which are also fractured horizontally into "biscuits". In many cases the horizontal fracture has resulted in a bottom face that is convex while the upper face of the lower segment is concave, producing what are called "ball and socket" joints. The size of the columns is primarily determined by the speed at which lava from a volcanic eruption cools. The extensive fracture network produced the distinctive columns seen today. The basalts were originally part of a great volcanic plateau called the Thulean Plateau which formed during the Paleocene.

Giant's Causeway - Legend
According to legend, the columns are the remains of a causeway built by a giant. The story goes that the Irish giant Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn MacCool), from the Fenian Cycle of Gaelic mythology, was challenged to a fight by the Scottish giant Benandonner. Fionn accepted the challenge and built the causeway across the North Channel so that the two giants could meet. In one version of the story, Fionn defeats Benandonner. In another, Fionn hides from Benandonner when he realises that his foe is much bigger than he. Fionn's wife, Oonagh, disguises Fionn as a baby and tucks him in a cradle. When Benandonner sees the size of the 'baby', he reckons that its father, Fionn, must be a giant among giants. He flees back to Scotland in fright, destroying the causeway behind him so that Fionn could not follow. Across the sea, there are identical basalt columns (a part of the same ancient lava flow) at Fingal's Cave on the Scottish isle of Staffa, and it is possible that the story was influenced by this.
  In overall Irish mythology, Fionn mac Cumhaill is not a giant but a hero with supernatural abilities. In Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry (1888) it is noted that, over time, "the pagan gods of Ireland [...] grew smaller and smaller in the popular imagination, until they turned into the fairies; the pagan heroes grew bigger and bigger, until they turned into the giants". There are no surviving pre-Christian stories about the Giant's Causeway, but it may have originally been associated with the Fomorians (Fomhóraigh); the Irish name Clochán na bhFomhóraigh or Clochán na bhFomhórach means "stepping stones of the Fomhóraigh". The Fomhóraigh are a race of supernatural beings in Irish mythology who were sometimes described as giants and who may have originally been part of a pre-Christian pantheon.

Giant's Causeway - Tourism
The discovery of the Giant's Causeway was announced to the wider world in 1693 by the presentation of a paper to the Royal Society from Sir Richard Bulkeley, a fellow of Trinity College, Dublin, although the discoverer had, in fact, been the Bishop of Derry who had visited the site a year earlier. The site received international attention when Dublin artist Susanna Drury made watercolour paintings of it in 1739; they won Drury the first award presented by the Royal Dublin Society in 1740 and were engraved in 1743. In 1765 an entry on the Causeway appeared in volume 12 of the French Encyclopédie, which was informed by the engravings of Drury's work; the engraving of the "East Prospect" itself appeared in a 1768 volume of plates published for the Encyclopédie. In the caption to the plates French geologist Nicolas Desmarest suggested, for the first time in print, that such structures were volcanic in origin.
  The site first became popular with tourists during the nineteenth century, particularly after the opening of the Giant's Causeway Tramway, and only after the National Trust took over its care in the 1960s were some of the vestiges of commercialism removed. Visitors can walk over the basalt columns which are at the edge of the sea, a half-mile walk from the entrance to the site.

Giant's Causeway - Visitors' centre
The Causeway was without a permanent visitors' centre between 2000 and 2012, as the previous building, built in 1986, burned down in 2000. Public money was set aside to construct a new centre and, following an architectural competition, a proposal was accepted to build a new centre, designed by Dublin architectural practice Heneghan Peng, which was to be set into the ground to reduce impact to the landscape. A privately financed proposal was given preliminary approval in 2007 by the Environment Minister and DUP member Arlene Foster. However, the public money that had been allocated was frozen as a disagreement developed about the relationship between the private developer Seymour Sweeney and the DUP. It was also debated whether a private interest should be permitted to benefit from the site – given its cultural and economic importance and as it is largely owned by the National Trust. Coleraine Borough Council voted against the private plans and in favour of a public development project, and Moyle District Council similarly signalled its displeasure and gave the land on which the previous visitors' centre stood to the National Trust. This gave the Trust control of both the Causeway and surrounding land. Ultimately Mr. Sweeney dropped a legal challenge to the publicly funded plan. In 2007, the Giant's Causeway visitor centre was awarded with a National Award of Excellence for 'Best Tour Visit' by CIE Tours International, for the 5th consecutive year.
  The new visitor centre was officially opened by First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness in July 2012, with funding having been raised from the National Trust, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, the Heritage Lottery Fund and public donations. Since opening, the new visitor centre has garnered very mixed reviews from those visiting the Causeway for its pricing, design, contents and placement across the causeway walk descent.
  There was some controversy regarding the content of some exhibits in the visitor centre, which refer to the Young Earth Creationist view of the age of the Earth. While these inclusions were welcomed by the chairman of the Northern Irish evangelical group, the Caleb Foundation, the National Trust stated that the inclusions formed only a small part of the exhibition and that the Trust "fully supports the scientific explanation for the creation of the stones 60 million years ago." An online campaign to remove creationist material was launched in 2012, and following this, the Trust carried out a review and concluded that they should be amended to have the scientific explanation on the causeway's origin as their primary emphasis. Creationist explanations are still mentioned, but presented as a traditional belief of some religious communities rather than a competing explanation for the causeway's origins.

