Cushendun Caves, County Antrim

Photo: Bill Gray

The Geological Society of Glasgow had a very successful weekend excursion to Antrim’s Causeway Coast in September 2017. During the excursion we explored over 600 million years of geological history exposed on the northeast Irish coast of County Antrim, from Portrush to the Giant’s Causeway and Ballintoy Bay. The rocks are superb, with ages ranging through the Precambrian (basement), Dalradian Supergroup, Devonian (puddingstone conglomerate), Carboniferous, Triassic, Jurassic (ammonites, belemnites and bivalves), Cretaceous (chalk and metamorphosed chalk) and Palaeogene, including, of course, the spectacular North Atlantic Igneous Province with its lavas, sills and volcanic plugs.

One of the most spectacular of the formations that we saw was the Devonian puddingstone at Cushendun, which has been eroded to form the Cushendun Caves. These rocks were laid down by flash floods in a desert environment, and contain clasts with a huge range of sizes.

The caves feature, as do many other locations in Northern Island, in the television series Game of Thrones. (The caves appeared in season two as a cove in the Stormlands.) Game of Thrones tourist excursions are now a thriving industry in Northern Island and we saw several coaches devoted to these.

Bill Gray.