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Last Updated: Monday, 14 March 2005, 12:53 GMT
Body receives new Causeway plan
Giant's Causeway
The Giant's Causeway is Northern Ireland's top tourist attraction
The body responsible for the designation of World Heritage Sites has received a new plan for the Giant's Causeway.

Minister Angela Smith said the management plan was requested by Unesco following its mission to the Giant's Causeway in 2003.

A fire destroyed the visitor centre at the causeway in April 2000 and it was only replaced with temporary buildings. The Giant's Causeway is Northern Ireland's only World Heritage Site.

Ms Smith said few people in Northern Ireland "would dispute that the Giant's Causeway is a very special place".

As Northern Ireland's premier tourist attraction, it presented its owners and managers with a very considerable challenge.

The plan set out how government, the National Trust, Moyle District Council and others would work together to ensure the interests of the Causeway, its visitors and local residents, were all catered for, she said.

The minister said she welcomed the endorsement of the management plan by the National Trust and the local council.

The Giant's Causeway's unique rock formations of rugged symmetrical columns have, for millions of years, stood as a natural rampart against the ferocity of Atlantic storms.

The 'discovery' of the Causeway was announced in a paper to the Royal Society in 1693.

At that time, there was furious debate over whether the Causeway had been created by men with picks and chisels, by nature, or by the efforts of a giant called Finn.

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