Giant's Causeway - Notable features
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.

Giant's Causeway - Flora and fauna
The area is a haven for seabirds such as fulmar, petrel, cormorant, shag, redshank, guillemot and razorbill, while the weathered rock formations host a number of plants including sea spleenwort, hare's-foot trefoil, vernal squill, sea fescue and frog orchid.
  A stromatolite colony was reportedly found at the Giants Causeway in October 2011 – an unusual find, as stromatolites are more commonly found in warmer waters with higher saline content than that found at the causeway.

Giant's Causeway - Similar structures
Main article: List of places with columnar jointed volcanics
Although the basaltic columns of the Giant's Causeway are impressive, they are not unique. Basalt columns are a common volcanic feature, and they occur on many scales (because faster cooling produces smaller columns).

Giant's Causeway - Railway access
The Belfast-Derry railway line run by Northern Ireland Railways connects to Coleraine and along the Coleraine-Portrush branch line to Portrush. Local Ulsterbus provide connections to the railway stations. There is a scenic walk of 7 miles from Portrush alongside Dunluce Castle and the Giant's Causeway and Bushmills Railway.

County Antrim
County Antrim (named after the town of Antrim, from Irish: Aontroim, meaning "lone ridge")) is one of six counties that form Northern Ireland. Adjoined to the north-east shore of Lough Neagh, the county covers an area of 3,046 square kilometres (1,176 sq mi) and has a population of about 618,000. County Antrim has a population density of 203 people per square kilometer / 526 people per square mile. It is also one of the thirty-two traditional counties of Ireland, as well as part of the historic province of Ulster.
  The Glens of Antrim offer isolated rugged landscapes, the Giant's Causeway is a unique landscape and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bushmills produces whiskey, and Portrush is a popular seaside resort and night-life area. The majority of Belfast, the capital city of Northern Ireland, is in County Antrim, with the remainder being in County Down.
  It is currently one of only two counties of Ireland to have a majority of the population from a Protestant background, according to the 2001 census. The other is County Down to the south.

Belfast (from Irish: Béal Feirste, meaning "rivermouth of the sandbanks") is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland, and the second largest on the island of Ireland. On the River Lagan, it had a population of 333,871 in 2015. Belfast was granted city status in 1888.
  Belfast was a centre of the Irish linen, tobacco-processing, rope-making and shipbuilding industries: in the early 20th century, Harland and Wolff, which built the RMS Titanic, was the world's biggest and most productive shipyard. Belfast played a key role in the Industrial Revolution, and was a global industrial centre until the latter half of the 20th century. It has sustained a major aerospace and missiles industry since the mid 1930s. Industrialisation and the inward migration it brought made Belfast Ireland's biggest city at the beginning of the 20th century.
  Today, Belfast remains a centre for industry, as well as the arts, higher education, business, and law, and is the economic engine of Northern Ireland. The city suffered greatly during the Troubles, but latterly has undergone a sustained period of calm, free from the intense political violence of former years, and substantial economic and commercial growth. Additionally, Belfast city centre has undergone considerable expansion and regeneration in recent years, notably around Victoria Square.
  Belfast is served by two airports: George Best Belfast City Airport in the city, and Belfast International Airport 15 miles (24 km) west of the city. Belfast is a major port, with commercial and industrial docks dominating the Belfast Lough shoreline, including the Harland and Wolff shipyard, and is listed by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) as a global city.

The name Belfast is derived from the Irish Béal Feirsde, which was later spelt Béal Feirste. The word béal means "mouth" or "rivermouth" while feirsde/feirste is the genitive singular of fearsaid and refers to a sandbar or tidal ford across a river's mouth. The name would thus translate literally as "(river) mouth of the sandbar" or "(river) mouth of the ford". This sandbar was formed at the confluence of two rivers at what is now Donegall Quay: the Lagan, which flows into Belfast Lough, and its tributary the Farset. This area was the hub around which the original settlement developed. The Irish name Béal Feirste is shared by a townland in County Mayo, whose name has been anglicised as Belfarsad.
  An alternative interpretation of the name is "mouth of [the river] of the sandbar", an allusion to the River Farset, which flows into the Lagan where the sandbar was located. This interpretation was favoured by Edmund Hogan and John O'Donovan. It seems clear, however, that the river itself was named after the tidal crossing.
  In Ulster-Scots, the name of the city has been variously translated as Bilfawst, Bilfaust or Baelfawst, although "Belfast" is also used.