‘GIANT’S CAUSEWAY’ STONES GO UNDER THE HAMMER
Giant’s Causeway-shaped stones once used to protect
Open golf champion Graeme McDowell’s
home club from IRA car bombs have been put up for sale, it was
The collection of seven hexagonal basalt column sections which
were outside the Rathmore clubhouse at Portrush, Co Antrim, at the
height of the terrorist campaign, is being auctioned in England
with a Â£10,000-Â£25,000 asking price.
The stones were bought by the club in 1974 and positioned in the
car park between the locker rooms and entrance hall to try to
prevent an attack after several other clubhouses and sports
pavilions across Northern Ireland were damaged in explosions.
The firm handling next week’s sale said the stones originated
from the famous North Coast tourist attraction.
Rathmore, where McDowell, 31, learned to play before going on to
win this year’s US Open at Pebble Beach and then the match which
clinched the Ryder Cup for Europe against the United States at
Celtic Manor, South Wales, earlier this month, bought the stones
from a quarry company more than 35 years ago.
The club decided they were no longer needed and got rid of them
when they were hoisted onto the back of two lorries last year and
taken away. They agreed a nominal fee with a man who wanted them as
part of plans to landscape his garden.
He then sold them on to another man, and next Tuesday they will
go under the hammer as Lot Number 132 at a sale in Billingshurst,
Catalogue details said: ”Preliminary research would suggest
that stones of this size and magnificence, with each example
weighing in the region of two tonnes, are possibly unique outside
their original location and as such represents a ‘once only’
opportunity to acquire such rarities.”
James Rylands, director of Summers Place Auctions Ltd, said
today: ”We’ve never had anything like this before. It’s incredibly
rare. We have heard that some people may have carried away stones
from the Giant’s Causeway before, but nothing on this scale.
”There are very few other locations in the UK, or indeed
throughout the world, where there are similar geologically
configured stones like these.
”It’s a pity they came out of the Giant’s Causeway. We can’t
put them back, but I want to give them as wide an audience as
possible, and they go to good home, hopefully back in Northern
Ireland, where they will be appreciated. It’s a real piece of
The Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland’s top tourist attraction
with 750,000 visitors a year, was declared a World Heritage site by
Unesco in 1986. It has been owned by the National Trust since 1961.
A new Â£18.5 million visitors’ centre is due to open in
A trust spokeswoman said the removal of stones from the site
would be in breach of conservation regulations.
She said: ”Naturally as custodians of the Giant’s Causeway
World Heritage site we are disappointed to see basaltic columns for
auction. That said, we cannot actually prove they are from the
World Heritage site, or if, or when, they would have been from the